Getting a massage can be a way to treat yourself, de-stress, or address a medical issue. You can seek out a massage therapist for a variety of different massages. You can also self-massage or ask someone to perform massage techniques at home.
There are no standard guidelines for the number of massages you can get, but a massage therapist or your doctor may be able to recommend a frequency and duration that work best for your needs.
Massages for injury are typically more frequent, while massages for pampering or relaxation purposes can occur less often.
Massage frequency and duration will depend on the type of massage you want and the area you want to target. Many research studies recommend a certain massage frequency and duration to address underlying health problems like pain or injury.
Talk to a massage therapist to find out how often you should visit to address your needs.
If regular massages aren’t in your budget, consider stretching out the time between each session. You may also be able to learn massage techniques to perform at home on a more regular basis from a doctor, massage therapist, or another medical professional.
Lymphatic drainage massage
This type of massage is useful for draining lymph nodes that have been affected by a recent surgery or medical condition. It’ll prompt the flow of fluid in your lymph nodes and release fluid build-up.
You may need this massage daily at the beginning, but over time, you can try two or three times a week.
Lymphatic drainage massage should always be performed by a professional. They can also train you to perform certain massage techniques by yourself.
Deep tissue massage
A deep tissue massage uses slow, forceful strokes to reach deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. This type of massage targets muscle damage from injuries.
You may seek deep tissue massages daily, a few times a week, or a few times a month for pain. Your massage therapist can recommend a frequency and duration to address the underlying health condition prompting this type of massage.
A scalp massage can be very relaxing, and it may even lower your blood pressure and heart rate.
One study in Korea showed that women working in an office experienced these health benefits from 15- to 25-minute scalp massages twice a week for 10 weeks.
You may find a regular scalp massage helps you feel calm and improves your overall outlook.
A full-body massage is often called a Swedish massage. This type of massage promotes relaxation. You may seek this type of massage only occasionally, every few weeks, or monthly to help you feel more centered and less stressed.
You may find a massage chair provides relief from aching muscles or helps you relax.
A pilot study found that healthy adults experienced positive benefits from sitting in a massage chair for 20 minutes at a time.
You may be able to experience this type of massage at home by purchasing a massage chair, or you may find a place outside of your home where you can use one occasionally or regularly.
Massage may help relieve specific painful symptoms or reduce stress and anxiety. It may also be helpful during pregnancy. You may need more frequent massages for pain relief, or you may find that less frequent but regularly scheduled massages for your emotional well-being are useful.
Massage is a way to relieve neck pain in the short term, and getting frequent massages may be most beneficial.
Anxiety and stress
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, 66 percent of those who sought massages in 2018 did so to relax and manage stress.
Consider a 60-minute massage tailored for relaxation. According to the Mayo Clinic, this could lower your cortisol levels by 30 percent and raise your serotonin levels by 28 percent. This will relax you and improve your mental well-being.
A weekly 20-minute massage by a professional, or two 20-minute massages by someone at home, may be sufficient to reduce anxiety and stress as well as physical symptoms of pregnancy.
The study also found that 15-minute massages during every hour of labor may also shorten the overall time spent in labor and reduce the amount of medication you need.
Massages can lead to many benefits, including:
- stress reduction
- pain reduction
- lower blood pressure
- release of muscle tension
Massages may not always be the safest activity if you have certain health conditions. You should use caution if you have:
- broken or fractured bones
- a bleeding disorder
- open wounds or burns
- other serious medical conditions
If you’re pregnant, your doctor or a massage therapist may discourage massage during your first trimester or if you have high blood pressure, a high-risk pregnancy, or have recently had surgery. Find someone who specializes in prenatal massage to ensure that you receive a massage that’s healthy and safe for pregnancy.
There are a few risks that may arise if you get a massage. If you have a blood clot or have a history of blood clots, you should consult your doctor before having a massage. During a session, blood clots could break loose and travel through your blood vessels to your heart or lungs. This could lead to a heart attack or blocked artery.
You shouldn’t continue a massage or seek further massages if you experience pain.
Most massages are considered safe. Talk to your doctor before getting one if you have a serious medical condition. You may want to ask for massage therapist recommendations from your doctor so you can find someone who meets your needs.
Massage shouldn’t replace other medical interventions that are necessary to treat an underlying health condition. Don’t ignore pain, developing symptoms, or serious symptoms like chest pain, difficulty breathing, or loss of consciousness.
There are many reasons to seek regular, semi-regular, or infrequent massages. You may need to address a medical issue or want a way to relax and get away from everyday stress.
Determine the type of massage you’d like and discuss your needs with a massage therapist or a doctor if you need to treat an underlying health condition.