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  • Karen Stoner, LMT

How Often Should I Get A Massage?

We all know that massage is good for us. It benefits both our mental health by relieving stress and giving us a sense of calm, as well as helping any pain or physical issues we may have. One question I am frequently asked is, "How often should I get a massage?" I often hesitate with this response because it isn't a standard one-size-fits-all answer. The frequency that you should receive massage depends on a few different factors.

Firstly, why are you getting the massage? Is it for stress relief? Maintaining your overall health and keeping everything working? Keeping away a recently healed injury? If the massage is more for maintenance or not geared toward a specific goal, most people find that one massage every 4-6 weeks is a good time span to go between massages before your body starts to feel too crunchy and angry with itself. The goal of these massages are usually more relaxing and maybe taking care of a few "trouble spots" but overall just a calm, quiet time for you to take care of yourself.

If you have an injury or something chronic like 'that thing in your neck that hurts every time you turn your head but you've learned to live with it', you may need massage a little more frequently - at least at first. In the case of helping to repair an injury, I generally recommend a little more intense of a schedule such as 2-3 massages during the first week or two, then we "wean" off the massages with more time between each session such as one a week for 3 weeks, then once every 2 weeks, etc - adding or subtracting as needed, until the issue is resolved. The reason for the more intense schedule is because the goal of this massage is to help the body heal and almost "reprogram" itself and not fall back into it's injured state, then as healing happens, the muscles re-learn what is "right" and the massage goals become more maintenance and less repair.

Now there are always special situations don't fit into this mold. For example, I leave the recommendations for prenatal massages up to the client because although, with the constant changes in the body, massage every week would be fabulous, but sometimes that isn't practical. A mom-to-be may want to schedule appointments around her doctor's visits, or she has child care for other children that she needs to coordinate, or perhaps her doctor recommends a different frequency. So in situations like this, I make recommendations, but leave it flexible and up to the client's preferences.

Other small things in life can also dictate how frequently one can or is able to receive a massage. Some people like to coordinate massages with other doctor's appointments such as physical therapy or chiropractic adjustments. Other times, people have issues with distance to travel or work schedules, and finally some have financial considerations that may influence how frequently they receive a massage. These considerations must also come into play when deciding when to come back for your next massage.

Sure, as a business owner who makes a living off of performing massages, it would be easy for me to tell people that they need to come in for massage at least once a week every week, but as a humane human being who is supposed to be looking out for the health and well-being of my clients, there is no one "best" answer as to how frequently they should get a massage. This is another reason why it is important to have a comfortable and confident relationship between therapist and client. They should be able to work together to determine the best frequency and schedule for the massage routine that works best for you.

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