Over my career I have done massage sessions from 10 minutes up to 2 hours.
The reasons for these length of massage sessions has varied as much as the people I have massaged. From 10 minute chair massage to 2 hour full body deep tissue massage. From someone wanting only their arms massaged for 60 minutes to someone wanting to get lost in a total healing 2 hour massage.
The length of massage session can vary according to a few factors. Most people are familiar with a 60 minute massage. During this time in most massage environments a person will receive a full body massage in that 60 minutes.
This full body massage may be a nurturing soothing massage or a deep tissue massage or another massage modality in the 60 minutes.
There a few factors to consider when scheduling the length of time for your massage session. Below I have written about those.
Factors That Can Affect The Length Of A Massage Session?
Factors to think about when scheduling a massage:
- Money- I have found that finances is the most common reason for length of a massage. Many people can just afford a 60 minute massage even though they want/need a 90 minute massage. Some can only afford a 30 minute massage.
- What is the reason for the massage? Is it a relaxation massage or for deep tissue, structural integration massage? For instance, sometimes the massage is for a child or teenager who might not be able to lay still on the massage table for 60 minutes and a 30 minute session will be good for them.
- General relaxation or multiple areas needing work? Do you want general relaxation or have multiple areas that require more bodywork then can be done in a 60 minute session.
- Do you want/need a full body 60 minute massage or specific focused work in a few more problematic areas? Getting a full body massage in 60 minutes may not be what someone needs. Maybe someone could benefit from 2 seperate 30 minute massage sessions focused simply on the neck, back and shoulders so that muscles and fascia have more ability to unwind. Or the body may benefit greater from a full body massage in 90 minutes so there is more time to focus on problem areas.
- The professional opinion and experience of the massage therapist- After you explain your reasoning for the massage a skilled massage therapist can many times offer you their professional opinion on the best length of time.
- The endurance of the massage therapist - Some massage therapists may not have the physical stamina to do 90 minute or 2 hour deep tissue massages. This is something important to ask of your massage therapist especially if you are going to someone who has never massaged you before.
- Time and busy schedules-Doing a 90 minute massage may not work with tight schedules. 60 minutes or less may be the only time someone has in their busy lives for a massage.
Keep in mind that sometimes what you need from a massage will require scheduling more than one massage over time especially if you are dealing with chronic conditions that may require repeated massage sessions.
As massage therapists we do not always know the amount of massages needed for a person and even the best length of time. Sometimes we are going with the flow and being flexible in what is going on with the person coming in.
We do the best we can to help in the allotted time but sometimes more than one massage is needed and even longer massage sessions are needed.
The Benefits Of Scheduling Longer Massages
But there are a few good reasons for scheduling 90 minute or 2 hour massages:
- Increased time for the body to relax- It takes time for some to let their bodies drop into relaxation. For them to move from chronic fight or flight into rest and digest. If someone tends to be highly stressed and cannot "drop down" easily, doing a 90 minute or even 2 hour session can benefit them in giving their body more time to access their para sympathetic nervous system and physiological relaxation within themselves.
- Added time for deep tissue work or myofascia work or other massage work- There are some bodies out there that really do require 90 minute or 2 hours for deep tissue or myofascial work. Especially if they are thicker or bulkier or they haven't had alot of deep tissue massage or other non lighter massage techniques. Doing longer sessions can give the massage therapist time to really slow down and open the muscles and fascia surrounding the muscles.
- More time for injury treatment- Takes time to work out scar tissue and adhesions and 60 minute massages may work and sometimes more time is needed as well as more than one massage.
- Longer time to work on unwinding the body and muscles-Sometimes 60 minutes or less is not enough to unwind the muscles and get to root causes of why someone is having structural problems or chronic pain.
- Other issues can arise due to the body relaxing- The body/mind is made of layers and longer sessions can help peel back the inner layers so that other issues can come up for someone to let go of for stress relief or just an insight into themselves for deeper pain relief and stress reduction on a mental and emotional level.
Hopefully this post about how long should a massage last has given you some things to think about regarding the best length of time for your massage or massages in the future.
If you have questions or want to schedule a massage give me a call or text at 530-917-0123.