How To Maximize Your Massage Benefits
Updated: Apr 15, 2019
There are three types of clients in this world - the client that uses their benefits within the first 6 months, the client that waits to use their benefits until the last 3 months, and the client that maximizes their benefits throughout the year. I get it - on one hand, massage feels so darn good you can't stay away. On the other hand, life gets busy and finding the time for self care becomes less of a priority. Here are my suggestions for optimizing your benefits and ensuring that massage therapy is penciled into your calendar.
Step 1 : Know what your plan includes
Most benefit plans include Massage Therapy as a separate service, however some include it along with other physical therapy such as Chiropractic services and Physiotherapy. Some plans allow you to claim even more treatments under a "health spending account". While the dollar amount varies from one insurance company to another, be sure to find out exactly how much you are able to spend on Massage Therapy and the percentage they will cover. You should also be sure that your plan does not require a doctors note before booking your appointment. You can find this information by contacting your HR department, or the insurance company themselves.
Step 2 : Know your schedule, and your Therapists schedule
I get it - from Monday-Friday you leave for work at 6AM and don't get home until 6PM. Then there's dinner, family time, walking the dog etc. Weekends are spent shuttling the kids to birthday parties and sporting events, brunch with the girls, yoga, and laundry. Phew! Why hasn't anyone designated an 8th day of the week specifically for self care? I know time is slim to none, but pick a day of the week that you will designate for your massage that won't leave you feeling stressed (that defeats the purpose of the massage, silly). You also want to be aware of your therapists schedule - how many evenings does he/she work? Do they work on weekends and holidays? Do they have vacation time coming up (we need self care, too!)? Once you find a day and time that typically works for you and your therapist, you can move on to step 3..
Step 3 : Plan Accordingly
Some companies cover a percentage, others cover it all - but they all cover up to a certain amount. If your plan covers a maximum of $500 at 100%, that's approximately 5 massages a year or one massage every 8-10 weeks. I always suggest you pre-book all of your massages throughout the year. I KNOW, who knows what they're doing in September when we're all struggling to get through January? Try setting a reminder for yourself a month before your appointment date so you can reschedule if need be. Other companies only cover 20-80% of your maximum amount, in which case you will have to budget for the remainder but you're able to receive more treatments throughout the year. I don't suggest letting November creep up on you and realizing you have to book a massage a week to maximize your benefits. Not only is the end of the year busy for you, but it's busy for your therapist and he/she may not have enough availability for you to "squeeze in" all of your massages.
Step 4 : Listen to your body
We tend to push our bodies to their limits, and unexpected pain and discomfort may present itself before your next appointment date. I don't suggest waiting 8-10 weeks in this case. Many of my clients come to me with an issue that needs a lot of work, and in this case I tell them that they may need to come more frequently for the next 2-3 visits, and then re-vamp their yearly schedule for optimal maintenance.
Always Remember ..
Between appointments you'll most likely continue the activities that are causing discomfort in the first place. Although it's said that a 60 minute massage has the same effect on the body as 6-8 hours of sleep, you cannot expect 60 minutes of treatment to carry you through for the next 8-10 weeks. It's important that you practice other forms of self care in between appointments to help reach optimal health, such as regular exercise, good sleep, a healthy diet, and anything else that helps you "fall in love with taking care of yourself"