It is no secret that a massage is good for your soul, body, and mind. As Mayo Clinic explains, a massage therapy aids in relieving anxiety, headaches, stress-related insomnia, and myofascial pain. But aside from the obvious, there’s a lot to wonder about the magic that is massage therapy. Few forms of treatment are as up-close-and-personal as massages, so to prevent it from getting awkward, it’s important to be in the know.
One particular aspect that you should familiarize yourself with, is the frequency of getting massages. Should you get a massage weekly or once every few months?
In this article, we provide a detailed answer to the question: how often should you get a massage?
It varies depending on your specific wellness needs
If you are healthy and just need a massage to make you feel more relaxed, 1 to 2 times every month is a good rule of thumb. However, if you find yourself eagerly waiting for your next session a couple of days in advance, you might want to reduce the interval between sessions.
Some people will have a massage only once per year. Others feel better getting two massage treatments every week. Essentially, you should assess how you feel and determine what works for you. If you feel that getting a massage weekly is too frequent, then try biweekly or monthly. Similarly, if you find that you’re feeling long overdue for a massage treatment, it’s probably been too long since your last session.
Despite getting a massage every once a month, there might be times when you experience high levels of stress. For instance, if you’re in a physically demanding job or work in a setting that forces you to stay in one position for an extended period, you’re likely to develop tightly-knotted muscles in your back, neck, and arms. These can lead to a lot of pain; not to mention, compromise your mobility. For such instances, a weekly massage can help to relieve stress.
Treatment of chronic issues
If your physician recommended massage to treat a particular health problem, the frequency will depend on a couple of things. For one, it will be based on the specific medical condition you are being treated for. It will also depend on your overall health.
As an example, relieving chronic pain can be achieved by going for a program that includes three massage sessions a week, and the following sessions conducted at a diminishing frequency within the next few months. Most people report that after just a short time of weekly massages, they are ready to reduce the frequency to two weeks since they don’t experience as much pain as before.
Chronic issues that can be addressed through massage therapy are back pain, joint pain, and inflammation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fibromyalgia affects about 2% of the U.S. population. This is a condition that causes pain in the muscles and tissues connecting bones, ligaments, and tendons. Unfortunately, this painful syndrome has no known cure. The only way that sufferers get by is by managing the pain using different appraches, the most effective of which is massage.
This study shows that massage therapy helps fibromyalgia patients experience less pain, anxiety and depression. Massage also provides relief from headaches and improves their sleeping patterns. However, it’s important to note that not every massage is suitable for persons diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
Because of the amount of pain that patients experience, the recommended techniques are those that apply minimum pressure. In fact, the best massage methods for fibromyalgia patients are those that blend kneading, stretching, heat application and minimal pressure. These include massages such as trigger point therapy, Swedish massage, hot-stone massage, and passive stretching.
But how often should one go for fibromyalgia massage treatment? According to Salifou N. Bishop – a licensed massage therapist who specializes in fibromyalgia treatment- one should start with at least two sessions every week for a month or so. Afterward, the frequency can be reduced to once a week, and ultimately, once a month.
It varies depending on the type of massage
A sports massage is given for three main reasons:
- To help athletes recover
- To prepare an athlete’s body for peak performance
- To enable an athlete function well during training
In line with this, there are four types of sports massages:
A pre-event sports massage is one given about 15 to 45 minutes before a sporting event. With this session, the massage therapist focuses on the specific body parts that will be engaged during the sporting activity.
A post-event sports massage is administered within one to two hours after the event. It helps in normalizing the athlete’s body tissues.
Restorative sports massage is given in the course of training, and it enables a player to train more effectively and with minimal risk of injury.
Rehabilitative sports massage aids in reducing pain caused by injuries.
Nonetheless, you don’t have to be an athlete to reap the benefits of this kind of massage. Generally, sports massage is aimed at preventing and healing injuries to the muscles and tendons. Thus, it’s beneficial to anyone trying to recover from an injury or one who has a limited range of motion.
So, how often should one get a sports massage? For workout warriors and full-time athletes, the recommended frequency is once every week. If you engage in intense training or train more frequently, you can get massage two to three times each week. But if you’re getting a sports massage to mitigate the risk of getting injuries, once every month is enough.
Pregnancy can take a toll on a woman’s health. The aches and stress can cause them to feel more stressed than they usually are. Fortunately, indulging yourself in a massage treatment can really ease the pain and tension. Here are a few other ways that massage helps to relieve discomforts during pregnancy:
It regulates hormones
Massage reduces norepinephrine and cortisol- these are the stress-causing hormones- and increases dopamine and serotonin levels, which are the feel-good hormones. By regulating these hormones, massage therapy helps to improve mood and reduce complications during birth.
It minimizes swelling
A lot of expecting moms experience swelling in their joints. This condition is known as edema, and it’s brought about by a reduction in circulation and an increased pressure on the blood vessels of the uterus. If you’ve been diagnosed with edema, massage can help. Not only will it reduce pressure but it will also prevent collection of fluids in the swollen joints.
Now that you know the benefits of massage during pregnancy, the next question is: how often should pre-natal massage be done?
The first thing to note is that this type of massage is only administered after the first trimester to prevent miscarriage. As for how often, prenatal massage can be given once every month.
Deep tissue massage
This is a kind of massage that targets the deeper layers of your muscle. Deep tissue massage is mainly used for treating chronic aches and contracted areas such as sore shoulders, stiff neck and leg muscle tightness.
That said, deep tissue massage is good for everyone, regardless of whether you’re suffering from a specific condition or not. The only difference is that those suffering from particular conditions might need more massage sessions than those who are healthy. Here’s a guide on how often to schedule a deep tissue massage:
For the average individual who is experiencing a mild level of stress and minimal muscle tension, a 30 to 45-minute session done 1 to 2 times a month is enough. These deep tissue massage tensions will help to reduce blood pressure and stress while also enhancing the production of serotonin and oxytocin.
On the other hand, if you work in a strenuous job or deal with an enormous amount of stress every day, you should consider deep tissue massage sessions every 1 to 2 weeks. These sessions, which typically last between 60 and 90 minutes, are great for alleviating stiff muscles and back pain.
To get the best outcome from massage therapy, we should all focus on using it as a preventive measure rather than a treatment approach. Yes, it’s not going to be easy considering that crisis and pain are what drive human behavior. Usually, most people don’t think of getting a massage until they’re in pain or feeling extremely tired.
But this should not be the case. Massage should be an integral part of our fitness routine. By going for a massage session once every month, you can avoid many of the conditions triggered by stress and fatigue. If you take part in sports, you need massage even more frequently. Similarly, if you experience any one of the conditions mentioned in our review, you will benefit from more regular massage sessions.
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