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How often should I be getting a massage?

Clients often ask me how often they should get a massage. The standard recommendation is once a month. My recommendation will depend on what your goals are for massage. I’ll also carefully consider your individual condition and lifestyle. It’s important to remember two things about massage.

1) The effects of massage are cumulative. So your second massage builds on the good effects of your first, and so on. If you receive your massages too far apart, then with each massage you are back at square one. What a waste of your money!

2) One massage won’t “fix” a chronic problem. It has taken days, weeks, or even years to develop a stiff neck or painful low back. The condition won’t be reversed in 1 hour. With that in mind, I’ve included some general guidelines below. If you are including massage in a general wellness plan to reduce stress and relax tight muscles, once a month is a good recommendation. If you’re going through an especially stressful time or have a high stress life, coming every 1-2 weeks can help establish a pattern of relaxation.

Athletes training for an event and doing intense workouts often come in twice per week to help maintain flexibility and the healthy condition of their muscles. During less intense training, massage frequency may drop down to every two weeks or once amonth. Clients working to relieve chronic muscle tension or long-term musculoskeletal problems (like headaches, shoulder and low back pain) need to come in more frequently for a short period of time. Typically weekly visits for 4-6 weeks can help overcome a chronic problem. With self-care, these clients can then work back to a maintenance schedule that’s right for them, typically about once a month. When you have an acute condition such as a muscle strain or spasms, frequent visits (2-3 per week) of shorter duration (30-45 min) for a 1-3 weeks often help resolve problems. You can then diminish frequency until you reach a maintenance schedule to help keep you pain-free. Remember each person is unique, and you should listen to your body. The amount of self-care (stretching, stress reduction, etc) you do at home will effect how quickly you recover. When working with an acute or chronic condition, it’s important to wait until you consistently feel pain-free to drop the frequency of your massages.