Health and Fitness

Chair Massage and Improved Ergonomics to Prevent RSI in the Workplace

If you are reading this article, it is safe to say that you spend a significant amount of time in front of the computer. What you might not be aware of is that spending several hours each day at a poorly designed workspace can be a contributing factor in developing Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI). RSI is a condition that is caused by repeated strain and overuse of a specific part of the body. RSI commonly affects the upper body and causes chronic pain and inflammation of the muscles and tendons of the neck, shoulders, back, forearms, wrists and hands.

Recently, a study conducted by Microsoft found that the reported cases of RSI increased by 30% in the past year and estimated that businesses lost $600 million in lost productivity. One of the major factors cited was the increasing number of 'mobile workers', or those who work from laptops or mobile devices for more than one hour per day. Poor posture and technique are common culprits and if left untreated, RSI can cause weakness, numbness and impaired motor control of the affected area, sometimes resulting in surgical correction. There are also less obvious factors that can contribute to developing this painful condition. It has been noted that using a computer for more than four hours per day without taking frequent breaks increased the likelihood of developing RSI. The effects of poor posture and incorrect typing techniques are compounded and this could explain why carpal tunnel syndrome is becoming more prevalent among office workers. Working in a high stress environment and not getting enough sleep are also issues to contend with. Stress combined with physical inactivity leads to muscle atrophy and weakened muscle fibers are more prone to injury.

Chances are, most professionals have more than one risk factor for developing a repetitive stress injury, and luckily, there is an economical tool that companies can use to aid in prevention and treatment of this increasingly prevalent condition. Massage therapy has been shown to effectively reduce pain and help to prevent injuries associated with RSI. Therapeutic massage stretches and elongates muscles and helps to heal torn and damaged fibers by breaking up scar tissue. Massage reduces compression and increases circulation, which allows for better nutrition and more effective removal of toxins held within the tissues. Traditional massage may not be an option for many busy professionals but there is a convenient alternative known as chair massage.

Chair massage bestows the same benefits as traditional massage, but can be performed on-site and in a fraction of the time. Chair massage is ideal for workplace environments because the chair is easily set up and requires very little space. An empty corner or unused office or cubicle can be transformed into a retreat. The unique design of the massage chair opens the back muscles while providing complete support to the head and neck A session lasts as long as an average coffee break and since no oils are used, clients remain fully dressed.

Companies that offer workplace massage report lower turnover, decreased absenteeism and increased staff productivity. Employees report feeling less pain, are more focused and have a more positive attitude. With workloads and time spent in the office on the rise, chair massage is a service that companies can offer to help reduce workplace injury and contribute to the overall health of their workforce.

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