One question I hear over and over again is: “how often should I get a massage?” It’s a very interesting question for a couple of reasons. One, the language that people use when asking this question gives me the impression that people are looking for permission, from an authority figure, to receive massage. You don’t need permission; unless you are injured or have a medical condition that you should consult a doctor on, otherwise, just go get one, then you can judge for yourself. You’ll know how often you could get a massage by how long your last massage lasted, your schedule and your budget. Once you get a sense of these factors, then you can work it in to your schedule and book them in advance by booking the appointments before you leave your last appointment. I, for example, get them once a month. I have a repeat reminder in my iCal to remind me to book it. Also, I have clients who vary tremendously in their frequency. I have some clients who book weekly, every three weeks and monthly, and I have clients who book them just when they happen to be in town or alongside their training regimens for competitive events, all the way through the NY Marathon in November. So, you can be very creative with your massage plan.
The question also infers that people think they “need it”. You don’t, but there are some benefits to having regular massages. The Mayo Clinic lists on their website at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/massage/SA00082, that some studies have found that massage therapy can be helpful for:
Managing anxiety and depression
Blood pressure control
In fact, there are many benefits to massage therapy that are supported by research that can be easily found online from reputable sources. For example, conclusions found in the summary of the article “Lower Back Pain is Reduced and Range of Motion Increased After Massage Therapy”, located online at http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/00207450109149744, states that: “Massage therapy is effective in reducing pain, stress hormones and symptoms associated with chronic low back pain.”
(The International Journal of Neuroscience, 2001)
In addition, The PMC, US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, published the Evidence Based Complement to the article Physiological Adjustments to Stress Measures Following Massage Therapy: A Review of the Literature in December 2010 at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892349/?tool=pmcentrez. (PMC, 2010) in which it states that “Single treatment reductions in salivary cortisol and heart rate were consistently noted. A sustained reduction for these measures was not supported in the literature, although the single-treatment effect was repeatable within a study.” To me, this means that repeated massage therapy could administer stress-reducing benefits. Well that’s it for today folks. If you’re suffering from stress, as I’m sure most of us are in these times, massage can be useful to you. The more often you decrease your stress with massage, the more you likely are enjoying your life and the better able to handle stressful situations. So there’s my argument for why now, more than ever, we need massage therapy on a regular basis.