A massage therapist (she used to work with a chiropractor) recently told me that I need three to four massages a month so that she can work out the knots in my back. I know this sounds expensive but does it sound reasonable? In other words, do I really need all those massages closely spaced to get the job done. What happens if I don't get the knots "unknotted?"

ask the trainer, jim beatty

Massage, like exercise, has a more positive effect on the body when done regularly. One massage is nice and relaxing, but several in a row definitely have benefit, especially when there is a specific issue to work out.


We all do things in a certain way, whether it's sitting at our desk, walking, carrying the groceries, or whatever. The specific ways in which we move build connections or patterns between our brain and muscles, and some of those patterns that can be harmful. If let go long enough those patterns creates imbalances in the body that will eventually lead to pain. Imbalances can show up as anything from chronically tight muscles, to changes in posture, to chronic pain.


A good massage therapist should not only be able to help work those knots out with different massage techniques, but should also be able to tell you what areas you need to strengthen and what specific exercises you can do help change those patterns and improve specific tightness and weakness. That may be asking a lot, I know, but a good massage therapist will at least have a good personal trainer in their network that they can refer you to, to help you stretch what needs to be stretched, and strengthen what needs to be strengthened.


All too often people just accept chronic pain as "the way it is." I challenge you to work on your specific back issue. Enjoy the massages and do the work needed to change things for the better. It may seem expensive in the beginning, but what's the cost of chronic pain? If your massage therapist doesn't discuss specific ways to improve your back through exercise, ask. If she doesn't know, I'd encourage you to seek out a new massage therapist.