Massage is a type of bodywork which involves manipulation of the tissue and muscles to release tension and strain. Many people enjoy massage because it is relaxing and pleasant, but it also has health benefits. Receiving massage at least once a month will result in cumulative health benefits for clients, but an even greater frequency will be much more effective. Ultimately, the decision of how often you get a massage is based on input from your body, your massage therapist, and, in some cases, a doctor.
Receiving massage on a regular basis will help to promote a healthy circulatory system, along with good posture. Massage also releases tension and pain in the muscles, allowing them to move more freely. People who get massages frequently tend to be more flexible and comfortable in their bodies, since they are maintaining a higher level of general health. Massages can also be good for specific conditions, such as stress, and it may even be recommended by a doctor.
The benefits of receiving massage vary, depending on the modality being used. Some types of massage are good for a general “feel good” experience, such as Swedish and Lomi Lomi. Others like lymphatic drainage, myofascial release, and deep tissue are targeted to specific issues in the body. Asian modalities such as Thai massage and Shiatsu are also very beneficial.
It may take experimentation with getting massage several times and from several different therapists before you start to notice benefits. As a general rule, try to use the same therapist for your massages, since he or she will get to know your body. Be aware that receiving massage has cumulative benefits, so you will not instantly feel better after one or two sessions, but you will start to notice a difference after four or more.
At a minimum, many massage therapists agree that receiving massage once a month is a good start. However, once every two weeks is better. In some cases, getting a massage once a week or more may be indicated, especially in the case of clients who have had recent physical trauma. Frequent gentle massage after a car accident, for example, is far more beneficial than intermittent deep tissue work. A doctor may advocate for massage to treat a specific ailment, and the doctor's recommendation may include a suggestion for frequency as well. Likewise, a doctor should be consulted when embarking on a regular course of massage therapy, to make sure that massage is safe and healthy for you.