This is the most common question asked by massage clients and the answer is based on several things:
- How physically active are you?
- How healthy is your body?
- What is your stress level?
- Do you suffer from disease or inflammation that causes problems?
- How well do you take care of yourself?
- How long does your body hold the affects of a massage?
- What is your budget?
These are just a few things to consider when deciding how often to schedule a massage. As you can see, there isn’t one answer that fits every body. A good rule of thumb is your level of self-care should maintain your body according to how much you demand of it.
If you are a competitive athlete, you should be getting a massage 2-3 times a week to help with recovery by removing waste products from the muscle cells, keeping muscles pliable and cells hydrated. The more you demand of your body the bigger risk of injury, however on the flip side, if you are sedentary you risk weak muscles that won’t support normal use and you also risk injury. Bodies were made to work and be used.
If you are working out on a regular basis, 20-30 minutes, 2-5 times a week and keeping your body strong by walking, strength training, Pilates, yoga, running, etc., you probably would feel better with a massage once a week or twice a month, depending on your budget and how long your body feels good between massages.
Stress levels make a big difference in your physical and mental health and can cause havoc with healthy bodies when life events, job issues, family problems or health issues crop up. Scheduling massage once a week or every other week during times of increased stress will support you mentally and physically by releasing endorphins and dopamine into your system.
Long-term stress, injury or disease increases the need for massage. Injury usually requires more massage for a short time and then the need decreases as the body heals. Frequency of massage is also dependent on how serious the injury is. Some diseases such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, cancer, stenosis, depression, scoliosis, etc. feel better with regular massage and many clients come in at least once a month or more to keep their discomfort to a minimum.
When deciding how often you need massage, pay attention to how long you feel good after your massage? You can increase the length of time between massages by making sure to keep your body hydrated, keep muscles pliable by stretching, using proper body mechanics when lifting and having healthy ways of dealing with stresses of living.
Budget is a major concern for most massage clients and some questions to ask yourself might be -- Is spending the money on massage now going to help decrease health costs down the road? Will massage alleviate my problem without more expensive pharmaceuticals and/or surgery? How much is your comfort a priority at this point in your life?
Taking time out and spending the money for self-care is a challenge for everyone. Discussing your individual needs with your therapist is always a good idea and pre-scheduling your massages strengthens the commit to self-care. Keeping yourself healthy and your energy charged up, you have more to give others, a happier outlook on life and better quality of life. Massage can be a big help in doing just that!
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