Magic fingers ease tension

THINGS just aren’t what they used to be. Professional massage used to be a service performed only by beauty therapists in spas or salons for women who wanted to give themselves a little treat while their manicures dried.

Now it seems massage in the professional arena has taken on a life of its own.

Ten years ago it was big news that otherwise “tough-as-nails” sports teams and players were receiving the magic fingers not just on injuries but simply to relax them before games.

And the trend it seems, has caught on. Business people all over the country are indulging in rubs in an attempt to lower their stress levels.

Corporate and Government bodies are providing services to their employees to try to squeeze every last ounce of productivity out of their workers.

Businesses in Perth have been quick to take up on the trend of office massage with several companies, including the Shiatsu School of WA and Subiaco Sports Massage Therapy Clinic, already offering in-house services.

Ted Flanigan, the Director of Shiatsu School of WA, said that both overseas and Australian studies had demonstrated a significant increase in productivity in businesses both large and small where stress relief programs have been incorporated into the workplace.

“Massage in the workplace is rapidly becoming a standard service offered by the business to the employee,” Mr Flanigan said.

“The receiver will feel immediate relief from tense muscles, stiff neck, headache, back pain and other stress-related conditions.

“Minimalising stress will result in reduced absenteeism, increased focus and productivity, improved customers services and enhanced employee/employer rapport.”

Offices aren’t the only places where busy business people are getting their fix either.

Those on the go can also get their fix in hotels.

Corporate Body Care is a professional massage service run and owned by Robyne Thorley, based in the Sheraton health centre.

Ms Thorley is, for those in the know, the VIP masseur in Perth, attending to the stressed needs of everyone flying in and out of our fair city from the heads of multi-million dollar companies to famous singers to supermodels to local lawyers and stockbrokers.

“Probably 80 per cent of our clients would be business people and probably 80 per cent male,” Ms Thorley said.

“We’re quite different to most businesses, a lot of people in Perth have 70 or 80 per cent female. Probably because Sheraton is more of a corporate hotel and business hotel.”

Ms Thorley’s clients come from hotels all over the city, even though some of these hotels have their own beauty therapy salons, for her touch.

There is, as in most things, a big difference between one massage and the next.

“There’s a lot of people out there doing it, but they’re not qualified,” she said.

According to Ms Thorley, remedial massage (which is what she does) requires a minimum of a year full-time study.

Ms Thorley has spent two years in full-time study of the art, so it’s little wonder her very professional services are in demand.

The growth of professional remedial massage businesses and services directed specifically to the corporate market is on the up and up, and they’re here to stay.

“This is permanent,” she said adamantly, “very much so.”

“The pampering has always been around with the beauty therapy, but now people are realising the benefits of a good remedial massage. And if you go to a qualified therapist, it’s absolutely brilliant.”

The Subiaco Sports Massage Clinic is one of the more well known clinics in town, and they too are on the move out of the clinic room and into the boardroom.

For $70 you can have a qualified sports masseur, who specialises in the prevention and management of muscular injury, come out to your office and give you and up to six of your workmates a combined total of one hour of stress relief.

They specialise in group therapy, so to speak, and can cater for up to 24 people in one session.

The clinic recommends an optimum massage time of 15 minutes to maintain a productive return to work and claim that a quick massage can not only provide instant relief of neck and back stiffness, but also boost staff moral.

With benefits like these it’s little wonder that so many businesses (both giving and receiving) are hopping on the massage table band wagon - the only wonder is that all of this didn’t happen sooner – it’s not like corporate stress is a new revelation.

It’s entirely possible the development of the mobile massage service has been hindered by the connation of the title “massage” itself, as well as the logistics of giving a massage.

There are very few people who could plead intellectual innocence when it comes to the images conjured in the mind at the mention of that word.

Nothing could be further from the truth as far as these services are concerned; they’re the fully-clothed, non-sexual type.

Shiatsu massage really lends itself to the office because it’s always performed through the clothes, and doesn’t use oils or lotions.

Shiatsu is not usually performed while someone is seated, but it certainly can, and obviously is performed that way.

But as Mr Flanigan from the Shiatsu School of WA notes, it will probably bring you more benefit if you’re not trying to answer the phone or close a deal while getting a massage to de-stress you.

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