If you're using massage to manage pain or other medical issues, you may need to get massages more often. After an injury, your therapist may recommend a massage once or twice a week during recovery. Getting a massage once a month can be beneficial in helping to reduce the negative effects of stress on the body and mind. The benefits of massage are cumulative, so the second and third massages are based on the good effects of the first.
If you're including massage in an overall plan to reduce stress and relax tense muscles, once a month is a good recommendation. A weekly 20-minute massage by a professional or two 20-minute massages performed by a person at home may be sufficient to reduce anxiety and stress, as well as the physical symptoms of pregnancy.
For athletes, the frequency of massage therapy depends on the sport, training schedule and athletic goals. During a less intense workout, you may want to reduce the frequency of massages to every two weeks or once a month.
If you notice that the pain returns in a few days, it's probably time to see your massage therapist again. There are no standard guidelines for how many massages you can receive, but your massage therapist or doctor can recommend the frequency and duration that best suits your needs. A study conducted in Korea showed that women who worked in an office experienced health benefits by receiving scalp massages for 15 to 25 minutes twice a week for 10 weeks. Even when you're not training, regular massages can help you maintain your health, range of motion, and muscle flexibility.
When training for an event like a marathon, you might want to schedule massages more frequently than usual. When working with an acute or chronic condition, it's important to wait until you feel consistently pain-free to reduce the frequency of massages. A weekly or biweekly massage can help you get in proper shape and recover faster after the event or competition. Sports massages are required more regularly while training for an event such as a marathon or other sporting activity, both before and after the event.
The American College of Physicians now includes massage as a treatment for low back pain that lasts up to 12 weeks.