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    Thumbs up Coffe Break Relaxation

    Rubbed the right way. 'Coffee break' massages ease tense muscles at the office

    Irene Seiberling, Canwest News Service Published: Thursday, September 18, 2008

    Work is one of the top sources of stress. No surprise there. Workplace stress costs the economy billions. According to Statistics Canada, the annual cost of work time lost to stress stands at $12 billion.

    So it's little wonder that interest in stress reduction techniques is increasing among both employers and employees.

    Adam Smith is hoping to cash in on the growing demand for stress relief at work. The 25-year-old Regina-based massage therapist offers 15-minute, in-office massages.

    At $1 per minute -- so $15 for a 15-minute coffee break massage -- it's an affordable option for time-crunched employees, who can't fit a full body massage at a spa into their schedule.

    "If you have to get Suzie to soccer and Billy to hockey, there's no time after work to pop out for a massage," Smith said. "(With an in-office massage) people don't have to leave their building. So it's really, really convenient."

    Smith transports his collapsible massage chair in a large, custom-made black bag. He only needs a four-foot-by-four-foot space to set up.

    "I just need a quiet corner of the office that is private, so people can come and relax," he said. "Often, I set up in an empty office, or a board room, or a staff room if it's quiet enough."

    In-office massages differ from spa massages in several ways. Firstly, in-office massages are much shorter -- 15 minutes, compared with a typical spa massage, which lasts half an hour to one hour. And because they're shorter, in-office massages cost less -- $15, compared with $45 or more for longer sessions.

    And unlike spa massages, clients don't undress for an in-office massage. And no oils are used.

    "It's a very modest massage," Smith pointed out.

    Music is played to relax clients. "Whichever kind of music they like," he said. His iPod features everything from spa music to country to rock. "And if they're not really enjoying the music, we can easily switch it over," he said.

    On-site massages are relatively new to centres like Regina, Smith said, but they are already quite popular in larger centres like Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa.

    The biggest challenge he currently faces is getting people to open up to the idea of having massages in the workplace, Smith said.

    "At first, some people are a little standoffish about having a massage at work," he said. "But as soon as they have them, they realize that it's a really beneficial program.

    "They realize 'that was really easy, took no time away from me, and I feel a lot better afterward.' And it's fairly affordable, as well, especially if there's a health benefits plan that they can receive their full money back."

    In-office massages can be used to work on specific areas that have been bothering a person -- such as the neck, back or shoulders.

    "We work on a lot of the muscles that are in a little bit of a tighter state due to a lot of computer work or desk work," Smith explained.

    "For example, if your neck is really sore today, it's good to get in there. Fifteen minutes and I send them back to work, hopefully not having to go through the rest of their work day holding their shoulder, trying to move their mouse."

    Smith recommends people go for a massage once a month -- either at a spa or at work -- "to keep good maintenance on the body."

    At the end of an in-office massage, Smith shows clients stretches they can do at their desk -- two stretches per side that are held for 30 seconds each. "So I tell people when I'm not here, on your coffee break, take those two minutes to stretch. A nice habit -- like waking up and brushing your teeth," he said. "If everyone stretched at the office, they wouldn't need me any more," Smith said.

    Smith said when he visits an office he tends to end up doing more massages than he had originally intended on doing.

    "It happens almost every time I go. Sometimes you have to turn business away, which is never good," he said. "But I guess you always leave them wanting more."

    Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008


    This article was posted as an informative concept (like most of my news articles are intended) for alterntatives to medications - although consult with your family physician is recommended of course.
    Last edited by MalahatTwo7; 09-22-2008 at 12:51 PM. Reason: Undeleted the deleted - communications problem.

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    now... how much for an in-office massage happy ending?
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