The Psychological Benefits of Touch

Massage - Touch

Massage

is often thought of as a way to relax and unwind – And it is! But did you know there is a vital psychological component to massage as well? Touch is one of the most important cues human beings need to be able to form relationships, cooperate with one another and be healthier, too.

Touch is often overlooked and under-appreciated in our society. Many people are spread out and they remain in their homes more than before, communicating via smartphones and computer screens, instead of having face to face conversations and being close to one another. There is an emphasis for people to have a wide berth of personal space and not touch anyone else. But science is proving that human beings need touch more than they think. In fact, it seems to be imperative to good emotional and physical well-being.

The sad conditions of Romania’s orphanages from the 1960’s to the 1980’s is an example of how bad things can get when babies and infants are not held. During those years, contraception became restricted, abortions were outlawed and childless couples were taxed, in hopes of boosting the population, but over one hundred thousand children ended up in understaffed state run institutions because they could not be cared for. There was one nurse to over 20 infants and as a result, these infants did not get touched often. The psychological effects were astounding. They were void of expression, could not form bonds with others, and had issues so severe that many of them remain in institutions as adults.

When infants are touched often, it increases oxytocin levels in the brain and also seems to activate growth, attachment and response. When infants are not touched, the results are usually disastrous. They do not perform well cognitively, they do not form relationships and they are oftentimes disturbed. But it’s not just infants. When adults who are otherwise of sound mind and body get put into isolation, they quickly unravel and become disoriented, agitated and prone to hallucinations. We need human contact to be mentally healthy.

Where does touch come into all of this? One might think, sure we need some friends but why the emphasis on touch, specifically? Because scientific studies have parsed out touch versus socialization and discovered touch may be more important to well-being than socializing, alone.

For instance, When 20 premature infants were transferred to a normal care nursery, they were given ten minutes of touch therapy and stimulation three times a day. Compared to the other babies, they gained 47% more weight per day and scored higher on alertness and motor coordination tests. They were tested at eight months and twelve months, as well, and the benefits were still apparent. [1]

Infants aren’t the only ones who benefit from touch. When adolescent HIV patients were given massage therapy with their treatment, they reported less anxiety and depression, but also had an increased white blood cell count and immune response, compared to the ones who did not receive massage. [2] Some studies suggest the simple act of hugging other people can boost our own immune response. [3] Because of this, touch is starting to gain traction in nurseries and with the elderly, who are less sick and depressed if they receive massage. In fact, some programs pair elderly people with orphaned babies, for cuddle sessions and care, to their mutual benefit.

Human beings are social creatures. We depend on one another and need close relationships more than many of us would like to admit. Even more so, we need intrapersonal touch. Perhaps not everyone has a circle of friends, family, and lovers to fill that need. Long days at work, relocations, and digital communication seem to be pulling us all away from the tighter, tribal circles we once had. But this doesn’t have to be the way we live. Reach out and touch the people around you, visit people who may be lonely, volunteer to cradle infants, or get a massage on a regular basis. Studies show it will make you happier, healthier, and smarter.

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Chair Massage for Conventions

A welcome sight!

Conventions and Trade Shows are often places of high tension, stress, and exhaustion. Not only are they exciting and fast-paced, but also often concentrate a great deal of industry-specific information within a limited space and time span. Many conventions also take place “out of town” and by the time attendees are on-site they may still be adjusting to a different time-zone, hotel room, and local dining options. Well, these are your target audience, and your mission is to capture their attention and hold it as long as possible.

Few things will stop a conventioner dead in their tracks like the sight of an open massage chair. Even a short line won’t discourage them from daydreaming about taking a load off their feet and getting some relaxing bodywork. And of course, if they see our logo behind the chair, they’ll know you mean business. Standing in line for us means standing in front of your booth or display. And since standing in line can be a bore, a natural curiosity about your company or product will arise.

The chair is the hook and our therapists are the bait. We don’t mind because we’re in the fortunate position of helping out both your booth, and the people visiting it. If you’re setting up near a bigger, flashier competitor, go ahead and see what a couple of ZEN chairs can do to even the odds!

We Arrive Ready To Work: Give us a time, place and contact information and we’ll be there with chairs and smiles ready to do what we do best.
We Stay At Our Posts: Our therapists stay to do what they come to do. Even if traffic is slow, even if you’re not there. If we are a part of your booth and a part of the image you are projecting to prospective clients, we will not let you down.
We Help You Sell: Our therapists are friendly, open and can engage people from a non-threatening, neutral position. We can even wear your company logo.
We Keep The Chairs Rockin: We bring in relief therapists. Conventions and trade show can be grueling, with non-stop intensity and fatigue wearing on everyone as the day rolls on. We like to have a fresh set of hands at the chairs every few hours to maintain our quality of service.

Don’t underestimate the power of what our chairs can accomplish. We have seen it many times. An exhibitor spends a fortune on a glitzy display which might fascinate people, but the effect of which is diminished with repeated exposure. With our chairs, the later in the day it gets, the better they look, and the longer the lines get. How long will the average person stand in line to speak with your booth staff? We’ve had people waiting up to an hour for a 5 minute run in one of our chairs. That’s an hour spent standing in front of your booth, an hour of exposure to your marketing and media material. And by the time we’re done with them they are relaxed, smiling and flooded with endorphins. Go get em!

Our Standards of Service

Here’s what YOU get from Zen Massage

We strive to give you the best quality and value for each wellness dollar you invest in us. When we are your wellness partners we worry about only one thing, and that is the health and well-being of your employees.

Our service packages always include the following:

Licensed, Professional Therapists: While all of our therapists are licensed and certified, we also require significant experience and knowledge from everyone who wears our logo and stands behind our chairs. Friendly, knowledgeable, experienced and professional staff are the hallmark of our service and brand.

Dedicated Staff: We understand the value of a relationship. It is not reasonable to expect your employees to adjust to a different set of hands every time they get in the chair and is just as unfair to expect our therapists to have the full scope of each of your employee’s physical condition, past injury, range of motion, flexibility, and physiology if we keep changing your therapists. This is why we make every effort to develop long-term relationships between our staff and yours. To establish trust, knowledge and respect in your company for what we do and what we are there for.

Superior Equipment: We will always provide everything necessary to perform our full scope of service. This includes the best massage chairs in the world (Earthlite Avilla II), disposable face rest covers, sanitizing products, even music to listen to.

Regular Schedules: If we are scheduled, we’ll be there; on time, and ready to work. A regular schedule helps employees plan their chair-time around their day and reserve chair-time in advance to guarantee that everyone gets a chance to utilize our service.

Easy, Straightforward, Sensible Pricing: We do not sell massage in bulk. Each of our therapists works just as hard for every minute they are behind a chair. Their job does not get easier with more hours, in fact, quite the contrary. So why should they earn any less? We can not, in good conscience, place a lower value on their work just because they do more of it. In order to provide the type of service we ourselves would demand, we ask for one consistent rate for every hour of work.

In-House Clinics: While on-site chair massage is highly effective at alleviating localized muscle tension and workplace stress, it is not adequate to treat injuries, musculoskeletal conditions, or chronic structural issues which require extended bodywork on a table. Our massage clinics are available to treat what chair massage can not. The benefit of a referral is that our on-site therapist can provide our clinic with information about your employee’s condition which the employee may not have the anatomical knowledge to adequately describe. This type of referral can help our in-house clinician assemble a client history to help target our therapy more precisely and with much more positive effect.

Flexible Or Fixed-Term Agreements: Adding ZEN as part of your company wellness program couldn’t be easier. We have both short and long-term agreements available and can augment our staff to your changing needs.

We understand the importance of workplace health and the value of a low-stress environment for increased productivity and long-term job satisfaction. Every time one of our therapists enters your place of business, our reputation is on the line, and we do not leave our reputation to chance. If at any time, for any reason, you are not satisfied with the service we are providing, let us know and we’ll make it right!

Benefits of Chair Massage

Probably the largest determining factor of the effectiveness of a company wellness program is employee participation. Many companies are abandoning wellness initiatives due to the low enrollment and utilization (some as low as 8%) as employees are expected to make an effort off the clock, on their own time. Time which is getting increasingly scarce and precious. The sad truth is, many companies are cutting back on wellness spending not because the cost is too high, but simply because they are not seeing the ROI. And if you, as a sensible decision maker, do not see immediate, quantifiable results, any investment you made towards the health and wellbeing of your staff is in jeopardy.

Why do so many wellness programs fail? Weather you negotiate discount corporate rates for gym memberships, or sponsor weight-loss contests, walk-a-thons or a company softball team, you’re asking your people to invest their personal time. The problem is people who lead a healthy lifestyle do not need a wellness program to motivate them, and those who do not, are consciously choosing a lifestyle which is not likely to adapt healhty habits just because their work encourages it “off the clock”. And of course, quantifiable results take time. You’re waiting (sometimes months) to see any decline in absenteeism from sick days, and you are still not doing anything to target stress where it hurts you the most: in the office.

So why do we beilieve in CHAIR MASSAGE? Because it feels good, requires no effort, and has immediate effect. The average chair station we set up gets over 80% utilization in high density personnel clusters.

OK, still not convinced? Take a read at the article below by Angela Higley:

Many organizations face the stiff challenge of attracting and retaining good employees, as the most valuable employees can often take their pick of excellent jobs due to their high qualifications. Whether your company uses chair massage through a regular employee wellness or benefits package, or as part of an incentive program, a chair massage program can be an asset to your human resource department and your company.

The number of organizations that offer massage therapy to lower stress and improve productivity is growing every year. A workplace massage therapy programs helps increase job satisfaction and create a caring environment that employees really appreciate. Corporate chair massage has quickly become one of the most popular and requested benefits in the workplace today. The physical demands of long hours at the computer and the high stress of the new marketplace have made all forms of work stress reduction increasingly necessary. A good chair massage reduces fatigue and tension for greater productivity and safety.

So just what is chair massage? Chair massage focuses on the upper body areas that often cause problems for people who sit at a desk or use a computer keyboard. Chair massage can help prevent or relieve carpal tunnel syndrome, tension headaches, neck pain, and back problems. This massage technique is performed in your normal work attire and requires no oils. Instead of using a table, the massage takes place in a specially designed portable massage chair provided by the massage therapist. Leaning forward in the chair allows you to relax completely with your head resting in a comfortable face cradle lined with a soft, disposable cloth cover. The therapist(s) will bring everything that they need, including massage equipment, supplies and music. All you need to provide is some quiet space and eager participants. Chair massage typically takes about 15, 20, or 30 minutes, no longer than a coffee break, but is far more effective!

Take a look below and ask yourself if any of these benefits could help you or your company

Reduce Stress: The overall session is designed to reduce physical as well as mental stress.
Increase Morale: Chair massage is an effective benefit that shows employees that your company cares about their mental and physical health.
Increase Resistance to Illness: Massage can help boost the immune system which helps prevent absenteeism. Decrease Repetitive Stress Symptoms: Problems like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis are examples of injuries associated with repetitive actions. This type of work leads to chronic tightness and physical injury. Chair massage helps to reduce this chronic muscle tightness and help to educate clients on correcting posture, stretches, and self-help.
Increases Flexibility: By reducing muscle tension and chronic tightness, your flexibility will increase tremendously.
Increase Range-of-Motion: Range of motion is decreased by chronic tension; massage can reduce tension and tightness, thereby increasing range of motion.
Reduce Muscle Soreness: Poor posture and chronic tension lead to soreness and pain. By reducing the tension through chair massage and educating your employees on posture, chair massage can help eliminate pain of this nature.
Reduce Anxiety: Sometimes our hectic lives take an emotional toll on our bodies which leads to physical problems. Massage sessions give an effective way for high stress people to take time out.

On-site chair massage is a cost-effective way of enhancing and improving your employees’ performance. Stress-related employee turnover, absenteeism and waning morale all affect the bottom line. Job stress and related problems cost companies an estimated $200 billion or more annually, based on information from the American Institute of Stress and the American Psychological Association. A chair massage program demonstrates an employer’s proactive commitment to the health and well being of their employees. Chair massage techniques measurably lower the day-to-day stress of the competitive workplace. Relaxed workers are more likely to cooperate with each other, and lowering stress lowers both anxiety and hostility, improving the work environment for everyone.

After offering corporate message services as part of an incentive program, Dave Joy, of Hannaford Brothers in Standish, Maine states: “We had very good associate response with [chair massage]. The associates enjoyed it and it made them feel good at work. It really made them aware of their health at work, too, so it was about more than feeling good for one day. Overall [chair massage] has been a really good experience for us.”

In addition to lowering stress and increasing productivity, massage can significantly improve employee problem solving abilities. A recent study in American Psychologist gave one group of workers a 15-minute rest, and another, a 15-minute massage. The group that received the massage performed significantly better on complicated tasks like math problems.

Massage also improves creative thinking and relieves fatigue. Massage can help keep employees healthy as well as happy and that is a great way to retain employees in your company.

Why Deep-Tissue Massage?

Why Deep-Tissue Massage?

massage-389716_1920If you’ve never had a deep-tissue massage, you may be wondering why you would choose this particular type of therapy. It can be a little uncomfortable as opposed to other types of massages such as a Swedish massage, so what are the benefits?

During a deep-tissue massage, a therapist will concentrate on deeper layers of the muscle. By using firm pressure and deeper strokes, the therapist stimulates blood flow and reduces inflammation, creating a viable treatment option for a variety of ailments.

Reduces Pain

Perhaps the most common condition deep-tissue massage is sought to relieve is chronic pain. Because inflammation is the source of most pain, this type of treatment can prove very effective. Loosening tightened muscles that often accompany the pain also helps to alleviate tension and strain.

Alleviates Depression

Often depression accompanies chronic pain, and deep-tissue massage will stimulate release of hormones that will positively affect the brain. Although most any type of massage will help with symptoms of depression, deep-tissue massage is thought to be most effective.

Improves the Appearance of Scars

Over time, deep tissue massage can effectively break down scar tissue and cause it to disintegrate entirely. If the scar tissue is internal, a deep-tissue massage will help to loosen the tissue to improve stiffness and pain.

Speeds Recovery

Because it does aid in the breaking down of scar tissue, it’s a much-recommended therapy for patients after surgery. It also stimulates lymphatic production, further improving flexibility and eliminating toxins from the body, aiding in quick recovery and rehabilitation. For this reason, it’s a popular treatment among body builders to speed muscle recovery times and prevent injury.

Alleviates Repetitive Strain Injury

Painful conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome can be relieved or prevented altogether with consistent deep tissue massage.

In Conclusion

All types of massage will benefit your body in some way, but deep-tissue massage is most recommended for the conditions listed above. For questions about what type of massage is right for you, feel free to give us a call. We can custom tailor a treatment plan to fit your particular needs.

Massage Therapy for Anxiety and Depression

Massage Therapy for Anxiety and Depression

People often turn to massage therapy to relieve stress because they realize the effects of releasing muscle tension and taking time to pamper their bodies. But what they may not realize is that there are physiological reasons that massage relieves stress. And these are the same reasons that massage can decrease depression.

In 1996, a study was conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine to determine the effects of massage therapy on anxiety. In this study, a group of adults were given chair massages for 15 minutes, 2 times a week.

Tests performed on the subjects showed increased frontal delta waves, proving relaxation, and decreased alpha and beta waves, suggesting a decrease in anxious thoughts.

At the end of the study, which lasted 5 weeks, the group’s depression scores were much lower than they were at the beginning.

There are a couple of reasons massage therapy is useful in treating more than muscle tension.

A main factor in anxiety is cortisol. Cortisol is released for various reasons, but when your stress increases, so do your cortisol levels. And when your cortisol levels increase, so does your stress.

See why stress is such a vicious cycle?

Massage therapy is beneficial to getting you off the cycle by decreasing cortisol levels. Once the cortisol levels are down, your body starts to naturally become more relaxed.

The other thing massage does is encourage your body to release oxytocin and endorphins. Both of these natural “feel-good” chemicals lead your body into a relaxed state of euphoria.

It’s a little known fact that before all the drugs for depression were so freely distributed, massage therapy was a common treatment for the disorder. This generation seems to be catching on to the benefits of natural treatment and seeking ways to treat disorders with fewer drugs.

While you should never stop taking a prescription without the advice of a physician, massage therapy should be a treatment that you add to your regime in order to enhance your overall well-being.

Call us today to book your massage, and get yourself back on track to a healthier outlook on life!

 

 

Sleep Benefits of Massage Therapy

Sleep Benefits of Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy for InsomniaDo you have trouble falling and staying asleep? Do you find yourself staring at the clock half the night and wondering what it would be like to catch a solid 8 hours of z’s?

If so, you’re not alone. One out of every ten people on this planet reportedly take prescription sleep aids to combat their sleep problems.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that lack of sleep causes increased anxiety and moodiness, but did you also know that it can affect your health?

When our bodies are deprived of the rest they need, hormones become unbalanced and blood pressure increases causing possible health problems such as cardiovascular issues and diabetes. These issues themselves, ironically, also lead to sleep problems.

It’s a vicious cycle!

Pinpointing the cause could be helpful in controlling the problem, but there is one natural solution that could very possibly help you to sleep no matter what the reason.

Massage therapy.

Getting regular massages can help with most issues causing you unrest.

For Insomnia Caused by Chronic Pain

If pain is what is keeping you up all hours, massage therapy could definitely be your solution. Most chronic pain is either muscle or nerve related, and massage therapy helps to alleviate both. Regular massages will help to relax your muscles, thereby helping your body achieve a natural alignment, reducing most nerve pain.

For Insomnia Caused by Stress

Massage causes your body to release serotonin to the brain which is a natural anti-depressant. This combined with the relaxation factor of the massage, puts your body and mind into a more natural state of euphoria, lowering stress levels significantly.

For Insomnia Caused by Hormone Imbalance

Hormones are tricky. Any area of unbalance in the body can cause fluctuations that can cause weight gain, hair loss, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and a whole host of other affliction. Massage therapy is shown to aid the body in releasing certain hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, triggering emotions in the brain that cause a more relaxed environment for the entire body. Relieving stress alone can stabilize many hormone deficiencies.

Don’t let another sleepless night plague your health and your emotions. Book a massage today and let us help you to achieve a more natural state of relaxation!

 

 

 

5 Reasons a Couples Massage is the Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift

Finding the perfect Valentine’s Day gift can be a lot of pressure. Flowers…too formal? Candy…too impersonal? Jewelry…too soon?

It’s all just a little too much to take. But there is one gift that is perfect for anyone at any stage in the relationship.

A massage therapy session.

A couples massage is just the thing to take your relationship to the next level, or just have a fun and relaxing time together.

So many couples never take the time just to be together. With the stresses of balancing work, home, kids, and soccer practice, life sometimes takes its toll. Wouldn’t it be nice to just take an hour or two just to relax and shut out the world?

Although all of that is enough of a reason to go ahead and book that session, listed here are 5 more reasons a couples massage is the perfect Valentine’s Day gift:

1.      It Costs Less than Jewelry

Easier on your pocketbook and much less difficult to pick out, a couples massage says “I love being with you” without the stress of wondering if your jewelry pick says “let’s get married.”

2.      It’s Healthier than Candy

Not only are massages relaxing, but did you know that there are certain health benefits that go along with them? For example, massages are proven to lower blood pressure. They’re also a great way to help with chronic tension and prevent injuries during your next workout. What says you care more than tending to your partner’s health?

3.      It Increases Feelings of Intimacy

A massage releases serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine, contributing to an overall feeling of joy and intimacy. Having trouble getting your partner to open up? Lying next to that person in a heightened state of euphoria is the perfect time to find out just what makes him or her tick.

4.      It’s More Romantic than Dinner

Who feels intimate and sexy after stuffing themselves with spaghetti and meatballs (Lady and the Tramp recall, anyone)?  While the notion may seem romantic, the after-dinner bloat…not so much. Why not, instead, share in an experience that will leave you both feeling relaxed and amorous.

5.      It’s an Escape from the Real World

The next best thing to being stranded together on a desert island might be escaping into the serenity of the massage room. Cell phones off and kids at home with the sitter, your world just got a whole lot smaller. What could be more romantic than the thought that for a little while, you and your partner live in your own little world without all the outside distractions?

Do yourself and your relationship a favor…take the time today to call and make that appointment. It could be the most memorable Valentine’s Day you ever spend together!