Corporate massage has become somewhat commonplace recently; however many employers are still find themselves unaware of the benefits this type of massage therapy can provide their staff. Chair massage has been shown in countless studies to reduce the tension and overall stress levels of recipients, as well as increasing alertness, competency, speed and accuracy.
In a study published in The Complimentary Therapies in Clinical Practice Journal, nursing staff who were provided with 15 minute chair massages once weekly over the course of five weeks showed lowered anxiety and stress levels afterwords. (According to the Mean Perceived Stress Scale, Smith Anxiety Scale, Linear Analog Self-Assessment Scale and the Symptom Visual Analog Scale.)
In a similar study published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 18 people from various offices were provided with 15 minute weekly chair massages. Another group of 15 people received an an extra 15 minute weekly break instead. The data provided by this study showed a significant reduction in the stress and anxiety levels of the group who received the massage therapy, while the “extra break” control group showed little to no change.
One of the lesser known effects of massage therapy is its ability to enhance alertness and sharpen mental faculties. The Miami School of Medicine took 26 participants and provided them with 15 minute chair massages twice a week for five weeks while a control group of 24 participants were asked to just relax in the massage chair for the same period of time.
On the first and last days of the study, participants perfumed mathematical computations and cognitive tests, were tested for the stress hormone cortisol and were monitored by EEG (the recording of electrical activity along the scalp). While both groups displayed an increase in relaxation, the massage therapy group additionally showed enhanced alertness, an increase in mathematical speed/accuracy and a reduction in the stress hormone cortisol. The control group showed little to no change for alertness, mathematical computation or stress levels.
As an employer, you might be wondering what this means to you. It’s an accepted fact that stress and anxiety frequently lead to lower productivity. Employees who are less stressed are proven to have not only a higher work output, but an increase in their efficiency. These studies show time and time again, that even short durations of massage therapy can have a powerful effect on stress and anxiety.