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employee benefits of massage

What Are Some Healthy Solutions for Muscle Tension in the Workplace?

Corrected ergonomics and posture, combined with massage therapy will relieve muscle tension, headaches and joint pain, leaving you refreshed and rejuvenated from the experience.

Options for ergonomics have improved over the years, driven by the need for repetitive stress injury (RSI) prevention. Ergonomics focuses on setting up the workplace so you maintain a neutral and more relaxed position. This could include the use of specialized and adjustable chairs, a lumbar support cushion or sitting on a rubber ball. Sometimes the use of a wrist pad has been helpful for people who use the keyboard a lot. Periodically changing the type of computer mouse, the arm used for this and occasional breaks will help avoid RSI.

What is the Relaxation Response?

The antidote to stress is known as the "relaxation response," which is triggered by the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system. This action sends a message to the body to relax, slow down and take a deep breath; saying in effect, "it's time for rest and healing."

There are a number of ways to promote this response, such as exercise, meditation, listening to calming music, guided visualization, biofeedback, and of course, therapeutic massage.

Massage stimulates the relaxation response, muscle tension is released, circulation is increased and sensory receptors are activated. And areas tht have been "cut off" by accumulated stress can now begin to feel once again. Massage teaches us to tune into body signals and soothes us at the same time.

All of this results in greater body awareness which can help you to more carefully monitor your own body's responses and needs. Then you can release tension before it becomes chronic and damaging. Living in a more relaxed and balanced body will enable you to better handle the stresses in your life, and nothing can take you back to that state of well-being more quickly than massage.

In the Spring 1994 issue of Massage Therapy Journal, Rich Phaigh, a massage therapist studying the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal pain, writes, "Massage therapy on a regular basis, combined with proper ergonomic assessment and positioning in the workplace, could prevent the vast majority of RSI of the upper extremities." Phaigh points out many massage therapists are well versed in the proper alignment of human structure, proper ranges of motion and fascial release techniques.

Other healthy habbits?

Join a health club that encourages stretching and healthy awareness. Work with a trainer, to become familiar with the equipment and to get on a workout program. However, it needs to be one that works for you, one that you enjoy enough to continue with.

Would you rather work out on your own?

Walking, hiking, biking and running are all great for fitness and stress relief. There are plenty of videos available now for Yoga, Pilates, weight training, belly dancing and meditation... you name it. Pick one up and give it a shot. Always start s-l-o-w-l-y and be aware that the instructor on the video is a professional with several years experience and flexibility. Don't ever push into pain unless you are in great shape. Even then, it should be done slowly, without jerking or forcing. Let pain and soreness be your guide for the next workout effort. 1-2 days soreness is ok, 3 or more means you should cut back some.

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