Many careers keep you on your feet all day. Teachers, hairdressers, mail carriers, and caregivers all have varying degrees of daily activity and movement. But what about the multitude of occupations that take place in an office setting where work is generally “sedentary?” Receptionists, computer programmers, and bankers spend much of their day seated at a desk. What kind of strain does sitting in a chair all day put on a body? Office workers need massages as much as professional athletes might.
In addition to being desk-bound for the bulk of the work day, add in the daily commute by car or public transit. Now you’ve been been seated for nine hours or more. What are the long term effects of prolonged sitting? What can we do to make it easier on our bodies? Lifestyle choices play a role in overall health and wellness:
- Diet/what we eat
- Amount of sleep
- Daily exercise
However, even if you’re a “health nut,” you may experience the occasional ache, pain, or some limited mobility if you sit at a desk or computer five days a week. Aches and pains can turn into chronic problems like carpal tunnel syndrome -- or lower back pain that affects the spine and neck.
While chronic tension requires the services of an RMT (registered massage therapist). Here are some suggestions to alleviate minor issues at home or the office while in between therapy appointments.
There are many simple stretches office workers can do at their desk. These help occasional aches, but what about long term problems? Start thinking about how your work routines affect your body, and what your muscles might look (and feel) like after retirement.
Massages aren’t just for the occasional trip to an all-inclusive or a treat for your anniversary. Regular massage can help maintain a healthy body. Circulation and blood flow slow when people are seated for extended periods of time. All the body’s processes slow as well. Going for a weekly or bi-weekly massage can positively impact quality of life.
Release Work Week Stress
Being seated daily can create unwanted tension in the body. If facing a computer is part of your regular routine, consider its effect on hands and wrists. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome affects 15% of Canadians; approximately 4.5 million people. Muscle tension takes the body’s spine out of alignment as we stare at the screen. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I sit turned to the side when typing?
- Do I hunch forward when sitting at the desk?
- Do I crane my neck to look at the screen?
- How often do I get up from my desk chair and take a walk?
Don’t get stuck in a slump; let a professional release the stress you’ve been putting on your body. Regular massages can be a valuable, preventative measure: so you’re not distracted by pain. Massage keeps muscles elongated and relaxed. It releases constricted blood vessels, allowing circulation to flow through the body.
Healing Effects Of Massage
Studies show massage helps to build more mitochondria, which plays an important part in healing. It reduces the inflammatory response from muscles being static while seated in a stationary position throughout the work day. Massage therapy also increases the body’s white blood cells which help fight off illness and strengthen cytotoxic cells, which help kill infection.
Along with the emphasis of keeping your body resilient through massage therapy is to consider what you are putting into it. Food plays a significant part in keeping your body healthy; especially during cold and flu season when everyone else at the office is wheezing and sneezing. Drinking eight glasses of water a day, taking Vitamin C, and eating dark leafy greens (such as spinach, broccoli and kiwi fruit) will help keep your immune system resistant to illness (like the common cold).
Get More Sleep
7-9 hours of sleep a night helps keep the brain alert. It also aids digestion and the body’s need to break down molecules into smaller units for continual maintenance and cell growth. Massage therapy can help treat sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea. Massage helps serotonin circulate throughout the body, which is necessary for a good sleep cycle.
Improve Quality Of Life
As we get older our bodies change; the way we care for them should follow suit. Muscle fibre decreases and loses mass as the years pass. The body takes longer to heal and the chances of a lingering pain becoming a constant are higher. Massage is a non-invasive way to tackle aches and pains before they become chronic. Take charge of your body by using massage to promote wellness and live your best life.
The corporate world is filled with high pressure situations. Hustling in a fast paced environment can be exhilarating and exhausting. Without realizing it, your body is internalizing stress on a daily basis. Even Forbes magazine concedes that massage can help busy executives. Massage therapy boosts serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to your well being by positively impacting your mood.
Improved Athletic Performance
During winter are you playing indoor volleyball before the baseball field opens up? Perhaps you’ve finally decided to run your first marathon. Consider adding a visit to an RMT to your weekly training routine. Sports therapy can include deep tissue massage to address the strain on joints and muscles.
Repetitive movements from sports or jogging can wear down the body’s soft tissue. Through gentle manipulation of the muscles and tissues, they loosen and relax -- realigning to their intended position in the body. Regular attention from licensed therapists helps maintain your body’s natural alignment. Massage also helps to avoid injury by improving range of motion and muscle flexibility.
Think what having a weekly, or bi-weekly massage could mean not just for your body, but for your brain. Releasing tension and taking time for yourself can help you stay positive, boost your spirit, and improve your sleep. Studies show even a fifteen minute massage will lower your stress level, allowing for improved brain power and productivity.
Massage Is For Kids!
Along with hugs and cuddling, children can also benefit from massage. Providing a 5-10 minute massage at bedtime can aid your child’s melatonin production. Melatonin is a sleep hormone that can help young ones sleep through the night. Massage helps decrease cortisol levels, encouraging children to feel more relaxed.
Make It a (Good) Habit
Establishing a relationship of open communication with your RMTs is important. Let them know if the pressure they’re using is too much or too little. Also, don’t feel like you must talk during the session. You can let your therapist know if you want the appointment to be in silence.
Treat your RMT as you would a doctor or dentist: a professional who can help by knowing your current situation, as well as important medical history (e.g. previous injuries, current health concerns). By getting to know your body, your massage therapist will be able to work efficiently at your next appointment and address trouble areas.
Whether you’re a weekend athlete or spend most your days at a desk, you can benefit from massage. The time you spend caring for your body will help you stay healthy and active throughout life.
For a qualified, caring Registered Massage Therapist call Toronto Orthoneuro Physiocare: (416) 533-3900. We also offer sports therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture and orthotics to help you deal with pain and correct physical problems that limit your ability to enjoy life.