Stress Making You Uncomfortable at Work? On-site Massage Can Help!by Cindy Kittleson
Today, stress is just a fact of life. The workplace is no different; stress and work are inextricably linked. Deadlines, working long stressful hours, the fear of being laid off or the pressures of laying people off are taking a toll. Currently, one in every four workers experience pain or discomfort on the job.
The effects of stress are cumulative. Without time to relax and recharge, they can lead to headaches, backaches, eyestrain, neck pain, repetitive use injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, poor concentration, anxiety, depression, irritability or anger. Your health is also compromised with a lower resistance to colds and infections, high blood pressure, ulcers and heart disease. All of this physical and mental exhaustion can quickly lead to employee burn-out.
So what can you do about it?
On-site massage therapy is one of many new tools employers are utilizing to increase health and wellness at work.
“More and more companies offer massage therapy not only as a perk, but also to increase their employees’ productivity and morale,” says E. Houston LeBrun, president-elect of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).
Research on workplace massage backs up what individuals report. The International Journal of Neuroscience recently reported on two studies conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami. The first study took two groups. One group of 26 employees had 15-minute massages in the office two times a week, and the other was a control group of 24 employees who were told to just sit and relax in the massage chair for 15 minutes two times a week.
After five weeks, the massaged group fared much better. They experienced reduced mental stress and increased alertness, speed and accuracy on math computations, correlating to higher scores on logical skills tests, while the control group did not. Depression scores were lower for both the massage and control group; however, anxiety levels and job stress scores were lower only for the massage group.
In the second study, 24 adults who experienced lower-back pain for at least six months were randomly assigned to either a massage therapy group or relaxation therapy group. After five weeks, results showed that both groups experienced a decrease in stress and long-term pain, but only the massaged group had less lower-back pain and fewer depression symptoms. Massage recipients also slept better, had improved range of motion, and their serotonin and dopamine levels were higher.
Back pain is the single largest contributor to days away from work due to injury or illness (U.S. Department of Labor, 1995). But you don’t have to have a PhD in neuroscience to figure out that massage therapy feels good and is great for you!
Massage in the Workplace
Massage in the workplace is a win-win situation for both the employee and employer. The employee experiences the benefits of reduced stress and better health, through increased energy and the ability to think and concentrate, reduced pain and lower blood pressure. Employers who offer on-site massage therapy benefit by increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, less work-related injuries and decreased turnover. It is a 100% tax-deductible benefit for employers, but most importantly it creates your most valuable asset —happy, healthy employees which contributes more to the company’s bottom line.
How much less productive is an employee with a headache or shooting pains in their forearms? Many employers are realizing that regardless of whether pain is job-related or not, it still affects their bottom line productivity. Partly because of that, Massage Therapy has become one of the most commonly used forms of alternative medicine. One local Colorado company that specializes in these programs is MassageSpecialists.com of Boulder. This company, comprised of over 20 massage therapists, has worked with some of the biggest names in Colorado business. In addition to our Wellness Center in Boulder, MassageSpecialists offers creative programs to bring massage therapy into the workplace at little or no added cost to a company.
To find out more about MassageSpecialists and their various programs, contact Dirk McCuistion, or Cindy Kittleson at 303.938.0388, or visit their website at www.massagespecialists.com.
Return to MassageSpecialists.com News