We’ve all been there … you had every intention of waking up early, hitting the gym and booking an appointment to see your massage therapist during your lunch break, but your morning was spent dashing around the house trying to get everything prepared for the day.
The truth is, life is demanding and things inevitably pop up.
After 20 years in the massage therapy/wellness industry, I’m a firm believer that all adults need to have a committed self-care plan in place. If you don’t, statistics show you’ll eventually find yourself suffering from a stress-related ailment.
Studies, such as ones conducted by the National Center for Complementary Integrative Health, have shown that massage provides beneficial effects on pain and other symptoms associated with a number of different conditions including headaches, fibromyalgia, anxiety and depression.
Most massage clients report an increased sense of well-being, less sleep disturbances and an overall alleviation in symptoms of stress.
Additionally, massage helps with pre-trauma health to help you better recover from a potential accident or injury. Much of the evidence suggests that in order to receive long-term effects of massage, people need to keep a regular, consistent self-care plan in place.
So, what’s the key to ensuring massage remains a consistent part of your self-care plan?
This is where we get down to how often you should get a massage. Rebook immediately after your massage session, because life is a selfish master. Meaning, it will do everything it can to rob you of the self-care time you’ve planned—and need.
One of the most beneficial health strategies is to plan your self-care time before you put anything else on your calendar. If you don’t, then work, family and life in general will be competing for your time.
It’s a common practice to cross off your personal time, to make up for life activities. The truth is, if we take a little better care of ourselves, we might have more energy and less stress when it comes to dealing with those very same events demanding our attention.
Massage is more of a healthcare necessity, rather than a one-time splurge or experience.
How Often Should You Get a Massage?
One of the interesting things about massage is that frequency helps. Like many health practices, it’s all about cumulative results.
Think about it like a yoga practice: If you go to yoga once a month, you will see minimal advances in terms of your flexibility, mobility and pain level. However, if you practice yoga three times a week for the next three months, you are more likely to see different outcomes.
The same can be said for massage.
Over the years, I would educate clients about how often they should receive massage. But ironically, over time the client would actually start reporting to me how often they thought they should get a massage, based on their stress level and activity level.
So, sometimes massage starts as an outside-in job with the massage therapist recommending when to come in, then it can transition into inside-out job when the client begins to recognize how frequently they need to come in for a massage.
At a minimum, I recommend once per month to make headway in your health.
Don’t Wait for a Crisis
Anytime you’ve tipped the scales in your general health to dis-ease of any kind, it takes your body longer to recover. Whether it’s your intestinal health, stress level, or general pain, there’s a management piece to be considered.
I think, ultimately, massage is best utilized as a preventive measure rather than an approach to pain and trauma. This is often a challenge, as crisis and pain drive a lot of our behavior. Many times, we don’t get serious about things until we are in pain.
By modifying that thinking and understanding massage is an important preventive health strategy, then you’re less likely to find yourself in a situation where you end up falling prey to a stress-related or stress-induced condition.
Stress, in and of itself, isn’t always a bad thing; we need stress to get out of bed and motivate us to be proactive in our lives.
However, when stress really gets to you in a way where you aren’t able to manage it, that becomes problematic mentally, emotionally and physically.
How often should you get a massage? Overall, your health and well-being are worth at least an hour once per month on a massage table.
Remember when you come out of a massage, take a few minutes to rebook your next appointment—because as we well know that the minute you step outside those doors there’s unlimited competition for your time and your attention.
Embrace that feeling of well-being rather than waiting and just trusting yourself that once you’re in that fight-or-flight mode, you’ll think about rebooking a massage.
Make it happen in the moment.
About the Author:
Eric Stephenson is Chief Wellness Officer for Elements Massage, which is one of the fastest-growing therapeutic massage franchises in the nation. It was the first national consumer massage franchise brand in the U.S. to offer Himalayan Salt Stone Massages and recently rolled out AromaRitual, the brand’s newest line of exclusive aromatherapy treatments. Eric has contributed to the brand’s growth in becoming one of the largest providers of massage therapy in the U.S. In addition, Stephenson is co-founder of imassage Inc. and a board member of the International Spa Association.