Why Workplace Massage?
Can’t people just go get a massage somewhere else, like a spa, where they can fully relax and not have to go back to work?
The duration of chair massage is so short – would it even make a dent in my stress level?
In this blog, I will address not only why is it important for the workplace to invest in wellness services, but why is it precisely in the workplace that they must be offered.
First, a little bit of history…
When I first got introduced to upper body chair massage in a massage school (1998… eeek), many of the students and I were excited to bring massage out into the open. Its portability would make massage more visible to the public; it was going to be an amazing marketing tool for our main, full-body massage practice.
After completing the certification program, I went straight for completing another certification focused on chair massage. The program was TouchPro Institute, founded by David Palmer, known as the “father of chair massage” for his invention of the massage chair. It is there, that I discovered the power of upper body chair massage and the difference it can make within as little as 10 minutes.
My whole perception and intention of seated massage changed after that exposure. Contrary to a popular notion that a 10-minute massage was just a “teaser”, I learned that it was a whole and complete session with a beginning, a middle and an end with nothing missing (think short story versus a chapter of a book). It was not a quick-fix for a specific problem, but simply a tool to help people feel the difference which overall circulation makes. It relaxed the recipients while invigorating them, still awake and alert. Chair massage was one of its own thing, in its own right, with purpose and…a niche.
Enter workplace massage:
It made complete sense to offer this type of massage in the workplace; this pick-me-up session didn’t sedate people, but energized them, it relieved stress and alleviated pain, it could be quickly and easily set up and performed, and efficiently targeted the most common problem areas without aggressively treating them.
Many are bound to their desks, sitting almost motionless for hours on end. This is enough to create tension in their body and make them feel groggy. Over time, this repetitive stress will eventually cause injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome and neck/back/shoulder issues. Adding the stresses of working conditions, management style, relationships and impossible demands, the workplace could be a breeding ground for chronic stress and sickness. Without some kind of workplace wellness program, employees would need to resort for finding time outside of work to manage their stress (and sanity), which could mean waking up at 5 am to exercise at the gym, or schedule a weekly massage at a spa (which could get very expensive). It is precisely in the workplace that a wellness program must be offered.
If you are a full-time worker, you may very well be spending most of your waking hours at work, with your co-workers; for some, I dare to say more than their significant others (not counting sleeping time). Some report putting in 60 hours a week! It is essential that an environment in which you spend so much of your time should be peaceful and harmonious. The state of relaxation is where most of the creativity and good decision-making happens. It allows for collaboration and engagement. Under stress, our prefrontal cortex of the brain shuts down and our decisions are made in haste (makes waste!), ultimately making us ineffective and unproductive. In the survey we conducted on our customers in 2013, many said that they felt “at peace” and pain-free after a session. I’ve also overheard a customer, while returning to her office after a chair massage session, announce to her two colleagues, “ok, I’m nicer now!” This is the kind of impact a short, 10-20 minute massage can have.