A study published in 2009 in the International Journal of Neuroscience looked at the possible effects on anxiety, alertness and computational abilities after receiving a massage. The group consisted of 26 adults receiving massage and 24 adults in a control group. The massage group received 2 massages a week for 5 weeks, while the control group sat in a massage chair for the same duration. The study participants and control groups performed several evaluations and gave a salivary sample before and after the first and last massage sessions. What the researchers found was encouraging.

  1. Salivary cortisol levels decreased for the massage group, but not the control group.
    1. Cortisol is a hormone made in the adrenal glands that affect mood, motivation, and fear. It has many other functions in the body, many of which may be associated with workplace musculoskeletal disorders.
      1. Management of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats
      2. Helps to reduce inflammation
      3. Controls the sleep/wake cycle
      4. Regulates blood pressure
      5. Increase in Cortisol increases blood sugar
      6. Increases energy during stress
  2. Depression scores decreased for both groups, but job stress scores only decreased for the massage group.
  3. The speed and accuracy of mathematical computations were increased for the massage group. The control group outcome was unchanged.
  4. The overall mood state of both groups decreased, however only the massage group showed a decrease in anxiety levels.
  5. Brain function tests measured through EEG were different between the two groups.
    1. Frontal Delta power increase in both groups
      1. Frontal Delta Waves on EEG have been shown to indicate the level of psychological pain (depressive symptoms).
  6. Differences in Frontal Alpha and Beta power.
    1. The massage group showed a decrease in the frontal alpha and beta power on EEG
      1. Frontal alpha and beta power on EEG reflects an increase in alertness and creativity
    2. The control group showed an increase in frontal alpha and beta power on EEG.

BlueChip_OCM offers on-site employee massages as a wellness/first-aid benefit. Contact us today to start improving the health and productivity of your employees.

The Impact of Massage Therapy on Function in Pain Populations—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials: Part I, Patients Experiencing Pain in the General Population

This review of literature regarding the effectiveness of massage therapy for treating pain was overall positive. They found that outcome for pain management using massage was better than sham, no treatment or active treatment. They also found that massage was beneficial for the treatment of anxiety. The authors conclusions based on the evidence in the studies reviewed suggest that massage therapy should be strongly recommended as a pain management option.

Follow the link to read the study.


European researchers studied the effects of environmental and psychosocial factors and their relationship with musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). The survey was conducted among hospital workers in the UK and they looked at responses relating MSDs to temperature, anxiety, depression, light and noise, and job demand. The most interesting finding from the study was that MSDs of the upper extremity were strongly related to job strain and temperature.

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