June 17, 2020 Amelia Wilcox

What is Virtual Massage?

In-person massages are great for relieving stress, but have you ever tried a virtual massage? As more and more of our world and work moves online, a new and growing need has arisen for virtual guided massage to manage workplace stress.  An unprecedented number of employees are now working remotely, and remote employees need stress management tools too! That’s where virtual wellness programs come in. With innovative companies now offering a wealth of online care, your remote team can receive the same support they did when they were working in a physical office, but now offered in an online setting. 

Guided workplace massage programs work in much the same way any other office wellness program functions! By making sure that employees take time out of their day for themselves, make time for self-care in the office, and care for their physical and mental health. It’s been proven that taking breaks is beneficial for workplace wellness, focus, productivity, creativity and more. When management creates a work environment where breaks are encouraged, everyone benefits! By bringing wellness breaks into the workplace, your company can create a culture that makes employees feel supported and valued. This leads to company loyalty, lower turnover rates, and a generally more committed, happy staff. 

Virtual massage is an especially valuable way to give your team a break, because of its many benefits for employees. Consider introducing virtual guided massage to manage workplace stress. Massage reduces stress levels, and increases staff’s energy. You may have imagined a workplace massage would leave your staff sleepy and ready for a nap, but the reality is that short guided massages will bring more energy to employees! Even as short as 5, 10 or 15 minutes of massage can revitalize your staff, and get them ready to dive into the rest of their workload. Virtual massage can increase your staff’s energy levels by improving overall circulation in the body. When blood is flowing, the body and brain are invigorated and more energy is available. That’s why guided massages will re-energize your employees throughout the work day! 

So how does virtual massage actually work?

Virtual wellness sessions are led by the same certified massage practitioners teams would see at an in-person office massage. Instead of visiting the workplace, your staff members connect with a practitioner over a live video streaming platform. The practitioners will then discuss each employee’s specific needs, and design their guided massage to address them. If your staff is especially stressed, practitioners might focus on calming the nervous system with Swedish Massage techniques. If a team member happens to have pain in their neck from sitting at their desk, a practitioner might demonstrate pressure point massage that will help release muscle tension. The list goes on, and practitioners are ready to personalize sessions to meet a wide variety of needs! 

Staff can select between one-on-one or group sessions, depending on what they prefer. Group sessions can be a great team building activity, especially for remote or dispersed teams! Another customized option for virtual massage, is the ability to choose between having video on or off. If viewers are comfortable turning their video on, practitioners can give specific feedback, and interact throughout the session. If employees prefer to keep their video off, and practice with more privacy, they can! Whatever you pick, during one-on-one or group sessions, the practitioner will demonstrate and explain simple, accessible actions that lead viewers into deep relaxation, and release tension in tight muscles. 

chair massage

Guided massage to manage workplace stress

Virtual massage can help manage workplace stress with a myriad of physical and mental benefits. Stress signals that the brain sends to the body are reduced during guided massage. This happens by slowing recipients heart rates, reducing their blood pressure and lowering cortisol levels (a stress hormone found in the body). When cortisol levels drop, serotonin (a hormone that contributes to feelings of happiness) rises. In fact, serotonin levels have been found to rise around 28 percent after a massage. These results can help to counteract stress over deadlines, tensions from a heavy workload or long hours. 

Another chemical response that occurs in the body when you’re experiencing a guided virtual massage is the release of dopamine. Increased dopamine levels can help improve employee productivity and focus. That’s because dopamine levels in the brain are a big factor in the ability to focus. When our brain has enough dopamine, we’re more able to hone in on tasks. So after a guided workplace massage break, not only will your team get back to work feeling happier, they’ll also be better able to focus on their work. 

Virtual massage to relieve pain

Guided massage is also great for releasing muscle pain, tension and tightness — issues that often come from prolonged sitting at an office desk all day. Stiffness in the neck and back are common office work complaints, and these can be addressed with virtual massage. Virtual wellness helps to relieve muscle pain in a few different ways. By applying pressure to points throughout the body with the techniques learned from your guided massage facilitator, blood gets moved through the body. By increasing blood flow and circulation in the body, muscles get warmer and more flexible. This also allows for injuries to heal faster, when more oxygen rich blood travels to that injured area. 

Furthermore, repetitive use injuries can be treated and (in some cases) be prevented with guided massage. This makes virtual massage a great preventative treatment for workplace woes such as carpal tunnel and tendinitis. Virtual massage therapy can be used to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) related symptoms, and has even been shown to help as a preventative measure for this common workplace injury. Virtual massage works as a treatment for CTS by relaxing the muscles and fascia in the affected areas, such as hands, wrists and shoulders. It also increases blood flow to the injury and reduces inflammation and pain. 

All these amazing benefits of massage demonstrate that it’s more than just a fun company perk! Guided workplace massage is a valuable part of a company wellness program, with powerful benefits for employee mental and physical health. Implementing massage in the workplace can have real impacts on your team. And those awesome benefits aren’t only for offices with onsite teams, but are now available anytime, anywhere. With virtual wellness practitioners only a WiFi connection away, companies can provide care to their staff no matter where they’re located.

 

Understanding the physical and mental symptoms caused by stress

If you’re still not convinced that your workplace could benefit from a virtual wellness program, let us explain all the issues that come from employee stress! The symptoms of stress affect both work and home life for every employee. Without management, stress can cause burnout, unhealthy habits, and harm mental and physical health in employees.  With all these mental and physical effects, it’s important to address stress before it negatively impacts your employees work ethic and office morale. 

The first step in helping your staff control their stress levels is creating more education around stress in the workplace. Sharing information about the symptoms of stress, and how to determine their causes is a great way to get your team started with a stress management program. Once your employees have more information about where their stress is coming from they can begin to address it more effectively! 

Stress can cause symptoms that no one wants to experience! Furthermore, those symptoms tend to get in the way of successful work. When employees are stressed, they’re likely to start experiencing that stress manifest in the form of physical ailments. From headaches to chest pain, insomnia and indigestion, stress can truly be a pain! Stress has mental impacts as well. When employees are stressed they may begin to experience anxiety, irritability and a lack of motivation. However, all these symptoms are avoidable if stress is addressed. 

Physical symptoms of stress:

  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Chest pain
  • Insomnia

Mental symptoms of stress:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability 
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Depression

When your team knows how to recognize the symptoms of stress and can identify when it’s impacting their workplace health, then they’re ready to start addressing those symptoms! That’s when taking the step to create a stress management program for employees can be a helpful part of the solution. Providing solutions through a virtual wellness program, for employees that are struggling with the impacts of stress will mean a team that is more focused, creative, productive, and collaborative. Those are results worth the investment! 

If you’re ready to start managing your remote (or onsite) team’s stress, create a virtual wellness program for employees! And incorporate all the amazing benefits of massage, by bringing in talented practitioners to guide your staff through virtual wellness sessions. In just a few short sessions, your company will start seeing the return on their investment in the form of happier, healthier employees! 

Learn more: Perks to Manage Remote Employee Stress

Amelia Wilcox

Amelia Wilcox

Amelia Wilcox is the Founder and CEO of Zenovate formerly Incorporate Massage a leader in corporate massage since 2010. Her high-growth B2B company who’s platform provides employee stress management tools that arm businesses with actionable data and positive employee experiences to improve wellbeing, boost morale, and increase engagement.

Amelia has exponentially grown her company from a solo living-room service business to an international technology brand.

Awards
Recently listed as a Forty Under 40, Fast 50, Inc 5000 Twice awarded National Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year

Licenses, Certifications & Memberships
Licensed Massage Therapist since 2002
Member of American Massage Therapy Association
Served on Utah Worksite Wellness Council from 2012-2015

Education
Attended Utah College of Massage Therapy
Educated in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Utah

Publications
Massage Magazine (AMTA's publication)  

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