The Deeper Value of Massage Therapy.
As massage therapy becomes more popular, some employers question it’s value in the overall scheme of their group benefits plan. The argument often relies on a lack of medical evidence around the health benefits that massage therapy provides, but the real question is whether a lack of medical evidence equals a lack of value? The short answer is likely no – massage therapy can provide a unique and sometimes difficult to calculate physical and mental health boost that can act as preventative care to much more costly benefit and workplace expenses.Take back pain for example – a person who suffers from chronic back pain may have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, not to mention following this with an eight or nine hour work day. Massage therapy can relieve some of the most debilitating symptoms, reducing sick days and providing an alternative to medication that may only mask symptoms rather than work towards a long term solution.
In addition to providing much needed physical health support, massage therapy is also proven to help with mental stress. It can reduce anxiety and promote a more healthy and clear-minded lifestyle that can translate into increased productivity at the workplace. It can also provide a morale boost for employees and make them feel like their benefits plan is more in tune with their personal needs, demonstrating a tangible commitment to their well-being.
The 2016 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey studied how employee benefits support personal health and productivity. Sixty-five percent of plan members ranked massage therapy as very/somewhat important, slightly above chiropractic care at 62%. The survey revealed some interesting statistics regarding massage therapy utilization:
Forty-three percent of plan members submitted at least one claim in the past year, totaling an average of 5.1 claims for the year.
Employees aged 18 to 34 are more likely to make claims (47%) than those aged 55 to 64 (40%), but do so less often (4.2 versus 5.5).
The most common reason for a massage is to treat a condition or injury (50%)
Thirty-eight percent get massages mainly to relieve tension and relax.
A summary of these points suggests that regardless of age or health issue, mental or physical, employees both utilize and care about massage therapy as an employee benefit.