The first question is "why get a massage in the first place?" People get massages for four basic reasons. These are: health maintenance, "fixing" or improving a specific problem, a special treat or reward, and to fulfill the basic human need for touch.
Let's start with health maintenance. Massage therapy has many benefits for optimizing our health. It helps with the circulation of blood and the movement of lymph fluid. It boosts the immune system. It has a tremendous impact on the nervous system, reducing stress and anxiety, increasing the relaxation response. It increases oxytocin, the love and connection hormone. Massage therapy helps remove stiffness in the muscles and joints, restoring and maintaining fuller range of motion.
So how often should one get a massage to maximize these benefits? The best rhythm for one person will differ from another, but typically health maintenance massage frequency is from twice a week to every 6 weeks, with once or twice a month being most common.
The frequency of massage for dealing with a particular problem, like a frozen shoulder, low back spasm, tension headache, and the like can range from a single session to a series, often with more frequent sessions in the beginning and then some follow up work, ideally with some therapeutic exercises done at home. For example, consider a person who has to put long hours in at a computer who is developing carpal tunnel syndrome. They might receive two massages the first week, one massage each of the following two weeks, and then some maintenance sessions to keep symptoms at bay.
The frequency of massage for a special treat may not be that often, so it retains its specialness, but should be often enough that the body will be used to receiving and there will be pleasant memory that builds anticipation and motivation. Four times a year for special treats or rewards is good.
The frequency required for fulfilling the basic human need for touch will vary by person and circumstance. Many people don't get enough regular touch, and sometimes circumstances create more need for this for this essential nourishment. A weekly massage can go a long way in helping during lonely or busy times, keeping one calm and connected.
Massage is a true powerhouse of health and wellness benefits. Massage reduces stress and anxiety, increases feelings of connection, boosts immunity and helps optimize musculoskeletal function.
It feels so good that it can be used as a reward or treat. It takes very little effort on the part of the receiver and helps meet a very basic and under-fulfilled human need. So, how often should YOU get a massage?