Massaging away the stress can also boost production

Sue Scrivener of Meltaway Massage
Sue Scrivener of Meltaway Massage
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Airline stewardess Sue Scrivener saw at first-hand the relaxing power of massage during her career.

It revived weary crew after lengthy flying hours and she noticed passengers who opted for massages in airport club class lounges always seemed to have happier, more relaxed flights.

The wonders of massage could work stayed in Sue’s mind long after she left her job with British Midland and Manx airlines. And after re-training as a theraputic masseuse over the last two years, she has launched an in-office service designed to give stressed-out workers the feeling they are flying on air.

“Anxiety and stress are all part of the working day for many people. Short bursts of stress help us to meet deadlines and think clearly in a crisis, but problems start when the stress is constant,” says Sue. “It can lead to reduced immunity from illness, raised blood pressure, digestion problems, and numerous aches and pains.

“These minor problems can escalate and cause long-term damage to health. Obviously that’s a problem to the sufferers, but employers also need to realise the consequences are absenteeism, loss of productivity and low morale.

“The main cause for 31 million working days being lost last year was back and neck pain. Stress, anxiety and depression caused 15 million days to be lost.”

The mother of two from Crookes believes her business, Melt Away Massage, which goes into workplaces to carry out 20-minute acupressure and massage treatments on staff just yards from their desk, deals with stress symptoms swiftly and effectively.

“I believe the office is where this is needed the most, rather than the beauty salon,” she says. “De-stressing employers boosts not only their well-being, but their performance. It’s like maintenance for the fleet.”

The on-site massage concept started in the USA in 1984 with 15-minute back and shoulder treatments for staff at the Apple HQ in Silicon Valley. It is now a popular service with U.S. employers but has been slow to catch on in the UK.

Sue launched in January, is fully insured and charges £40 an hour - £13.50 per 20 minute appointment. Clients have included law firm HLW, Abbeydale from Oyster Wealth Management, design team Hydra Creative at Nether Edge and Sheffield firm Route 1 Games.

“One woman said she felt as good as if she had been given a pay rise,” says Sue, who brought her portable massage chair into The Star to de-stress six willing volunteers.

To our relief, no one had to strip off in the office. You stay fully-clothed throughout and no messy oils are used.

All we had to do was sit forward - and relax.