Could a 15 minute chair massage whilst working at the office save employers 24 days off sick/year?

The latest Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures show that in the UK stress is the second most commonly reported condition in self-reported work-related illnesses. An estimated 428,000 workers (40%) in 2011/12 suffered from stress due to their current or past employment and on average each person took an estimated 24 days off work. It is also estimated that 10.4 million working days were lost in 2011/12 due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety.

What is onsite chair massage?

On site acupressure massage is a hybrid of the ancient Oriental massage arts of Anma and Shiatsu. It is a meridian based therapy in which thumb, finger, elbow and knuckle pressure are used on over 90 specific acupressure points on the back, arms, hands, neck, head and legs. It is carried out with the client fully clothed and sitting in an ergonomically designed chair and takes between 15 to 30 minutes. On site massage is therefore one of the most effective, convenient and popular therapies particularly in the Corporate sector. This helps to stimulate and balance the flow of energy throughout the body in turn stimulating the circulatory, muscular, nervous, immune and lymphatic systems. It promotes the release of endorphins and important mood regulating neurotransmitters which leaves the client feeling relaxed but energised and alert. It also helps reduce muscle tension in the upper body by concentrating on those areas most affected by prolonged repetitive activity.

Benefits to the employer

  • improves staff health, energy and performance
  • demonstrates genuine commitment for the welfare of your employees
  • improves productivity and concentration
  • reduces sickness absence
  • creates a healthier and happier workforce
  • is affordable

Benefits to your employees

  • relieves stress, tension, anxiety and irritability
  • increases energy levels and helps boost the immune system
  • promotes a sense of well-being
  • lowers blood pressure
  • reduces stiffness, muscle tension and improves flexibility
  • reduces and prevents repetitive strain injury

An American Study, recently published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, looked at the “feasibility of chair massage during the work hours of nurses in inpatient and outpatient settings and its effect on stress-related symptoms.” Thirty-eight nurses, ranging in age from 21 to 65 years, each received a 15 minute chair massage once a week for ten weeks. These treatments were specifically tailored by three massage therapists to suit the individual’s needs.

The participants were assessed at five and then ten weeks for overall quality of life, levels of stress, anxiety, and symptoms relating to anxiety. The results demonstrated that stress and anxiety related symptoms improved for all 38 participants at five weeks and further at ten weeks. Those nurses working a 12 hour shift (rather than those working 8 hour shifts) reported considerable benefits from massages between week five and week ten. Thirty-five of the 38 participants (92%) gave positive feedback about chair massage in relation to improved sleep, a reduction in pain, headaches, tension and stress. 70% felt it had improved their overall job satisfaction, and 60% suggested they would be willing to pay for short chair massage sessions if these were made available in the workplace.

The researchers concluded that “offering chair massage for nurses in a psychiatric unit or a pain rehabilitation unit during work hours – although challenging because of busy clinical schedules – reduced stress-related symptoms significantly and was highly appreciated by the nurses.”

Source: International Therapist Magazine, Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT). Issue 103 January 2013

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