How often should I come for manual therapy that is not for relaxation, but to address a particular issue?
We have a similar philosophy and approach: four visits and then reassess.
In our experience, functional improvement and quality of life improve faster than becoming pain-free. It’s as if our muscles and joints can have better mobility but our nervous system (which is the source of all pain) has a delay in recognizing the improvement. This can be a delay of a few days or weeks.
You may notice improvement in the ability to do daily things but there is a residual discomfort or even pain. If we are achieving functional improvement in the first four sessions, then each subsequent session might have less noticeable effect compared to earlier sessions. That is good! If we are truly helping to restore mobility to your musculoskeletal system, then at each visit, you should have fewer imbalances to address.
The other necessary component is fitness. All forms of exercises, ultimately, are different ways to re-educate the nervous system to not allow pain to limit muscle function.
If after four sessions and daily home exercises and stretches, your quality of life and daily movements have had no appreciable and sustained improvement, then we need to be honest and discuss whether to continue the sessions. We do not want to waste your time and money.
For this reason, Truform Therapeutic Massage offers 10% off of the purchase of a series of four massages. There is no expiration and if your issue resolves before the four massages, the remaining massages can be used for the next acute issue or for relaxation.
Some people make massage a regular part of their self-care and there is value to this because it allows your body to let go of tension as much as possible all in one session and on a regular basis. Fully relaxing is difficult to do. Clients often comment that they get to a place where they think they are relaxing, and then they realize some muscles are still holding tension. A massage allows you to recognize this and to feel, once again, what relaxation feels like. That can be extremely beneficial for your nervous system.
Our underlying philosophy is that the body should be able to function without ongoing external intervention. If you don’t have permanent disadvantages created by scarring, surgery, injury, that require maintenance, and if you are moving your body well in other ways, there really is no need for regular manual therapy that targets a particular issue. The body doesn’t routinely fall out of alignment; our treatments often address issues that were months and years in the making and once they are addressed, they will not return easily within another several months or years.
So, for particular issues, four sessions . . . and if you feel there is no improvement, then perhaps something else is necessary.
Photography by Anna Truax