Massage therapy has been shown to reduce stress and effect relaxation—including within the workplace—and a new study shows the benefits of massage may be needed by Americans now more than ever.

The study shows current economic challenges are creating stress within American workplaces and families. In “The Hits Just Keep Coming: How the Recession is Affecting Families and Work,” Wayne Hochwarter, the Jim Moran Professor of Management at Florida State University’s College of Business, sought to find out how the financial crisis is affecting people both at work and in their personal lives.

Hochwarter’s results show that in the workplace, large numbers of people are feeling more stress, more pressure from management and more concern about their job security, and are witnessing more incivility.

Massage therapists can turn this situation to their advantage by marketing workplace-wellness massage aimed at decreasing employee stress.

Research to be published in the April issue of MASSAGE Magazine shows increased job satisfaction and decreased severity of pain were the two main benefits of employer-funded massage therapy for a group of long-term care workers.

Among the survey results:
• More than 70 percent of survey respondents confirmed the recession has significantly increased the stress levels of employees in recent months.
• More than one-half (55 percent) reported that management has grown increasingly demanding over this period.
• More than 65 percent predicted significant job changes to occur within one year, causing employees to grow progressively more concerned about job status; 80 percent of employees reported being nervous about their long-term financial well-being.
• More than 60 percent of employees were asked to find ways to cut costs on a weekly basis.
• More than 40 percent of employees reported increased incivility (i.e., “backstabbing,” “sucking up” and politicking) as a means to stay employed in the event of a layoff.