One question that I often get asked is how often should you get a massage? As we are all individuals there isn't a one size fits all answer, but there are some guidelines which may be helpful. The first question to ask yourself is, what is the main reason for getting a massage? The frequency of massage will depend to a certain extent on what you wish to achieve.
Here are some common reasons for getting a massage, and the general guidelines around how often you should go for maximum benefit. Obviously time and affordability will need to be factored in to decision-making - I'd love a weekly massage but I can't afford it!
Reason Number 1: To relax / destress
This is a very common reason for getting a massage, and as today many of us lead very busy, stressful lives, carving out an hour or two for a relaxing treatment such as a massage can have massive benefits that last much longer than the time actually spent on the massage table. A hour long massage has been shown to have similar benefits as 8 hours of sleep in terms of the bodies renewal process.
If your main reason is to feel relaxed, pampered and treated then only you can answer the question 'how often?' People often say to me. 'I've really needed this' or 'This has come at just the right time'. If you wish to make a regular massage part of your self-care routine, but struggle to find the time, one good way is to book a couple of treatments in advance so that it is already in the diary. If you know you have a busy stressful time coming up (did someone mention Christmas??) then get it booked in early as something to look forward to either just before the pinch point to start well, or afterwards to recover, or both!
If time isn't so much of an issue but affordability is, then take advantage of the fortnightly deals, enter the competitions, or speak to me about a regular massage plan for a discount. Also when people ask what you want for Christmas - you can always mention a massage voucher!
Reason Number 2: Pain Relief
Massage has been shown to be useful in relieving pain and if you suffer from chronic pain from conditions such as arthritis, from an injury such as a pulled muscle or slipped disc, or from tension due to stress or poor posture, massage can help by manipulating the tissues and muscles, increasing blood flow to the area, aiding healing, and disturbing the nerve signals that transmit pain. The type of massage will vary from person to person. Sports massage or deep tissue massage can be beneficial for injuries. Swedish massage or light touch therapy can be best for chronic pain where there is sensitivity to touch.
If you have a massage for pain relief, it is advised to leave 2-3 days in between, particularly if the massage has been deep tissue. This allows the body to recover from the manipulations and reset. Studies have shown that for some chronic pain conditions, massages 2-3 times a week for 4 weeks relieve pain better than fewer massages or no massage. So if you are living with chronic pain, scheduling in a month of regular massages may be just what helps. You can also practice self-massage techniques at home regularly to help. Please see my blog post on self massage.
Reason Number 3: Knots
Many of us are very knotty! I fall in this category. Whether it's from tension, poor posture, lots of heavy lifting, too long sat in one position, repetitive movements - knots can develop often in our upper and lower backs. What is a knot? It is an area of tense, hyper irritated muscle fibres, either in the muscle itself or in connective tissue. There are two types of knots - active, which cause pain spasms, or latent, which you only feel when pressure is applied. Massage is one of the best ways of getting rid of knots as the movements relax and knead the area, releasing the tension and dissipating the knot. The general guideline if you suffer from regular knots is a weekly massage for at least 4 weeks, to heal the area, then monthly massages to prevent them from reoccurring.
What massage routine has helped you the most? Or what would your ideal massage routine be? Let us know in the comments x