You finally went for your first massage therapy appointment. You feel great. You can comfortably turn your head to check your blind spot when driving, and that pain in your shoulder is a distant memory. Now that you’re all fixed up, there’s no need to schedule another appointment unless another body part starts giving you trouble, right?
A massage therapist is like the other healthcare professionals you see regularly. You need to see them periodically for tune-ups. You don’t go to the dentist for a cleaning once and never return. You need to go in every six months for a deep cleaning.
The same is true with your massage therapist. Like a dental cleaning, a therapeutic massage gets deep to the root of your problems. Your massage therapist smooths the kinks out of your fascia, easing sore muscles. You’ll feel relaxed, your stress will be reduced, your pain will be lessened or even gone. But as the days and weeks go by, your fascia will start to wrinkle and crease with the movements of daily life. And in a few weeks, a month, two months, you’ll need another massage to undo the physical stress placed on your body since your last massage. It’s like how you brush and floss twice a day, but you still need that semi-annual deep cleaning you can only get from a dentist.
Speaking of brushing and flossing, you need to practice daily care for your body just like you do for your teeth. Daily self-care keeps your body moving smoothly between massage therapy appointments. You wouldn’t go to the dentist and then never bother to brush your teeth, would you?
What does self-care mean? Self-care is what you regularly do at home to keep your body moving properly. That could be some gentle stretching when you first wake up, staying hydrated or taking a daily walk at lunch. Because the mind and body are intrinsically linked, self-care also means taking care of your mental and psychological selves. That might look like knowing when to say no to another commitment, finding alone time to recharge during a stressful week or starting a new hobby.
How often do you need to see your massage therapist? That answer is different for every body. It depends on whether you’re trying to resolve an issue or you’re going for routine maintenance. What is the general condition of your body – do you suffer from a chronic medical condition or pain? How long does it take your body to start feeling tight after a massage?
Once you determine how regularly you need a massage, schedule your next appointment before you need it. Set up a recurring calendar event to schedule your massage or schedule a few appointments at a time. If you wait to book an appointment until you’re in pain, you will likely have to wait a few days until you can be seen. Most massage therapists book at least a few days out. Planning ahead will ensure you can get an appointment that works for your schedule and your body.