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Health advice for office workers

Lucy Dempster gives advice to PAs and administrators

The benefits of complementary therapy for personal assistants and offices workers

There is a lot of useful advice available for personal assistants, receptionists or, indeed, anyone who sits at a desk or computer for long periods of time:

  • Sitting in a good adjustable chair with lumbar support
  • Placing feet on the ground
  • Ensuring the computer keyboard and monitor are at a comfortable height
  • Taking regular breaks.

However, there are still times when your eyes may get tired, your back may ache and yet work in your in-tray still needs to be completed. This is where complementary therapy can help to alleviate symptoms ensuring your body is in good physical condition for your working day.

Massage can manipulate tense, aching muscles improving movement and encouraging endorphin release (hormones which help reduce the sensation of pain). Massage can help conditions such as back pain, muscular tension and headaches *. In addition, your therapist can show you how to massage key areas that trouble you so you can regularly ease muscle soreness throughout the day. For example, small circular thumb movements up the forearms can ease tight muscles from working at a keyboard.

Another therapy that can be useful for office based workers is reflexology which is based on the theory that there are reflex points on the feet and hands that correspond to different parts of the body. A reflexology treatment not only works the whole body through massaging the reflexes of the feet but is also a soothing and relaxing treatment which can improve your relaxation. Your reflexologist can show you areas on the hand that correspond with areas where you feel tension. If you suffer from an aching neck gentle thumb walking up the sides of the fingers can help ease the tension and slow rhythmic pressing in the centre of the palm whilst taking slow breathes in and out can be a fantastic way to calm the breathing and relax the shoulders and back. If you suffer from headaches touch the tips of your thumb and index finger and gently massage, repeat the movement with the thumb and each finger in turn. These exercises can be achieved subtlety at your desk so work colleagues won’t know that you’re doing them.

Introducing aromatherapy to these simple techniques can enhance the benefits. Many pre-blended aromatherapy mixes are available to revitalise when you’re feeling tired, to relax when you’re feeling stressed. Alternatively, an aromatherapist can custom blend an aromatherapy mix for your individual needs. For example, if you suffer from headaches and are feeling tired they may mix peppermint and lavender to gently massage into your temples. It is not advisable to mix essential oils yourself as they need to be diluted to the correct concentration and can cause skin reaction if used undiluted on the skin.

In conclusion, there are many different complementary therapies that can help relax muscles and relieve tension that may build up at your desk. In addition, self help exercises and techniques can further improve your comfort in the work place. If you are aware of aches and pains before they manifest into greater problems and you put these simple ideas in place you should be able to help reduce stress and work related health problems in the workplace.