Chair Massage In the Workplace and Out
Picture a massage. What comes to mind are images of someone lying on a table, partly covered with a sheet, being kneaded. But one of the newer and now equally common forms doesn’t use a table or mat at all. The recipient isn’t even prone. He or she is sitting. Chair massage has come of age.
Chair massage is sometimes called corporate massage since it’s frequently practiced in the workplace. But it can be performed anywhere with the right equipment. It uses a specially-shaped chair that allows the client to sit comfortably, face-forward at a slight downward angle. The legs are bent, knees propped up and the whole body is relaxed even though the person isn’t lying but sitting.
Gravity relief is similar to specialized office chairs that prop the knees up, lying back at an angle. This relieves stress on the lower back and the neck. Specialized chairs of that type are sometimes used by home office workers who spend long hours at the computer. In this case, the body is simply flipped 180 degrees, to face down instead of up.
That allows easy access to the neck, shoulders, back and arms, which are the main areas of chair or corporate massage. Leg, glute and feet work are much less common in these circumstances.
The benefits are numerous. Work-related stress is one of the most common ailments, accounting for billions in lost productivity every year. Even though sessions tend to be shorter – 10-30 minutes rather than the usual hour – they are effective in relaxing and re-energizing the recipient.
The practice has several benefits for the therapist as well.
Chair massage practice requires that therapists make ‘housecalls’, but many do that anyway. When traveling to the recipient’s home, there is extra time and hassle required, and the occasional risk. Often it’s difficult to charge enough extra to make the added effort worthwhile. In a corporate setting, many clients can be accommodated in a central area in a shorter time. That increases income and produces more happy workers, too.
The same practice can be carried out at the therapist’s office as well. But chair massage can also be performed in the client’s home if lugging the chair isn’t too difficult.
Since the chair provides an effective angle for work, elbow and forearm work is made easier. That saves a lot of strain on the hands, always a concern for massage therapists. Large force isn’t required to produce the desired result. A simple lean with the therapist’s knees, allowing gravity to work rather than muscular strength, is all that’s needed. Placing the leg closest to the client behind, align with the client’s back, with about a foot of space between, and a simple natural angle is achieved.
Be sure not to hunch over, keep the line of the shoulders open and parallel to the client. Then let your body weight sink into the client. Gravity does much of the work for you. This reduces any arm or hand pressure required, saving the therapist effort and possible work-related stress injury.
Hands come into play during work on the neck, but even here the forearm can be made use of, again saving those important hand and finger muscles for when they’re really needed. The client receives an excellent massage and the therapist reduces effort.