20th May 2021
When was the last time you had a massage?
While the image of a massage may conjure up ideas of excess and luxury, there lies a whole lot of great benefits to having a massage chair in your office.
Not only do massage chairs help to tenderise any aching muscles (especially for the office football team who might be a bit sore from their weekly games and losses) but the sentiment of relaxation is important for mental health too. The presence of a designated office massage chair helps communicate that you take your team’s wellbeing seriously and believe in the power of keeping stress levels at a minimum.
Need more convincing?
Here are three key benefits of having an office massage chair.
- Loosen Up Your Muscles
Let’s face it. The human body was never designed to sit, staring in front of a screen for a continuous eight hours per day. Thanks to modern ergonomic design, our chairs help our spines to stay erect while using a large desktop screen ensures our necks don’t strain.
However, sometimes, it’s not quite enough. Muscles retain tension from a long day. A series of meetings might have you craning your neck to see the screen. Perhaps you work in a physically demanding job, moving items all day.
Whatever the situation, physical tension can be a real issue for workers across New Zealand.
According to ACC’s data from September 2019 to August 2020, the most common factor behind workplace injury resulting in more than a week away from work was muscular strain from carrying or moving heavy objects. Furthermore, the fourth most common factor was muscular strain with no objects being handled - that is, just general strain likely from poor posture or muscle tension.
It goes without saying that straining our muscles causes more than just headaches: our businesses also suffer from losing thousands of dollars when an employee needs time off work to recover from an injury, in both lost time and ACC levies.
A massage chair is a proactive solution. We can target the issue before it manifests into a larger problem - with a 10-minute massage in the workplace massage chair each day.
- Improve that posture
A quick, 10-minute daily massage will loosen your muscles and will result in improving your posture - keep your spine straight with your shoulders back. Good posture is a must for keeping your spine strong and healthy and comes with a range of benefits.
Ensuring that you’re sitting with your feet flat on the floor, with your weight evenly distributed, and shoulders lowered and back helps you to reduce muscle fatigue and improve your body’s circulation and digestion. Maintaining good posture helps your muscles to work as they’re supposed to, saving extra energy for other key bodily functions.
Not only does good posture keep your body in check, but keeping your shoulders back has the added bonus of creating an aura of confidence and self-assurance when you interact with others.
- Reduce Stress
A 10-minute daily break on the office massage chair is just the ticket for a quick midday wind-down. Knowing that you can focus on your breathing and relaxing your body in the middle of any kind of stressful day helps reduce the impact stress can have on our body.
Taking time to rest can help speed up your subsequent productivity, especially as a physical massage helps to increase blood circulation to the brain. With more oxygen pumping through your body, you boost your ability to problem-solve and think critically.
Furthermore, regular interventions that deregulate your physical stress reactions help reduce chances of burnout.
The biology behind chronic stress is fascinating. The autonomic nervous system (ANS), composed of two key systems, is our automatic system that regulates important automatic bodily functions, such as heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure. If the brain perceives a threat of any kind, the sympathetic nervous system kicks in - aka fight or flight - pumping cortisol through the body, raising the heart rate, increasing alertness, and burning up glucose for immediate energy.
By contrast, rest and recovery happen under the parasympathetic nervous system - aka ‘rest and digest’ system - where everything regulates again, calming the body back to equilibrium once more.
These systems historically have helped us against the immediate threats of predators or conflict. With little time for decision-making, the sympathetic nervous system prepares our body for immediate action. However, in a modern-day context, remaining in this state chronically is unhealthy for the body. We’re designed for short bursts of adrenaline, followed by adequate recovery.
In fact, this explains why we often crave sugary, glucose-dense food when under the pump at work.
An overactive sympathetic nervous system has dire long-term consequences, from burnout to chronic heart conditions, chronic fatigue, Type ll diabetes, and puts us at higher risk of developing obesity (affecting our appetite and eating patterns).
Where does a massage chair fit in?
In short, prescribing at least 10-minutes of recovery time in your day, to give your body the chance to settle into a parasympathetic nervous system functional state is critical for avoiding burnout.
In a ‘rest and digest’ state, everything becomes easier. Our sleep reaps the benefits, while our ability to cope with a greater scope of tasks every day strengthens.
If you’ve needed a persuasive argument to introduce a massage chair to your office, look no further.
It’s a simple solution for a long-term issue that plagues many offices worldwide - muscle pain and strain. Introducing a massage chair to the workplace is an easy way to keep everyone's bodies in check while simultaneously keeping stress levels at a manageable level.
It also doesn't hurt that a massage just feels good!