Mandatory Massage for Wellness


Massaging your troubles away

In the past, massages have been viewed as a luxury. A good massage lifts the spirits, decreases anxiety and stress, and can be energizing. Beyond the “feel good” aspects, employers may incorporate massage therapy into their Wellness Program to increase morale, reduce work-related injuries and increase productivity and overall well being for the employee. While your friend or spouse may give a great back rub, it takes formal training and a state license to be a massage therapist. Colby Williams is the Massage Program Director at Seacoast Career Schools. According to Mr. Williams, a massage therapy program includes the sciences with emphasis on anatomy and physiology, hands-on and class instruction in various techniques and a course in business and career development. Massage types such as Swedish (basic relaxation), deep tissue (used for muscle trigger points and other particular problems), and hot stone are taught. While the State of Maine requires a minimum of 500 hours of instruction, the Seacoast Career Schools program is 900 hours. Laws vary from state to state, but Maine and all other states require state licensure. Occupational therapists and physical therapists may also use massage techniques. Massage therapists can seek advanced training in individual techniques, or specialize in areas such as feet, hands, or face. Massage therapy has been evaluated in medical research and literature. The Mayo Clinic web site on alternative medicine explains several physical benefits of massage. Premature babies who are gently massaged regularly seem to gain weight faster. Massage has also been shown to improve the condition of women in labor. In fact, Goodall Hospital is working with Seacoast Career Schools to offer a program making massage available to moms in labor and after delivery. It may be expanded to medical and surgical patients where it is appropriate. An amazing number of areas have been researched. Not surprisingly, regular massages assist in the treatment of general anxiety. When used for pain of many types, massage decreases the amount of pain medication needed for the patients. Soreness related to sports and muscle overuse improves more quickly when treated with massage, which can be important to keep athletes (and workers) “in the game.” Most surprising to me were studies which show that cancer and HIV/AIDS patients receiving massages show an increase in the number of white blood cells in their blood. It has also been shown to raise the spirits and sense of well-being in cancer patients. Here in Sanford, massage therapy is part of the Wellness Program for the town. Ronnie Champlin, the town’s finance director and Wellness Program coordinator, reports that seated back massages lasting 15-30 minutes are quite popular. The program was initiated because of a request to the Wellness Committee. They are offered monthly, and have been for 3 years. Message therapy is good for you. So loosen up and make an appointment today. 

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