Working therapy

Last updated 05:00 17/11/2012

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Happy, de-stressed workers take less sick leave, have fewer accidents and produce regularly higher standards of work.

Blenheim massage therapist Lin Heywood wants to extend her work services to people who might not see the need to visit her home-based studio.

She hopes more employers will see benefits in someone like her visiting their premises to offer 10-minute neck and shoulder massages.

Studies show that people who are feeling stressed are less productive in the workplace, she says.

"When they are feeling stressed, that can often lead to workplace accidents; mistakes can happen."

Absenteeism and frequent sick leave are other signs of tension and stress, and the quality of life in the workplace and at home starts to suffer.

Lin has had office jobs and understands the discomfort desk-bound jobs can bring.

The last such job she had was was just two days a week but her back would start hurting after just an hour at the desk.

Lin has studied anatomy and physiology and holds a Diploma in Swedish and Remedial Massage.

She regularly takes her portable massage chair to the Alzheimers Marlborough rooms and treats clients and workers there to a 10-minute neck and shoulder massage.

Last weekend she demonstrated her workplace massages at the Hunter's Garden Marlborough Stihl Garden Fete.

Office workers, hairdressers and a teacher were among the people who gave it a try and there was much positive feedback.

Hairdressers' arms are often unnaturally raised as they work in their salons, causing muscle tension around the neck and shoulders, she says. Massaging those areas helps the muscles relax.

Massage also eases muscles that can become knotted by emotional stress.

"It calms them, helps people mentally relax."

Lin's 10- and 15-minute workplace massage sessions cost $10 and $15 respectively and clients will be shown simple exercises they can do themselves to help keep their muscles flexible.

This week some residents at the Waterlea Rest Home enjoyed her attention and an activities co-ordinator, Karen Savage, also took a turn in the massage chair.

Massage is a non-invasive tool for workplace therapy, Blenheim occupational therapist Jill Bunting says.

She has a Diploma in Ergonomics and advises Marlborough employers on keeping workstations safe for staff.

Muscles around the human body are designed to provide strength, movement and balance for people as they stand, sit and move around, Jill says.

Muscle problems can occur when just one activity is done all the time and the warming effect of massage can ease tension areas.

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Lin Heywood can be contacted at 03 577 8022 or by email at linandmike@xtra.co.nz.

- The Marlborough Express

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