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The Best Massage Length
I can’t tell you how many times someone has asked me whether a 90 minute massage is better than an hour; always with an air of, “it is, right?” Now, I absolutely love doing 2 hour massages and the smartasss in me always wants to quip, “Everyone should get 2 hour massages.” Buuut… If you’ve been reading my stuff for any length of time, you already know what my answer is. It depends.
There are so many factors that go into which massage is the perfect length, that there is no easy, one-size-fits-all answer. Some of the factors to consider are:
How much time you have available in your schedule – Trying to squeeze a long massage into a schedule that has zero wiggle room for traffic snags, a line at the front desk, etc. isn’t going to give you maximum benefit. It’s just going to stress you out.
How much money you have available in your budget or HSA – Going into debt for a massage may be a huge stressor for you, but then again, it may not. Maybe getting rid of your headache, sciatica, or other assorted aches and pains is worth putting on a credit card. Only you know the answer to that.
The reason you’re getting a massage – Some painful conditions get riled up by longer sessions and therefore benefit from shorter but more frequent sessions.
Your body – Some people’s bodies respond better to longer sessions. Some folks have a difficult time relaxing and need extra time to allow them to relax before working on tight or painful issues. Some people find it almost torturous to lay still for long periods of time.
When a 30 Minute Massage is Optimal
It may be best to get a 30 minute massage if:
You have limited funds – You won’t do your existing muscle tension any favors by stressing out over spending money you don’t have.
You have limited time – You won’t do your existing muscle tension any favors by stressing out trying to rush to and/or from your appointment.
You only have one issue or body area you want worked on – The general rule is one issue for every thirty minutes of massage.
You can’t lay still for longer than half an hour – If laying still is a stressor, you’re better off scheduling a 30 minute massage that focuses on the area(s) bothering you.
You’re extremely ticklish in multiple areas of your body – If close to half (or more) of your body is super ticklish, it’s probably best to schedule a 30 minute massage that focuses only on the areas bothering you.
When You Should Get a 60 Minute Massage
This is typically the default amount of time so I’m not going to spend much time on it. That said, one hour is great if:
You’re just looking for a nice, relaxation massage
You want to get a couples massage with your sweetie
You’ve got the time
You’ve got the money
You have only one or two issues or body areas you want focused on – The general rule is one issue for every thirty minutes of massage.
You Could Really Use a 9o Minute Massage (or Longer)
If you identify with any of these, you may want to consider scheduling a 90 minute or 2 hour massage:
An hour massage never feels long enough – Seriously, this is your body’s way of telling you that you need more more time on the table
Your bank account, FSA, or HSA can easily afford the cost – I think that’s self-explanatory
You have 3 or more issues or body areas you want focused on – The general rule is one issue for every thirty minutes of massage.
You have a complex condition that requires slow deliberate work to get relief and not cause a pain flare – Some people with fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, and other extremely complex issues find great relief from techniques that require slow deliberate work. With some of these techniques, it can take over an hour if you want the entire body treated.
I know I said at the beginning that it’s a complex issue without an easy answer. And it is. It’s also not super difficult when you know what the main considerations are. I hope this helps!
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