Massage recipients know and love the feeling of getting a great session. Clients experience a plethora of benefits including, but not limited to, a heightened sense of body awareness and relaxation as well as the reduction of pain in joints and muscles. The question is, how often should that client come back to maintain the benefits of their session?
The state of the client’s body and their goals are the most important aspect to take into consideration. Most of the time a single 30 minute massage can bring relief to a person who has a small knot in their neck that developed over the weekend. In such a case there may be no immediate need to reschedule, but it could still be a good choice to return in about a month or so for maintenance work. It’s always better to resolve an issue before it ever occurs and routine massage is a useful way to keep your body pliable and resilient to muscle related injuries.
If a client is in recovery of a soft tissue injury or chronic pain a single massage session can make a vast improvement, but not necessarily restore optimal health. In other words: If it took years of abuse to create an issue, it may take some time to fix it. Often times a muscular dysfunction can lie deep below several layers of muscles and over the course of a session it can take a fair amount of time to reach the area of discomfort and apply techniques to get a good release. A higher frequency is recommended for those in rehabilitation from injury or pain until they reach their goals; anywhere between once every week or once every three weeks. I remind clients that the effects of massage are cumulative so the more often you receive massage the greater and more long lasting the benefits will become.
As much as we hate to think about them, time and money are two other major factors to take into account when considering scheduling frequency. Time is a crucial aspect because one of the keys to therapeutic healing is getting the client into a relaxed state. If a client is unable to relax because of the time constraints of a hectic schedule, they may not be able to fully enjoy their session and reap all of its benefits. Once the mind can reach a parasympathetic state (what is often called “rest and digest”,) it will allow the body to begin to heal and regenerate, thus making it more receptive to treatment.
As with any service, the client must also have the funds to pay for their session. Massage therapy can be costly, but it’s also an investment in your own priceless wellbeing. Still, everyone’s ability to make that investment is different. While consecutive long sessions may be unrealistic for your budget, putting small amounts of money aside each pay period disperses that cost and can guarantee regular (if less frequent) visits. This is still enough to affect and maintain results, emphasizing that it is indeed an investment.
Although massage is great holistic medicine which improves the more often it’s employed, there is a limit. I would not recommend that a client come in on consecutive days for multiple sessions on the same muscle group. It takes time for body work to settle in and take its full effect. As adhesions are broken down and blood flow is restored to stagnant areas, the body must recover just like it does with exercise. Continuing to work these areas when they need to recover could defeat the purpose of the massage.
Despite that, massage therapy remains the number one way to maintain your muscular system while positively affecting all of the body’s other systems, and has very few drawbacks. Even those with no injuries or obvious need for massage can greatly benefit from the newest field to sweep the health care industry, so if you’re still wondering how often to get a massage, it’s probably been too long.