This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions about massage, and here’s how I think about it -
There is no one size fits all approach, recommended treatment frequency and treatment length can vary. It really depends on what YOUR goals are. Here are some examples of what clients have said they want to focus on:
“I am recovering from rotator cuff repair surgery, I want to be able to wash my hair or reach overhead without pain.”
“I have been diagnosed with Osteoarthritis of my knee, I want to be able to continue participating in my local walking club”.
Sports performance goals
“I’m training for my first marathon and am starting to feel some discomfort around my achilles heel and on the sole of my foot”.
“I’m training for my seventh marathon and want to improve my recovery after training. I am training to get a PR on the day”.
‘I just need to de-stress, I always feel tension in my neck and shoulders and get regular headaches”.
“I’m not in any pain, I just enjoy receiving massage therapy”.
These are very different goals and require different treatment frequencies, and different treatment approaches. One thing they will all have in common is a structured process for deciding what your goals for treatment are, measurement of progress and an evaluation of treatment outcomes.
You may have heard the saying “what gets measured gets done/managed”. I like this because it is a nice reminder that regular reevaluation can help keep us focused on your goals, or help identify when it is time to set new ones.
I find the process is most successful when there’s a dialogue, because mutual goal setting for your treatments and mutual decision making is a key part of the process.
“But Emily, how often do you get a massage?”
I lead an active liftestyle, lots of hiking and cycling, I have a physically demanding job with lots of repetitive movements and motions, and I occasionally sign myself up for a physical challenge. In the past this has been obstacle races. Next year it is my first stair race, “Hustle up the Hancock”. I also have a history of shoulder injury.
So, when I’m not training for a specific event my main goal is prevention and maintenance. I like to regularly address minor aches and pains before they have the potential to become a bigger problem. Also, important to me is to address any underlying asymmetries or imbalances, in other words get to the root cause of some of these minor aches and pains. I get a 60 minute massage every two weeks and this works for me and my goals.
Let’s find what works for you!