How often should you get a massage? Part one
This is a question I get asked quite regularly. My answer is you should get a massage everyday!!
I know, I know, that is not something that everyone has time for or can afford. The real answer really depends on why you are choosing to get a massage and what your goals are.
Relaxation and Stress Relief
One of the main reasons people come in to get a massage is for relaxation. It helps to prevent muscle pain, tension and stress points from building up and causing problems. Why wait until you have a problem to get a massage? This type of massage is recommended at least once per month or as often as you want. There are times when we experience more stress than normal and during these times it is very important to take time for yourself and practice good self care. When you feel like you do not have time for a massage that is usually the time when you need it the most.
Living with high levels of stress for a prolonged amount of time increases the risk of heart disease, catching the common cold, weight gain, slower rate of healing, sleep troubles, depression, stomach disorders and so much more. It has been estimated that 75-90 percent of doctors visits are for stress related problems. Some say massage can be expensive but I ask those people have you looked at the cost of health care and disease? Doctors appointments, medications, missing days off work are all very expensive things.
If you are in a high-stress job or you work in an environment where you have to stay in a certain position for a long period of time, you may begin to develop tight or "knotted" muscles. I like to call this stress neck. The more stress in your life the more your neck disappears! Your arms, shoulders and back start to become tense and will make movement harder and more painful. Waiting until you are in physical pain to practice self care is not ideal.
Massage can help and is an excellent form of self care. There are more and more clinical studies being done to show the benefits of massage when it comes to stress. It takes your body from the fight, flight or freeze mode and brings you to a state of relaxation. In this relaxed state your breathing and heart rate is regulated. Cortisol, a stress hormone in your body decreases while serotonin and dopamine, the "happy" endorphins increase during and after a massage session.
There are other forms of stress managment as well. Meditation, yoga and even just a walk outside are things I like to engage in when I feel I need some self love. I may be biased but massage is definitely high on my list of self care activities as well. Schedule your massage and see for yourself! Log how you were feeling physically, mentally and spiritually before and then after your massage session. Comment your results! I would love to know how massage helped you!