How Often Should You Get A Massage?
In a previous article, we have discussed some of the health benefits offered by massage therapy. However, we did not mention how often you should get a massage.
One might think the answer is straight forward; get a massage whenever you feel like it, but there is more to it than that.
In fact, the frequency of massage therapy is solely dependent on your goals. For example, someone who is preparing for an upcoming competition needs to get a massage more frequently than someone who just wants to relieve their stress.
In this article, we will dissect the needs for massage therapy, depending on the ultimate goals behind getting this service.
How Much Massage Do You Need?
While the frequency and duration of massage therapy that will be covered in this article are based on reputable scientific studies and papers, patients should always seek personalized advice from their therapist or doctor.
The reason behind this is simple; your doctor has a better idea about your disease history and the current medical conditions you are dealing with, hence the better advice you will be offered.
For instance, patients with chronic back pain or arthritis need to avoid certain types of massages since they could damage the deep structures such as tendons and ligaments, worsening their pain as a result.
Let us discuss the frequency of massage therapy for each goal.
For General Wellness
If you want to make yourself feel good and improve your general wellness, getting a massage once a week is usually sufficient.
You might think that once a week is a bit too much. However, keep in mind that you are constantly using your muscles and the tension is building up; getting a massage a couple of times a year will not be enough to undo the damage your muscles are enduring especially if you have a very active lifestyle.
For Athletic Performance
If you are a gym beast, the benefits of getting a massage will be more apparent.
Massage therapy will help you loosen your muscles, which have tightened up during the workout, especially strength training.
Additionally, massage therapy should focus more on the area that has the most muscular tension; for instance, after an exhausting “leg day”, your therapist will concentrate more on the legs to relieve all the pressure and tension stored inside.
Experts advise athletes to get a weekly or biweekly massage to accelerate their recovery and optimize performance.
For Stress Relief
Similar to the previous purposes, people who seek to de-stress themselves and avoid thinking about negative thoughts should get a massage every week to reduce the levels of cortisol and balance psychological stress.
For Chronic Conditions
As we mentioned in our previous article, massage therapy can improve the symptoms of several chronic diseases such as depression, chronic pain, and irritable bowel syndrome.This is mediated via the regulation of hormones, which affects the brain’s neuronal organization.
Massage therapy is advised once or twice a week for optimal results; however, you should be cautious about the type of disease you have since some diseases are not advised to receive certain types of massages; a thing we will discuss in the last section.
In a 2014 study, patients who received massage therapy for 60 minutes twice a week showed significant improvement when it came to improving chronic neck pain symptoms.
During pregnancy, moms will gain a lot of weight; as a result, their joints will have to handle a lot more pressure, which is why it makes a lot of sense for pregnant women to get a massage.
Physicians advise women to start getting massage therapy after the first trimester when organogenesis is completed and all that is left is growing that baby.
Pregnant women should receive 2 massage sessions per week to maximize the beneficial effects on the muscles and joints.
One study found that massage therapy may contribute to a healthy mental state and reduced leg and back pain.
How To Get A Massage If You Are On A Budget
Let's face it, getting a massage can be expensive sometimes especially if you are on a budget. Fortunately, there are ways to help you get one without breaking the bank.
Here are some practical tips to help you save money on massages:
Ask A Friend, A Member Of Your Family Or Your Significant Other
This is definitely the cheapest option, but usually not the best one for getting a quality massage (unless you know someone who happen to be a massage therapist)
Visit A Massage School
A massage school allows you to get a massage from a student in training for a fraction of the price that you normally pay when you go to a massage therapist. In other words, you can save a lot of money on massages by visiting a massage school.
Find An Independent Practitioner In Your Area
The best way to find an independent practitioner that offer a quality massage at an affordable price in your area is to ask around. You can also check the classified section of your local newspaper or simply search online.
Use A Massage Chair
A massage chair allows you to get a massage without having to visit a massage therapist. It is a quick, easy and cheap way to get a massage, and the best part, you don't even have to get undressed. You can find a massage chair in many places these days (airports, shopping malls to name a few) so you don't really have to pay a ton of money to buy one.
Look For A Good Deal On Discount Websites
Discount websites (Groupon and Livingsocial to name a few) allow you to purchase products and services from certain local businesses at discounted prices. With that in mind, you can definitely save some money on massages by looking for good deals on such websites.
Go To A cheap Asian Massage Place
This option is only available to those who live in certain large cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, etc.
Give Yourself A Massage
This is definitely not your best option to get a massage, but it is better than nothing. There are certain massage tools (massage balls, massage pillows, and foam rollers to name a few) that you can buy to help you give yourself a massage. These tools can definitely make your life a lot easier especially if you don't know much about massaging.
Talk To Your Doctor Or A Massage Therapist
While massage therapy is a great choice for a wide range of patients that suffer from all sort of medical conditions, there are still some situations where caution is advised.
Here are some diseases that could potentially be worsened by massage therapy:
This is an obvious one; having a fractured bone can be significantly complicated by massage therapy, especially the types that involve deep pressure techniques.
This is a medical condition characterized by fragile bones and easy fractures; as a result, massage therapy could traumatize the already weakened bones, resulting in multiple fractures.
This condition should be discussed with your physician before opting for any massage therapy sessions.
Usually, massage therapy is discouraged during the first trimester of pregnancy; however, it could also be a bad idea for women with high-risk pregnancies. These pregnancies are associated with blood hypertension, gestational diabetes, and other medical conditions that are complicated by pregnancy.
In case you are diagnosed with the diseases listed above or any other serious medical conditions, you should consult with your physician or therapist before starting a massage therapy, as it could prevent the unnecessary exacerbation of your ailments.