“How often should I get a massage?”
This is a question we hear often at BBTM, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. One of the most important questions we ask you prior to your first session is, “What are your goals and are there any areas you would like to focus on for today’s session?” Here are the most common responses lately: neck and shoulder pain from sitting at the desk, injury due to overtraining, relieve tension, tight neck muscles are causing headaches, keep migraines under control, improve chronic pain, manage old and new injuries, increase mobility, low back pain, maintain flexibility, and maintaining relaxation.
Everyone’s bodies are different and respond differently to the variety of techniques each massage therapist provides. At BBTM, we first want to keep your pain patterns under control, then we want to eliminate them. Every time you get a massage, you should evaluate how you felt after your last session, how long did the results last, and are you getting the maximum benefits that YOU want? If your chronic pain is getting better through massage, you and your therapist might change your schedule accordingly. Your massage therapist can also suggest some stretches that you can do at home to enhance your massage benefits between sessions. Keep in mind: consistency is key regardless of the reason you are seeking massage therapy.
Massage is a healthcare necessity, rather than a one-time splurge or experience for many of our clients. However, massage shouldn’t replace other medical interventions that are necessary to treat an underlying health condition. Don’t ignore pain, developing symptoms, or serious symptoms like chest pain, difficulty breathing, or loss of consciousness.
Pain Reduction and Management
Whether your pain comes from chronic conditions like multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, lupus or an injury, you can receive daily massage sessions, a few times a week, or even a more spaced-out frequency. Depending on the severity of your pain and the causes, you’ll need to receive a massage more frequently in the beginning to make the biggest impact. We recommend to start off with two massages per week for the first 4-6 weeks, and then gradually increase the time between sessions as symptoms improve and functional movement is restored. It’s important to remember that most conditions are generally not solved in a single session.
Recovery from Surgery
Depending on the severity of your surgery, we recommend bi-weekly 30-60 minute massage sessions (assuming you are also working with a physical therapist at least once per week). Massage therapy post surgery will help reduce pain and hopefully reduce the need for pain medication. More importantly, it will also speed up recovery, improve circulation, minimize the effects of scar tissue and promote lymph drainage if there is swelling. Consulting with your doctor post surgery is a good idea to ask when massage therapy is a good treatment option for your particular surgery recovery.
Athletic Performance and Recovery
Our custom designed massages for your specific exercise routine supports healing injuries, preventing future injuries, and maintaining flexibility.
For the more casual athlete, gym-goer and weekend warrior, massage session frequency can range from once a week to once a month. For the average person trying to stay active and in good shape and health, once a month usually works well. If you compete in a sport or have periods of higher intensity training, increasing sessions to twice a month is an option. Professional athletes may require massage therapy multiple times a week to help to maintain their performance and reduce their risk of injury.
Keep your training schedule in mind when coming in for a session – if you have a big event or intense training session within 24 hours, a focused deep tissue massage may not be the best option. Your massage therapist will instead create a lighter session to complement your training.
General Wellness and Relaxation
For general health and relaxation, we recommend one or two 60-minute massages per month. Regular sessions have excellent health benefits and prevent pain, stress, and muscle tension from building up in clients who are under light to moderate stress. Typically, these clients request a full body massage to target overall relaxation.
Expecting moms experience a range of aches and pains as they progress during pregnancy. They often experience hip tension, sciatica, back pain, and swelling of the ankles and feet. Regular prenatal massage sessions (we recommend a 60-minute session once or twice per month) help ease discomforts and contribute to a healthy mental state particularly toward the end of the pregnancy. Check with your doctor before booking.
For people in high-stress jobs and frequent travelers, we recommend weekly or bi-weekly massage sessions. Massage can help relieve the buildup of stress and is an important preventive health strategy for your mental, emotional and physical well-being.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, 66% of those who sought massages in 2018 did so to relax and reduce stress. Massage can help calm anxiety, reduce muscle tension, lower high blood pressure, and reduce cortisol levels in the body.
Many times, we don’t take things seriously until we are in pain. 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.
If you want to know more about how often you should be receiving massage therapy to achieve your self-care goals, speak with your massage therapist at BBTM to create a schedule that’s customized for you or call me at 610-653-7701.