I hear this question from time to time. Of course, the simplest answer is, "as often as your budget allows."
Any massage is better than no massage, but is once-in-a-while enough? If you don't have any specific goals in mind, absolutely. An occasional massage can deeply soothe your body, calm your mind, and significantly boost your mood.
A monthly massage can be an excellent addition to your fitness and wellness plan, keeping you attuned to your body and helping you stay ahead of developing tightness or pain. It can keep you loose for the gym, and it can help you stay aware of your posture as you go through your workday (I've experienced this benefit first-hand). It's a great way of offering yourself some regular kindness, and maintaining a good self-care routine.
If, however, you've got persistent pain, or if you'd like to push back against a problem that has taken a long time to develop (posture-related pain, nerve dysfunction, low mood), then a more assertive treatment regimen is a good idea. Most research on massage uses one session per week, usually for a duration of 12 weeks. When I talk about studies demonstrating benefits for physical and mental disorders, I'm talking about participants who are receiving massage with this frequency. There's a reason for this: massage doesn't often produce its results from any single session. Instead, it's a process of repeatedly interacting with the body in a way that soothes it, and that helps it realize that it doesn't need so much tension and guarding. That can take time.
The good news is that you can also achieve results from biweekly massage. If you've got pain or dysfunction that could use some relief, two massages per month will likely provide benefits. This frequency helped me to manage and overcome some neck and upper back pain that took years of poor posture habit to develop.
That said, there are some circumstances where I would recommend weekly massage. If you've got frozen shoulder, it can help immensely to have someone challenge your range of motion and soothe your nervous system once per week until symptoms abate. If you've got extreme low back pain, a month of weekly massage might be enough to break that cycle of spasm and inflammation that keeps it going. (There are some instances in which I will encourage you to seek diagnosis and/or care from a qualified medical professional in advance of receiving massage.)
Needless to say, I'm a big believer in massage. I think that, applied properly, it can make significant changes in people's lives. It is a dose-dependent therapy, however, so the amount of massage that you receive makes a difference. Some massage is always better than none, but I do invite you to explore a higher frequency when it's warranted. Scheduling, treatment duration, and pricing can vary, depending upon the issue at hand, and I encourage you to discuss your goals and concerns with me. I'd also be happy to show you ways that you can implement some self-massage, or partner massage, between sessions.
What do you think? Have you found that frequent massage has been helpful for you? Thanks for reading, and let me know if you have any questions you'd like answered.
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