How long will this take?
One of the most frequently asked questions when meeting a new client is, “How many sessions will it take before I feel better?”
That’s a very tough question, and can hardly be answered in general. In school, Teacher Jim used to tell us massage a good rule of thumb is one session per month that you have lived with a problem. For example, if your back started aching last week and you got a massage right away, there is a chance you can nip that pain pretty quickly. Did you hurt your ankle a year ago and limp around without treatment? It could take 12 sessions before you feel right.
It’s a bit more complicated than that. There have been clients who walk in with a nagging ailment who leave after one session feeling great. Others have to come in more. My best example is my dad. He was a custodian for more than thirty years. When he retired, he got a much need chance to relax.
His job was very physical. Lifting, twisting, climbing, and gripping were part of his daily routine. Sadly, I wasn’t a therapist until many years after his retirement. He sat on the results of his job for at least five years. If we follow the aforementioned rule of thumb, that’s 60 sessions to get him right.
Some of his afflictions were resolved quickly; he was able to walk without shuffling pretty quickly. Before too long, he could lift his arms enough to get stuff off the top shelf. My proudest moment was when he informed me he could do a push-up. This meant he could flatten his palms enough to push without as much pain.
Now we are more than 60 sessions in, there are still lingering problems. His elbows and shoulders aren’t quite right and his back is still achy.
Sometimes, all you can do is keep working. Remember, your body compensates; if you hurt your leg, your hips and back adjust. You have to get everything back in line. There are issues that take more time and more self care, like plantar fasciitis. There are some that take less, like a tight neck.
How long does it take? Find out the source of the problem. Is it just muscles that are tight or knotted? Are you dealing with a bigger problem that requires a physical therapist? What are you doing outside your massage to help yourself? Exercise. Stretch. Healthy muscles require hydration.
I promise to work hard and give you honest feedback. Many times, a massage will help out tremendously. Sometimes, there are steps complementary to massage you should explore.