As a rule of thumb, having a massage once or twice a week is recommended and safe
‘How often should I get a massage’ is one of those questions that unfortunately doesn’t have a straightforward answer. Unhelpful as it may sounds, the key message here is that each of us is an individual with very specific needs so putting people into neat categories (once a month massage, once a week massage) is pretty unrealistic.
Picture credits: Paola Bassanese
I asked on social media how often people would like to receive a massage. Most of those who replied were actually therapists dreaming about daily massages. The most popular answers were weekly and fortnightly massages: in fact this frequency of treatment is ideal to maintain health and keep stress at bay.
Question: Are Weekly Massages Good? Are Daily Massages Bad?
Weekly massages can be beneficial: your therapist will agree with you a plan of action to suit your individual needs.
Daily massages are contraindicated – professional athletes may require daily sessions to prevent or remedy injuries, but they are very targeted to specific areas.
It is not recommended that you have a treatment every day if you don’t have specific issues that need addressing.
Let’s try and be more specific and look at different massage techniques for various conditions and on that basis we can attempt to give guidelines in terms of massage frequency.
How Often to Get a Massage by Technique
When it comes to back and shoulders tension, the best way to tackle this issue is to start off having weekly massages. After the main areas of tension have been addressed, you can then decide to have fortnightly or monthly massages as a maintenance programme. Most clients have fortnightly massages.
For water retention, it is best to start with two sessions a week for 4 weeks and assess the situation and of course you need to follow healthy eating guidelines and a good fitness programme. For sinus congestion a twice a week treatment for one or two weeks can mostly calm down the inflammation and ease the congestion.
3. Natural facelift.
The delicate skin on the face shouldn’t be poked around too often and has a mind of its own: mostly if you give it a boost with massage it has to be intensive but in a short time frame. In other words, with natural facelift the golden rule is to have 6 sessions either once a week or twice a week and then take a break for 2-3 months and start again. You can also do some self massage when you apply your moisturiser. Here’s an example of self massage in this short video tutorial.
How Often to Get a Massage according to Your Needs
Here’s a quick and practical guide to massage techniques and massage frequency.
You travel frequently for business: ideally you need a massage the evening you come back from your trip or arrive at your destination.
To fight jetlag, have a massage late afternoon when you get to your destination to adjust your body to the new time zone. When flying back home, do the same and time your treatment for late afternoon. For best results aim for a 1.5 hours treatment.
You are pregnant: to alleviate back pain and water retention in your lower legs, you could have a massage once a fortnight
As long as your doctor gives you the go ahead (for example, if there’s no complications). If this is not feasible as you have other children and a full time job, once a month can still be beneficial.
You have a regular exercise regime: once or twice a week is the ideal frequency for a deep tissue massage
Your muscles are put under strain and regular massage can help increase flexibility in the muscle fibres and ease the soreness after a workout. If you do dynamic yoga like Ashtanga you can still benefit from massage as the muscles are getting a workout and regular massage can even improve your yoga practice making you more in tune with your body.
You are planning to lose weight: once or twice a week is a good routine to have a sculpting massage to aid with your weight loss
A sculpting/contouring massage can give you that emotional boost to keep you going and the technique is aimed at improving the circulation and break down stubborn fat deposits. You can combine a sculpting massage with a detoxing body wrap for best results. The massage technique in the sculpting massage consists in using a combination of deep tissue and lymphatic drainage.
You suffer from insomnia: once a week or once a fortnight is ideal to have a relaxing massage treatment
A natural facelift massage is the perfect match as it is extremely gentle and works on the central nervous system to act as a natural sleep aid. The added benefit is a more youthful appearance and an improvement in fine lines. Working on the face alone can be just as powerful as a full body massage with the added advantage that you don’t emerge from the session with the telltale “ring” mark on your face from lying down on the massage table.