Massage is an Important Part of Health Maintenance
You will often hear people talk of the massage they had at their "spa day", or the special treat or gift of a massage they received from a spouse or child. These are enjoyable activities and are indeed great gifts in a world where we have too many belongings. Less stuff and more opportunity to enjoy an experience- what's not to love?
Massage can play a much bigger, and important, role is one's day to day health however. Since massage can be useful not only for a sore shoulder or a sudden back issue, but also for stress management, people should really consider making massage a regular part of their maintenance routine. Why? Massage provides a hands on assessment of your body. You will have the opportunity to feel where the tight areas are and get them loosened up on the spot. A relaxation massage will allow the body (nervous system) to attain a deep state of mental and physical repose.
Often a massage therapist will first meet a client when they are in a state of duress. Their body is in pain or they are in a state of high stress. While a massage can provide immediate relief, that relief will only last so long. The longer and more serious the issue, the longer it will take to "fix" the problem. I don't mean taking a 90 minute instead of a 60 minute session, I mean several appointments over several weeks. By comparison, when a client is regularly having massage, their body is in a better state overall and a tough week or a slightly sore arm from cleaning can be soothed much more quickly. Think of massage as you would house cleaning. If you do your tidying and cleaning on a regular basis, you don't see a buildup of dust or piles of papers and your chores don't take long. If you leave the job for a month or two, there is more to clean and it takes longer to do so.
I like to say that everyone could use a massage. We all carry stress and get small aches and pains. In fact, massage can help one become much more aware of one's body. It is shocking how many people don't take the time to listen to their body. One's body is one's home. It's important to know where the flexibility is and isn't, where the "roof" may become leaky or where the "pipes" may be blocked. And this is not limited only to adults. I treat many children and young adults - some are athletes, some have anxiety or ADHD, and am always impressed to see youth taking an interest in their health and realizing the value of starting care early. Maintenance will always be easier than having to fix something that has "broken".
Many of my clients ask how often they should be getting massages. The answer is a very personal one and depends on one's level of activity or inactivity, the kind of job one has or how one spends one's time. Of course insurance coverage or other considerations may come into play as well. As a general rule of thumb, assuming that there is no major issue, a maintenance routine would see massage happening once every 4-6 weeks for those with a more sedentary and/ or stressful lifestyle. This can go longer (6-8 weeks) for those who get regular and varied exercise, or for those on vacation (amazing to see the stress leave the shoulders while on vacay!). No matter the interval, consider massage as less of a treat and more of a crucial part of a health routine.
Maintaining your "home" will go a long way to enhancing your day to day life. Take care of yourself, you are worth it.