When it comes to massage therapy, we often only think to book an appointment when we’re injured or are experiencing pain or stress. Then we might schedule another session (or maybe a few) until we start feeling better and forget about it again. But is there a better way? Are there a certain number of visits you should make? How often should you get a massage?
Just as there are many reasons to see a registered massage therapist (RMT), there are also many answers to the question of how often you should visit. Let’s break it down by the three most common reasons you would need a massage: acute pain or injury, chronic pain or injury, and health and wellness.
Acute pain or injury
You’ve twisted your knee during your Wednesday night soccer game or you pulled a muscle in your groin while cleaning up the yard last weekend. Do you just book one massage appointment and hope it goes away? Although the frequency of your visits could depend on the type and severity of your injury, here are some good guidelines to follow.
First of all, book a visit as soon as possible after the initial injury, unless the injury is severe (for example, a break or tear) in which case you’ll need to see a doctor for imaging. After the initial appointment, book a follow up in 5 to 7 days. Once your therapist has had a chance to assess your injury, they’ll be able to develop a treatment plan best suited to your situation.
Chronic pain or injury
Every once in awhile that old back injury bothers you a bit. Or those hours hunched in front of a computer screen leave your neck and shoulders tight and tense. Regular visits for massage therapy can ease the discomfort of those old injuries and relieve tension from stress and improper posture. Here are some guidelines for how often you should visit to treat chronic pain or injury.
For routine discomfort from things like poor posture or extended sitting, you should visit between once every two weeks to once a month. If you’re dealing with pain from a recurring injury like sciatica or “throwing out your back” it’s best to visit once a week until you’re not experiencing any pain between appointments. Then you can continue to space out your appointments until you reach once a month—with no pain between sessions.
Health and wellness
Let’s say you don’t have any pain, injuries (old or new), or any uncomfortable stress or tension. Is there any benefit to seeing an RMT? Regular massage therapy can decrease mental and physical stress, improve your range of motion and the health of your joints, provide better postural awareness, and lessen postural strain and pain. Regular visits to an RMT will also prevent the tension build up that can lead to pain or injury. To optimize your health and wellness with ongoing massage therapy, pre-book an appointment once a month.
The benefits of massage therapy go beyond fixing damage that’s already been done. Get proactive with your health and enjoy the activities you love—without pain or tension.
Jason Togeretz, RMT