This is a question I get asked regularly from clients that come in for treatment. The simple answer is if you are not coming in for a specific complaint, then you should come for a massage as often as your budget and schedule allows.
However, if you are coming in for a specific issue, the answer is a bit more complicated. The majority of people that I treat are coming in for a specific reason, whether that’s to reduce headaches, stress/anxiety, or jaw pain. This makes up the majority of people that I treat. Some are coming to reduce headaches, others to alleviate stress/anxiety, or pain. There are no clear cut rules for treatment frequency since there are so many variables to consider such as lifestyle, habits and more. However, based on experience, assessment, research, and general guidelines I am able to suggest a treatment frequency to produce optimal outcomes.
It is important to note, if you are coming in for something like reducing the intensity and frequency of headaches it’s not a one and done fix. For example, if your headaches have been getting progressively worse for 3 months, it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to make it better in a single treatment. Pain is a complex thing, created by your habits, the work that you do, and your past and present injuries. It’s also strongly influenced by things like stress and mindset. Not an easy thing to change in a day!
What can you expect after your first massage?
You should feel a little better. You might have a few more degrees of motion in your sore neck, or fewer spasms in your low back. You should sleep better that night, and the effects can last for several days. As you continue your daily routine, the pain will likely creep back in.
So why get massage at all?…..
Because with each massage, each treatment builds on the previous one to produce cumulative results. Like many other therapies and health care practices, massage frequency is an important factor to gain traction. You will notice that pain relief will often come over the course of weeks or months. To illustrate, think about it like trying to get in better shape. If you only go to the gym once a month, it is unlikely you are going to see the results that you had hoped for. But if you go to the gym 3x a week for a month, you are likely to feel stronger, lost a few inches and have more energy. Each work out has built on the last to produce the desired outcomes. The same goes for massage.
In my experience it takes roughly 3-4 treatments for the client to notice whether massage therapy is helping their condition.Generally after your 3rd or 4th treatment, the pain will drop considerably, and it won’t return to the previous levels as in the beginning. After the 8th, you might have difficulty remembering what your old pain felt like. There will be ups and downs, but the overall trend should be “down”.
So, how often should you get massage?
Most of the studies that show substantial benefits use a weekly protocol. Based on current research and my clinical experience, if you’re in pain, or regular discomfort, I’d recommend starting with weekly massage for three-four weeks. At this point we would reassess and likely begin to taper the treatment frequency as you improve. If your condition is chronic, we may also want to discuss maintenance treatments which generally vary between every 3-6 weeks. On the other hand if we’ve resolved an isolated injury, or you were coming in for the pure joy of getting a massage, I will see you when I see you 🙂 I know that massage is expensive, so start with what you can. Just realize that frequency and regularity are big factors in the success of the treatment regimen.
If you’d like to schedule a massage, visit www.jeriroberts.com.
See you on the massage table soon 🙂