Why Massaged Employees are Happier Employees
and Your Boss Should Know It!

By Kelly Metz-Matthews, Staff Writer

Image courtesy of Pure Zen Therapy

I had a massage in the middle of the workday yesterday. Hortensia, our in-office massage therapist, provided me a 15-minute respite from the chaos that is, occasionally, my life. Of course, I could have been sitting at my desk, slamming through my ever-growing to-do list. But, the truth is that I was getting sluggish. A headache had begun its dull throb against my temples and my eyes, after six hours focused on the computer screen, were going glassy. I needed a break. Thanks to our corporate massage program, I got one. And I’ll tell you what, I came back to my desk reenergized and ready to crank out the rest of my work. So, thank you, Hortensia. You’re the best.

What Massage Actually Does

If you aren’t a regular massage client, let me take a moment to tout the benefits of massage generally. If you are getting massage already, I suspect none of this will be new to you. But, just for fun, read on.

Studies have repeatedly shown that massage, amongst other forms of touch therapy, lowers stress. More specifically, one recent Cedars-Sinai study showed that moderate-pressure Swedish massage decreases stress hormones and increases white blood cells. What does that mean exactly? It means that massage boosts the immune system. Other studies have found that massage lowers blood pressure and increases serotonin. Serotonin, incidentally, acts as a natural antidepressant. Not bad, eh?

The list goes on. Google “benefits of massage” and you’ll find yourself inundated with articles, studies, and blogs, many based purely on science—not the junk kind, but the university kind.

What Massage Actually Does

Image courtesy of eHow

Why Employers Should Care

Wondering what this has to do with work? A lot, actually. Work is a pretty major factor in our daily stress levels. Even for those of us who love our jobs, work can – and usually does – involve deadlines, pressure to perform, and frustrating learning curves. And let’s not forget that work environments, by their very nature, require that people work together who might not normally associate with one another. Can you say personality clash? I can. We all know how disastrous those can be.

How, though, do we combat stress? Isn’t it a natural part of life and, thusly, of work environments? Sure. But stress can be alleviated, at least in part. This, friends, is where massage comes in. As you now know, massage helps decrease stress levels and acts as an immune booster. What you might not know is how stress-free, healthy employees benefit their organizations. No worries, I’m going to tell you.

According to research, improved employee health can:

  • Increase productivity
  • Lessen absenteeism
  • Decrease health insurance claims
  • Improve workplace morale

It’s hard to imagine any organization that wouldn’t want to do any one of the aforementioned, let alone all four of them. By offering employees ways to decrease their stress levels, employers benefit both their employees individually and their organizations as a whole.

You don’t have to be a mathematician, accountant, or even particularly business savvy to know the potential savings opportunities in decreased absenteeism, for example. Maybe, however, you’re just a mean business owner for whom workplace morale isn’t particularly important. Of course, I hope you aren’t really mean, but for argument’s sake, let’s pretend employee morale isn’t high on your priority list. Well, I’d encourage you to reconsider the importance of morale. Ask any human resources manager how much employee turnover costs and you’ll get an earful. It costs money to hire and train new employees. It costs a lot of money, in fact. Happy employees are worth their weight in gold. Happy and skilled employees are priceless.

Why Employers Should Care

Image courtesy of American Massage Therapy Association

Massage and Wellness Programs

Like the idea of bringing massage to the workplace, but not sure how to implement it? Fear not, there are a slew of resources at your disposal. Across the nation, companies (big and small) have implemented massage and wellness programs. Use them as examples. See what they are doing right (and wrong), and pitch a few ideas.

Contrary to popular belief, these programs don’t necessarily require huge upfront costs on the part of businesses. In a recent article on employee perks at Google, for example, Jonathan Strickland explains that Google employees have access to a subsidized (yes, subsidized) massage program. “For a small fee, [employees] can receive a massage from a licensed therapist in a private room.” Even if they have to pay for the massage on their own, as I do in my workplace, its accessibility to employees is monumentally important. By making it convenient, Google and other companies are facilitating wellness-oriented opportunities for their employees. They are making massage attainable.

We all have outside lives and responsibilities. I’m a working mother of two, a wife, and a student. As much as I try to make time for myself, it’s just not always feasible. My life is a perpetual game of catch-up, of play-dates, laundry I left in the dryer, and groceries I need to pick up on my way home from the office. By bringing massage to me, even if I have to pay for it, my company has offered me a gift. They have helped fit wellness into my life. These days, I have a 15-minute massage on my breaks at work two or three times a week. I come back to my desk refreshed, reenergized, and healthier. We are, I assure you, all the better for that.

Massage and Wellness Programs

Massage Room at Google: Courtesy of Brio Daily

The Long and Short

Have I convinced you? I hope so. If I haven’t, take a few minutes to do a little research on your own. And, by research, I recommend you treat yourself to a massage. If you’re lucky, you can expense it as R&D.

Sources:

http://computer.howstuffworks.com/googleplex3.htm
http://www.oprah.com/health/The-Health-Benefits-of-Massage
http://www.workplace-wellness-massage.com/stress-in-the-workplace.html
http://briodaily.com.au/2012/05/google-incentives-and-looking-after-your-staff/relaxation-massage-room-in-google-office/
http://pztherapy.com/page_3.html
http://www.ehow.com/facts_4914605_benefits-being-massage-therapist.html
http://www.amtamassage.org/articles/3/MTJ/detail/1613

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