PROFIT MAGAZINE (November, 2002)
by Andrea Szego

Test Drive: On-site massage
Rub staff the right way: On-site backrubs can make you a favored employer — for less than the cost of lunch.

Invented in the early 1980s, portable massage chairs allow practitioners to deliver backrubs in the comfort of your own office. Now health-conscious employers searching for novel perks are fuelling a boom in on-site massage sessions. The promised results: improved concentration and reduced stress in 15 minutes or less. So PROFIT editors Andrea Szego, Kali Pearson and Ian Portsmouth put on-site massage to the test.

Eva Tettinger-Dudas, a massage practitioner with MassageTime of Mississauga, Ont., arrived at PROFIT's Bay Street offices lugging a big vinyl bag on a luggage trolley. Within 10 minutes, her massage chair was set up in a spare office, and soft New Age music overlaid with birdsongs floated through the air. One by one, the editors submitted themselves to 15 minutes of Swedish and Shiatsu massages purported to stretch and knead tension away. Here's what they had to say:

Andrea Szego: "The forearm kneading and hand massage, ending with gentle pulling on my fingers. I didn't know I'd stored so much tension there."
Kali Pearson: "Firm but gentle pressure briefly untangled the typing-induced knots in my upper back."
Ian Portsmouth: "Eva asked me to take a deep breath, then squeezed my trapezius muscles as I exhaled, causing a warm wave of energy to flow through my body."

AS: "Positive. I was calm but alert, ready to resume constant keyboarding."
KP: "Positive. The 15-minute break had me raring to get back to work."
IP: "Neutral. Only the last-second chops brought me back to life."

At $15 per employee session, on-site massage costs less than a decent lunch (and contains fewer calories). It's a helpful break from the daily grind, which is something every employee should appreciate.

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