“See you in a month” … it’s up there in the lingo of massage with “how much pressure do you enjoy?” But how often should you really be getting massage? Well, that depends on why you are getting massage in the first place.
I have an injury.
If you are seeking massage to help you to recover from an injury, even a very old injury, then don’t be surprised if your therapist wants to see you soon. Like, real soon. Whilst it’d be wonderful to perform miracles, heal the sick and raise the dead … it’s just not in the job description.
The reality is that our bodies can be stubborn like an old donkey, and to create change that actually lasts then sometimes we need repeated persuasion, otherwise we just go back into our old postural and tension habits.
For someone presenting with an acute (that means sudden onset) injury – it’s important not to aggravate it and to give the body adequate time to heal itself. We might ask you to come back in 5-7 days to follow up to make sure that you are healing well, work out any tension patterns, address specific pain and movement complains. Massage will also help to mobilise any metabolic and inflammatory products that your body hasn’t already flushed away.
For a chronic (meaning it’s been around for a while) condition, we will probably want you to come back that week, and a couple of times a week for 2-3 weeks, and then extend the time between massages. This is where we are coaxing your body out of an old pattern, desensitizing pain areas – and also the change we are working on with you is gradual. Too much too fast is like a crash diet, you just bounce back to where you were. We want to “graduate you” to the point where you don’t need massage … but are at the point of loving massage.
I want to feel better
If you are one of the millions of office workers slaved to a desk, drive a truck or are a tradie – then you’ll be feeling aches and pains as a result of your job.
Massage helps to loosen tense muscles and generally to move crud in your body. It also helps you to feel less stressed, particularly if you have a high pressure job.
If you are proactive with movement (regular walking, gym work, yoga, dance etc) then you’ve already taken vital steps towards your own long term health and comfort. You might be satisfied with coming in once a month to keep yourself moving.
There’s a reason to the “see you in a month” moniker … it’s a comfortable interval. Not too far apart, easy to remember and not too taxing on the wallet.
Some jobs are particularly taxing, particularly if you perform repetitive and strenuous tasks. We could tell you to quit your job (yeah right!) … or you’d probably benefit from more frequent massage … perhaps once every two weeks, helping you to stay active in the job you’re passionate about.
I need help with headaches (or other conditions)
Massage is effective in supporting to manage a whole range of health conditions including headaches. Important first is to find out what is the reason behind that condition. It might be something that can be addressed fast (fat trigger points in some of the neck muscles), or it might be something that will require regular support (degeneration or illness).
You might know your own rhythms – for example end of month finances, stock take or particular jobs cause an increase in stress, or working longer hours … or perhaps a family gathering is approaching, or the anniversary of a life event. Maybe pain and fatigue is liked to your own hormonal balances. We work to find a rhythm that serves you.
I play sport
I worked with an Olympic cyclist once who got massage 4 times a day with her training routine. It was vital in maintaining absolute peak performance. You probably don’t need such intensive support! Whether you are a weekend warrior or a high performance athlete – you’ll need to figure out are we helping you to prepare for sport, recover after sport or recover from a sports injury.
During the peak of your season, particularly if you are prone to injury then weekly or fortnightly short massage might be just the ticket for you.
Preparing for a big race? Then monthly massage, ramping up to more frequent massage as you get closer to your event. Then a few days after completion, schedule in a longer massage for recovery and fun.
I just love massage
And we love you too. When do you want to come back? Next week?
No I can’t come to live with you. I’ll see you in a month.
Why not book your appointment today?
David Clayton is the Principal Therapist at Myomasters Massage located in the inner north and north east of Adelaide. He has a passion for supporting humans to live the lives they were to born to live using massage and soft tissue therapies. He has a particular interest in assisting people to recover from stress, anxiety and trauma using compassionate and nurturing touch.