By Shane Clark, RMT
A common question that I am asked as a Registered Massage Therapist is how often a person should receive massage therapy? Clients usually want to either eliminate the issue that they are experiencing or to keep a problem that has been eliminated from returning and they wonder how often they should come to do that.
This is a complex question. Each person’s situation is different, as is their state of physical health, and some areas of the body are more prone than other to re-occurrence and strain.
A single treatment is typically sufficient to resolve a minor or short-term issue. Provided an injury isn’t from a major trauma, as the body needs time to heal, a single treatment may meet your needs. If there is a major trauma though, a single treatment will likely not ensure resolution.
Typically to resolve a moderate or established issue, a single treatment provided once a week for a 2-4 week period will provide a resolution. This is contingent though on following the directions of the RMT in regards to home care. Home care typically consists of increased water consumption and 1-3 easy to carry out home based exercises or stretches.
Issues that are more severe or longer term are more difficult to resolve as these issues have had time to establish themselves within the body. In most cases, these issues have caused secondary or tertiary issues to arise which complicates things further. For a more severe or longer term issue, it is typical to start with two treatments spaced 2-3 days apart for 1-3 weeks. Then, assuming there has been improvement and home care has been completed, the treatment frequency moves to the moderate category.
The key is to avoid an issue advancing from minor category to moderate or serve. Daily aches and pains and commonly suffered injuries and if they are cared for at the earliest opportunity you can usually avoid them getting worse.
To typically keep an issue from re-emerging, the treatment protocol that I find most helpful is a single treatment every 4-6 weeks. Typically, I encourage my clients to pay attention to their body and if they feel the issue coming back, get in for a massage quicker rather than later. Self-involvement in your own health and paying attention to your body’s warning signs can help to head issues off before they become a problem.