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How Long of a Massage Should You Get?


This is one of the most common questions I get from new massage clients. There are so many options available it can be confusing as to how long of a session you need. There are several things to consider when choosing a session length, such as your budget, your wellness goals, and your current physical state.

What Are the Typical Session Lengths?

You will not find the same choices of massage sessions everywhere, but here are the typical choices…

  • 30 Minutes
  • 60 Minutes
  • 90 Minutes
  • 120 Minutes

The 60 and 90 minute options are the most common, but you may see less common options such as 45 or 75 minute sessions. Each massage therapist creates sessions that work best for the modalities and skills that we offer. At my Overland Park massage office, the 90 minute session is the most popular.

What Are Your Wellness Goals?

The answer to this question will have a big impact on the length of massage session you should choose. Are you looking to relax and let go of built-up anxiety and tension? Or are you looking for relief from chronic pain in a specific area?

If you have a trouble spot that needs attention, then a 30 minute session can be effective. For instance, 30 minutes of therapeutic massage on the neck can eliminate tension and stress from that area. This is a great session length for work on the feet too. However, 30 minutes is not long enough for a full-body session or to fully relax.

A 60 minute session is enough time to relax and unwind, especially if you can commit to massages on a regular basis. A 60 minute session can also be effective for a chronic trouble spot, such as lower back stiffness or neck and shoulder tension.

To fully relax and have enough time to work on trouble spots, I usually recommend a 90 minute session. That may sound like a long time to you, but your massage therapist may need that much time to give a full body massage and address your specific complaints. Clients that are new to massage are often surprised to find that massage on the calves and feet can help the hips or shoulders relax. Everything is connected, and a longer, full-body massage is the best way to completely relax.

What Types of Massage Are You Considering?

The type of massage you are seeking can affect which session length you choose. Myofascial release and true deep-tissue massage techniques take time, so that the tissue can unwind and melt under the appropriate pressure. These modalities should not be rushed. They can be used with any session length, but the longer the session, the more effective the work will be.

Modalities that require tools, such as cupping or hot stone massage, are also better with longer sessions, because some time is consumed with replacing stones or cups with new ones throughout the session. However, aside from a few exceptions, most massage techniques are not time-sensitive and are effective with shorter session lengths.

Other Common Concerns…

What if You Have to Use the Restroom During a Longer Session?

This does happen on occasion, and, although it seems like it would be very disruptive, the session can continue from where it left off. Most massage rooms have robes available for the client to use if the need to visit the restroom arises.

What if You Fall Asleep and Snore During the Session?

This may seem more likely during a longer session, but trust me when I say that it happens all the time. I consider it a compliment that my clients can relax so much as to fall asleep on the massage table. In addition, snoring is natural, common, and nothing to be embarrassed about.

What if the Massage Table is Not Comfortable?

Some clients can have trouble staying comfortable in one position for a long time. Do not avoid a longer massage session for this reason. An experienced massage therapist will be able to position you so that you are comfortable and create an effective massage session too.

In the End, Just Go with Your Gut

In the end, just go with your gut when booking a massage session. You alone know how long of a session you will enjoy without it becoming too lengthy. If a longer session sounds good, then try it out. The time will probably fly by as you relax and unwind. At my massage studio in Overland Park, I offer a number of different massage techniques and services, from hot stone massages to couples massage training.

Schedule an appointment today!

Suzanne Schaper is a Board Certified Massage Therapist serving Lenexa and Overland Park, KS. She loves sharing her knowledge for health and wellness with her customers. "A life free of pain and disease is a more full life." Suzanne enjoys assisting her customers in their pursuit of health and happiness.

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