"The Heart of the Matter"

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Transcripts: 490.1 to 490.2

Week: 490.1 Guest: Rhonnda Neumann Topic: On Site Seated Massage - Part One Host: Richard Roeder Producer: Ed Graham

NEMA: This is a two part conversation on a new technique that could help to relax corporate America called On Site Seated Massage. My guest is certified massage therapist Rhonnda Neumann from Health and Image Consultants in Alexandria, Virginia.

NEMA: Ms. Neumann, I want to discuss some of the special environments in which you are currently using massage therapy but first I'd like to lay a little background for our discussion. Besides the fact that a massage feels good, how much scientific research has been done on its actual physiological and psychological impact on a person?

Neumann: As far as how much scientific research has been done, I really can't speak to that question but I can tell you since Hypocrites, massage therapy has been prescribed for both patients and athletes as an adjunct to other care. There are many many benefits and uses of massage therapy. Overall it's just an excellent enhancement to any health program. Massage can be an important component of any maintenance or wellness plan as it helps keep the body and the mind in an optimally functioning condition so whatever program your under, be it under the care of a mainstream doctor or with a physical therapist, massage can enhance and boost your body to work at its optimum. It relaxes muscles, it improves joint mobility, it improves circulation first and foremost of both the blood and lymphatic systems and you already said, it encourages general relaxation and I think we all can relate to the need for that in this day and age and also it improves the immune system and overall energetically speaking, the flows of your body energetically.

NEMA: Do different styles and techniques of massage seem to have different types of effects on the recipient?

Neumann: Oh yes, absolutely. However, all fundamentally still speak to the things I just mentioned. You can do Swedish massage which is general effleurage which is more conducive to relaxation and improvement of the circulatory systems. Then you can move into sports massage or deep tissue massage which addresses just very specific areas of the body on a much deeper muscular level. Of course there are areas such as the feet where you can do an entire session. People call it foot reflexology or zone therapy where the belief is at the bottom of your feet lies the entire body. And there are so many I could go on and on about the different forms of body work. It's very specific to the needs of the client.

NEMA: Probably some of the people who could benefit the most from a massage are also the ones who have the least time or at least believe themselves to have the least time to go get a massage. You're currently doing something about that problem. Would you talk about that a little bit.

Neumann: What I'm doing is bringing massage to those busy people. Understanding the stresses associated with our environment in general but specifically in corporate America, having been and just left corporate America after 20 years, I understand the pace, the stresses that go along with that lifestyle so what I do is bring a form of massage to a workplace - it's called seated massage - where your company's employees, fully clothed, sit in a chair or even a specifically designed massage therapy chair and I massage their neck, their shoulders, their upper back, their arms, their hands and their head.

NEMA: Join me for part two on seated massage with Rhonnda Neumann.

Week 490.2 Guest: Rhonnda Neumann Topic: On Site Seated Massage - Part Two Host: Richard Roeder Producer: Ed Graham

NEMA: This is the second half of a discussion about On Site Seated Massage to relax and heal corporate America. My guest is certified massage therapist Rhonnda Neumann from Health and Image Consultants in Alexandria, Virginia.

Neumann: They can take those few moments out of their day and it usually takes just about 15 minutes and experience all the wonderful benefits of a massage.

NEMA: Do you find that most employers are receptive to the idea of on site massage for their employees?

Neumann: Well, it's cutting edge. Let's put it that way but I can tell you this. There's more and more openness in my experience. It's almost becoming a necessity. There's a heightened awareness about wellness now, about ways to teach people to take care of themselves before their bodies fall apart and get to a critical state and if you want to get down to literally dollars and cents, stress costs the U.S. workplace an estimated $200 billion a year in reduced productivity, in accidents due to the employees being tired or ill, in compensation claims, in absentee-ism, in health insurance and medical expenses. This is more than the after-tax profits of the Fortune 500 companies and 10 times the cost of all strikes combined. So you can see if a company's just looking for its own benefit dollars and cents, it would behoove them then to have a plan that would keep their employees healthy.

NEMA: Are there currently some known companies that are using your program?

Neumann: I wish I could say they were using "my" program, but they are using seated massage programs now in the country. American Express is one of them. AT&T. Again, I wish they were my clients but someone is coming to their offices. We have the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Frito Lay, H.J. Heinz, IBM, Merrill Lynch, Motorola, some very reputable firms who are putting these programs in place as part of their company's wellness plan.

NEMA: What kind of feedback has been generated from both the employers and the employees if any in response to this massage plan?

Neumann: First of all, it's immediate relief for the employee. It is so quick for the employee to arrange as well. You set a time, you provide a space. The results are immediate to their employees. The employee gets immediate relief from be it the headache, the stress. Many companies are using it as part of an incentive program now to reward their employees for work well done. They're using it in the height of a very busy time at the workplace. They'll bring a massage therapist in to give each of the employees a break. So the feedback from both is excellent. It does seem to increase productivity. It relieves the stress for the participants. It gives a special treat to people. It's a very good response.

NEMA: Now when you first heard about the idea of on site seated massage, you as a massage therapist, were you skeptical of this initially and you're now a believer or did it sound like a good idea to you right from the beginning?

Neumann: For me, it was right there in my face. People knew in my workplace that in my other secret life, I was a massage therapist so there were many occasions when quietly I would work on co-workers or bosses in their offices and many times I can say they said "Thank you. If it weren't for you I would have had to go home with this headache. I would have had to go lay down or left early." So I saw that right there in my own backyard it was making a difference. Unfortunately I could never find someone to do it for me though. That was the only problem.


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