If you’re wondering how often should you get a massage, there is no one definitive answer. The regularity of your massage sessions are based on a number of different factors and also the type of massage you have.
For some people, regular massage is simply too expensive, and so they simply get a massage as and when they can afford one. If you are unsure how often you should go, your massage practitioner will be able to advise you, based on your medical history and your needs.
With lifestyles becoming increasingly busy, and more and more people sitting working at computers, massages are becoming increasingly important.
- 1 Types of massage
- 2 When not to have a massage
- 3 How massages can help
- 4 How often should you get a massage?
- 5 Stress relief
- 6 Look after yourself
Types of massage
There are many different types of massage available and there are many different conditions they can help. Here are just a few different massage techniques and how they can help you.
The most popular type of massage, possibly in the world, is a Swedish massage. This involves various massage techniques combined with oils to soothe and relax both mind and body.
This is a Swedish massage but with aromatherapy oils. These all have their own healing properties and can stimulate, relax, invigorate, or calm the mind and body.
Deep tissue massage
Deep tissue massage is a lot harder than Swedish massage, and is normally given to those in pain. It can help control chronic pain, heal muscle injuries, and is not used for relaxation.
Hot stone massage
A hot stone massage combines a normal massage with the use of hot stones. These are placed on the body while the practitioner is carrying out the massage, as they help to warm and relax the muscles.
Shiatsu massage is based on Chinese medicine, and is designed to increase and improve the flow of energy around the body. By doing this it can help you to reduce stress and recover from injuries.
A Thai massage also aims to improve the flow of energy around the body. It combines yoga, stretching and pressing, and your body is moved into different positions by the practitioner.
Reflexology is aimed at relaxation, and the practitioner will only work on your hands and feet. They will apply pressure to various reflex points which release endorphins to help reduce stress and encourage a sense of well-being.
When not to have a massage
There are a number of medical conditions which mean you should not have a massage or your massage should be adapted for you.
Most qualified and registered massage practitioners will ask about your health and any medication you are on before they give you your massage. In certain cases they may refuse to treat you but they will always tell you why.
If you suffer from any of the following medical conditions you should ensure that your practitioner is aware of this before they begin.
- Bruises, wounds and burns on the skin
- Fever or a contagious illness such as the flu
- Pregnancy or currently nursing
- Recovering from surgery
- Skin diseases
- Varicose veins or circulation problems
- Unexplained pain
- Arthritis or brittle bones
- Heart problems
If you are currently being treated for any condition no matter how minor, always advise your practitioner before they begin.
How massages can help
With so many different massages available, a good massage can help you in a number of ways.
- Most people consider a massage when they are feeling tense and stressed as the right type of massage can leave them feeling very relaxed.
- Well-being. A good massage can also help your general health and well-being. Feeling relaxed will help reduce your blood pressure and control the effects of stress. The act of rubbing the muscles can help stimulate the blood circulation which helps keep the heart and body healthy.
- Deep tissue massage is just one technique which can help to control or relieve pain, whether it’s chronic ongoing pain or a temporary sports injury.
- Many people have a massage as part of a spa day, and these are carried out with two people in the room at the same time. This is more of a social massage, but both participants will still feel the full effect as well.
How often should you get a massage?
The biggest hurdle to regular massage is usually the cost. Some massages, such as Swedish massage, can be given to local areas rather than all over the body, and this is usually a cheaper option. Do not be tempted by cheap massages or companies provide regular offers, as these may not be properly registered or qualified and they may do you more harm than good.
Deep tissue massage is often a course of treatment and in a lot of cases once your pain has gone, you will not need to return.
Your lifestyle, medical history and needs all dictate how often you can receive a massage. You should always remember to allow time between massages to give your body time to heal from the previous one. Your practitioner will always give you an indication of how often you can return, but always allow at least a few days between treatments.
While time limits will vary from person to person, here is a rough indication of how often you may want to receive your massage.
For those who live a very busy life, and suffer from a lot of stress, it can be tempting to book for a massage every day. To get the most benefit, however, you should always allow time between massages.
- Once or twice a month. This is a good time to go for those looking for the occasional break from a hectic life to simply relax and reduce stress.
- Once a week. If your life is particularly stressful or your job involves repetitive movements, you may consider a massage once a week.
- Weekly / fortnightly. If you sit at a desk all day, your body may start to feel stiff so you should benefit from a weekly or fortnightly massage.
If you have trouble sleeping at night, or simply getting a good night’s sleep, a weekly massage will help you relax and improve your sleep pattern.
Athletes can benefit from regular massage as it helps to relax the muscles and in some cases where there is an injury, to heal them too.
Professional athletes often have massages twice a week, but for most non-professionals this is simply not achievable. If you are in training you may consider weekly massages, or if you are carrying out a lighter workout then a monthly massage will help you.
If you are receiving a deep tissue massage for an injury always remember it takes time for your body to recover and for you to release any toxins, so do not schedule these too frequently or to close to a sporting event.
Most athletes find a combination of deep tissue massage and Swedish massage helps keeps their muscles working at optimum level.
Injuries / Pain
If you have a muscle injury or are having a massage to help you with pain management, your practitioner will generally guide you on the best gap to leave between your massage sessions.
If you suffer from chronic pain, you may find that weekly or fortnightly massages will help you to control this. A lot of chronic pain sufferers try to control the pain themselves, and choose to go for a massage as and when they feel it necessary.
If you have an injury such as tennis elbow, whiplash or muscle strain, it’s important to allow enough time between sessions for your body to fully recover from your previous massage. Depending on the severity of your injury you will probably be advised to go weekly or fortnightly.
If you have recently had surgery always check with your medical practitioner or your massage practitioner that it is safe for you to have a massage. It may not be a good option immediately following your surgery, but as you start to recover it may be beneficial.
The frequency of your massages will be discussed with your massage practitioner.
Some massages are not suitable for pregnant women, so always make sure that you advise your practitioner if you are, or think you are, pregnant. It may still be safe to give you your massage, but they will need to adapt it to your condition.
When you’re pregnant you normally suffer with back pain, some expectant mothers get varicose veins, and you may find your leg muscles getting tired. These are all things that a massage can help with and you may find that going fortnightly helps you to cope.
Look after yourself
While massages are very beneficial, you should try your best not to rely on them.
If you sit at a desk all day with bad posture, a massage will only help you so far. It is always best to try some self-healing techniques alongside your massage to try to prevent any further problems.
Some massage practitioners give you advice or exercises to help keep your muscles moving or to reduce stress, and if you do these as you are advised to you should feel a lot more benefit from your massage sessions.