Karen stared at the lime-green words on her computer monitor. The letters wouldn’t stop bouncing around. Like a movie that slips in and out of focus, the words became dancing images of blurred colors. Although young, fit, and pretty, Karen felt old, tired, and burned out. If it weren’t for all the tension in her shoulders, she would have fallen into a sleepy puddle on top of her keyboard. And yet it was only 3:30 in the afternoon.
She thought to herself, “What can I do to get through the rest of the day?” The light bulb in Karen’s brain flashed, her face brightened, and she intuitively knew exactly what she should do: trade massages with a friendly co-worker! Massage in the workplace is no longer reserved for just the wealthy, the weird, or the weary. In fact, individuals and corporations alike are finding it to be a practical and joyful way of increasing employee satisfaction and productivity.
Many companies hire masseuses to demonstrate how to give a five-minute massage to a fully clothed co-worker. The ooohs and aahhs that follow such demonstrations indicate that this healing art has a very bright future indeed. When you receive a massage from a co-worker, your shoulders become relaxed, and your smile becomes big and wide. When you give a brief massage to a person at work, you open the door to a deeper level of cooperation and friendship.
Unfortunately, there are still many offices in which the joys of “clothed co-massage” are still unknown. But, like laughter, massage is very contagious. Once introduced into a workplace, it has been known to spread like joyful wildfire. That’s because massage does much more than relax people and make them feel good. It also has beneficial effects in employee relations and the overall sense of community in a work environment. When people are given permission to touch each other in a non-sexual way, communication barriers are lessened. People get along more harmoniously, and therefore work better together.
An Efficient Alternative To Coffee Breaks
In business terms, mini-massages provide an efficient alternative to coffee breaks. Two workers can trade relaxing, yet energizing massages within a mere seven minutes, and then be more productive and alert when returning to their work. Everyone benefits!
In order to successfully plant the mini-massage seed in your workplace, here are some helpful guidelines: First, try suggesting the idea to a co-worker friend. Ask for a three-minute shoulder and neck massage in exchange for one in return. Briefly explain why you’d like to try this, and how it can be a great substitute for the traditional coffee break.
I suggest you first introduce the idea of trading massages with someone at work who already knows and trusts you. By doing this, you’ll avoid creating the impression you’re trying to “pick-up” on a co-worker. When explained properly, most people can’t resist the idea of a shoulder massage.
Once you’ve selected an appropriate person, be honest about your lack of expertise, and ask your friend to indicate what feels good—and what doesn’t. As your partner sits in a low back chair, start by kneading your thumbs into the upper shoulder area. Ask your friend if he or she would like soft, medium, or deep pressure. Massage, like any skill, is best learned through practice and good feedback.
It's Free, It Feels Good, and It's Good For You
As co-workers see you and your friend enjoy the benefits of massage, they’ll likely join in. That’s what happened at a halfway house where I used to work. One day I asked my friend, Jay, if he would like to trade shoulder massages. Like a drowning man being thrown a life-preserver, he grabbed the opportunity.
Jay and I each looked so relaxed after our “coffee” break that soon other staff members were asking us if we’d be interested in a “massage exchange.” Within a month, trading brief massages became a common practice, and led to a deeper sense of trust, harmony, and connection amongst the staff.
Most people are thrilled to discover something new that feels good, doesn’t cost anything, and is actually good for them. There aren’t many things in life that can stand up to those three formidable criteria. Before you know it, people in your workplace will be trading massages as often as they now trade entertaining stories.
Of course, trading massages need not be reserved just for work. You can share this wonderful form of intimacy with your mate or any of your friends. Because people often have “emotional stuff” about any sort of physical contact, it’s important to make clear that this is not a form of sexual touch, but rather a way to help each other reduce stress.
Scientists have discovered that people need a lot of touch in their life in order to keep their immune system strong, but many people only get touched when they’re having sex. Sharing massages with friends, co-workers, or even family members can be a great way to feel more connected, reduce stress, and help each other live healthier, happier lives.
©2014 by Jonathan Robinson. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Conari Press,
an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC. www.redwheelweiser.com.
Find Happiness Now: 50 Shortcuts for Bringing More Love, Balance, and Joy into Your Life
by Jonathan Robinson.
About the Author
Jonathan Robinson is a psychotherapist, best-selling author of nine books, and a professional speaker from Northern California. His work has appeared in Newsweek, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as dozens of other publications. In addition, Mr. Robinson has made numerous appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show and CNN, as well as other national TV talk shows. He is the author of The Experience of God, Life's Big Questions, Instant Insight; Real Wealth; Shortcuts to Bliss; Shortcuts to Success, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Awakening Your Spirituality, and Terror Proof Your Mind and Money. He can be found online at: http://findinghappiness.com.
Watch a video: Jonathan Robinson talks about Kindness (on Oprah)