Chair Massage

Benefits of Chair Massage

Chair Massage keeps illness down, productivity up

  • Research indicates that a 15-minute chair massage results in decreased stress, increased alertness and increased speed & accuracy on math computations. (1)
  • Office workers massaged regularly were more alert, performed better and were less stressed than those who weren't massaged. (1)
  • Over 50% of lost work days are stress related which keeps about 1 million people per day from attending work. (2)
  • Health care expenditures are nearly 50% greater for workers who report high levels of stress. (3)
  • 40% of job turnover is due to stress. (4)

1. Field, Ironson, Pickens et al. (1996). Massage therapy reduces anxiety and enhances EEG pattern of alertness and math computations.International Journal of Neuroscience 86, 197-205 2.Occupational Health and Safety news and the National Council on compensation Insurance (U.S.A.) 3..Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 4. American Institute of Stress

Chair Massage Research 

Massage reducing anxiety and improving alertness

There are now a number of research papers demonstrating the beneficial effects of massage therapy in relation to the physiological and psychological aspects of stress (see ALTERNATIVES in healthTM Vol 1;2 and Vol 1:5) and the latest controlled study conducted at the Touch Research Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine, Florida, USA shows once again that massage therapy has an important role to play in the alleviation of stress and stress-induced illnesses.

 In the study two times every week for five weeks, twenty-six adults were given a chair massage and twenty four adults were asked to relax in the massage chair for 15 minutes to be used as controls.

On the first and last days of the study all of the participants were monitored for EEG, before, during and after the sessions. In addition, before and after the sessions they performed math computations, they completed POMS Depression and State Anxiety Scales and they pro-vided a saliva sample for cortisol.

At the beginning of the sessions they completed Life Events, Job Stress and Chronic POMS Depression Scales. The results revealed the following:

  1. Frontal delta power increased for both groups, suggesting relaxation;
  2. The massage group showed de-creased frontal alpha and beta power (suggesting enhanced alertness); while the control group showed increased alpha and beta power;
  3. The massage group showed in-creased speed and accuracy on math computations while the control group did not change;
  4. Anxiety levels were lower following the massage but not the control sessions, although mood state was less depressed following both the massage and control sessions;
  5. Salivary cortisol levels were lower following the massage but not the control sessions but only on the first day; and
  6. At the end of the 5 week period, depression scores were lower for both groups but job stress score were lower only for the massage group.

This small-scale study suggests that massage therapy offers benefits in not just alleviating the physiological effects of anxiety, but also in improving mental alertness.

Field T; lronson G; Scafjdi F; Nawrocki T; Goncalves A; Burman I; Pickens J; Fox N; Schanberg 5; Kuhn C.Massage therapy reduces anxiety and enhances EEG pattern of alertness and math computations. mi Neurosci (ENGLAND) Sep 1996,86 (3-4) p197-205.

Further reading: Massage Therapy by Adam Jackson (published by Vermilion)

Massage therapy and stress management

The mind, which before massage is in a perturbed, restless, vacillating and -even despondent state, becomes after massage, calm, quiet, peaceful and subdued; in fact, the wearied and worried mind has been converted into a mind restful, placid, and refreshed.

~ Dr Stretch Dowse, Eminent Victorian Physician, 1887

Stress is a subject about which the general public is becoming increasingly aware. It seems that every day a new study is reported in the press or medical journals relating stress to one disease or another. Some physicians suggest that stress may be responsible for 75 per cent of all diseases in the Western world including skin diseases (e.g., psoriasis and eczema), headaches and migraine, digestive disorders, high blood pressure and heart-related diseases, as well as back-ache and muscle pain, poor eyesight and depression.

As the world in which we live becomes increasingly stressful both physically and emotionally we are left with two choices; either we avoid stress, or we learn how to deal with it effectively. It is, of course, impossible to avoid stress, and therefore the only real solution is to find ways to manage the stresses and strains we encounter each day. One way is the use of massage therapy.

Zhu S, Wang N, Wang D, Wang M, Tong K, Xu H, Wang J, Li Q, Peng J, Wang J, Jianye District TCM Hospital, Nanjing.

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