Massage for Mental Health (HOW OFTEN?)

Black and white upper body photo of Sarah Galeano

There are complementary therapies that have been proven to improve mental health outcomes such as massage. How often should one get a massage to experience the benefits of better mental health?

On average Massage Therapy has been proven as an effective tool in improving mental health when a person receives massage every 10-14 days. How often an individual should get a massage for mental health improvement more or less depends on the mental state of the person and their environment.

What kind of benefits could you expect to see with massage for mental health conditions? Why is it important to get regular massages when using this therapy to complement your mental health treatment?

The Mental Health Benefits of Massage

Most of us are aware of the physical benefits of massage. It’s often the go-to treatment for sore achy muscles, tension headaches, and tight shoulders. However, massage is worth so much more than just a therapy to be used when we work too hard. Massage is called Massage THERAPY for a reason.

There is plenty of documented research at this point that demonstrates the benefits that massage can cause for different conditions concerning the mind. As we know by this point, the mind and the body are connected. What happens to the mind is felt in the body and what happens to the body is felt in the mind. Thanks to our nervous system, which behaves as a messenger system between the two.

Healing human touch is valued for its ability to make people feel safe and cared for. There is a myriad of hormones that are released by our brains when we give or receive healing touch. Hormones such as oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine, cortisol, and norepinephrine. These hormones have been associated with good mental health.

You can also receive these benefits with self-massage. Many people today don’t give themselves the care that they need. If you give yourself a massage by hand, gua sha, massage cups, or a massage gun you can definitely experience less stress in the body and mind. Also, knowing that you doing something good for yourself can have a positive mental impact.

Massage can be beneficial in improving symptoms of insomnia, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Massage can help to connect us with other individuals in a safe way. It can help us to feel empathy, compassion, respect, kindness, and joy.

Many people suffer from loneliness and massage is a way to form a connection with other individuals, the Massage Therapist, genuinely cares about you as a person, respects your boundaries, communicates effectively but kindly, and works together with you on the same goal for the massage sessions.

Can You Use Massage ONLY to Improve Mental Health?

You might wonder if you could only use massage to improve your mental health. Well, it’s totally up to you! If you have never tried anything mental health-related but are experiencing higher levels of stress and mental fatigue, massage might be a good place to start. You could try massage to analyze how it helps you personally for your mental health.

If you are using other complementary therapies but not massage for better mental health, it might be a nice addition to your tool kit. You are a unique individual and your brain will respond differently to different things. What’s great about massage is it’s something available to everyone, no matter their place on the globe or income status.

If you are thinking of replacing your entire current mental health treatments and medication with massage, please don’t. Massage is a complementary therapy. It’s not intended to be a substitute or replacement for medical treatment for serious mental health conditions. Please talk to your healthcare professional about your desire to incorporate Massage Therapy into your treatment plan.

More than likely they will be very optimistic about it and may even recommend a Massage Therapist. Doctors and Massage Therapists often work harmoniously on a patient’s care. They want to work together so that you can have the best medical care available, so please tell both your Doctor and your Massage Therapist about the treatments you’re currently using so they can communicate together to get on the same page.

How Often Should You Get a Massage to Improve Mental Health?

It’s important to be regular in any treatment program to receive the benefits and massage is no exception. Most people who are experienced in getting massages will start to exclaim “I NEED A MASSAGE” at some point after getting their last massage. Our brains should not be under constant stress but our modern lives are great at keeping us in a chronic state of distress. So, this is NO MISTAKE when a person feels like they need a massage! Even though they may not know why, the brain does.

In the research, it was found that a massage every 10-14 days was effective in improving mental health. If your insurance doesn’t cover Massage Therapy, that may sound like a very expensive protocol to follow. However, there may be a few options you could try to have massage as a regular part of your mental health program.

These are just a few ways to get regular massage to improve your mental health:

Call a Massage Therapy School

Massage Schools have a recurring stream of Massage Students who need mandatory practice hours. Some will offer the practice massages for free, others will charge a low amount. Usually, the only thing required of you is to fill out a questionnaire afterward for student documentation and feedback.

Look For an Insurance Provider That Covers Massage Therapy

It may be more advantageous for you to look for a better insurance policy that will cover most to all of your healthcare needs, including Massage Therapy. This could cost less in total overall than what you would pay out of pocket for twice-a-month massages. It’s important to get all the details and do the math.

Ask a Massage Therapist for a Reasonable Cost on a Massage Package

Many solo Massage Therapists would love to have a regular client they help on their healthcare journey. They may be willing to lower the cost if it meant you would be on their table more often. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Have a Trusted Friend Give You a Massage

You may choose to have a trusted friend or a loved one give you a regular massage. Communicate why you need a regular massage and what the schedule would look like and let them decide if they want to support you on your journey to better mental health. They could follow massage routine videos from YouTube.

Start Performing Self-Massage

I’m a BIG advocate for self-massage. There are so many benefits and it’s a wonderful way to show yourself some love. Self-massage doesn’t require money or the availability of someone else. You are in control of how and when you receive a massage. It could be a tool you use in combination with the regular massage you get from someone else. It’s also something you can do every day!

Even though the research shows that every 10-14 days is effective for mental health improvement, I have seen how even a monthly massage can improve a person’s mental outlook and how they feel overall. The easier something is, the easier it will be to stick to it. Make massage work into your life, not the other way around.

*Massage is NOT a substitute for traditional mental healthcare and the purpose of this article is NOT to suggest that it is. Instead, understand that research studies have proven that massage is an effective complementary therapy that has proven mental health outcomes. NEVER use massage INSTEAD of using or seeking mental health treatment from a doctor or mental healthcare professional. Please call 911 if you are experiencing a mental health crisis.

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The content in this article is for informational, entertainment, and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a trained qualified physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Galeano Massage nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, or supplements or those diagnosed with a medical illness should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program


I've been practicing Massage Therapy since 2014. I'm a health and wellness enthusiast. I'm always learning and experimenting with different techniques, recipes, and healing modalities. I believe that we need to approach health and wellness from a WHOLE-listic point of view and understand that it will constantly be changing and is never stagnant. We are all unique and what works for one person will not necessarily work for another person. As I grow, change, and experiment I will share what I have learned as it may help someone else in need.

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