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  • 1.
    Muller, Jasmin
    Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ. ADULT.
    Psychological and physiological effects on Swedish worker’s health when using a health promotion intervention including mechanical massage and mental training - a pilot study2018Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Introduction:

    Work-related stress is one of the most challenging issues on workplaces. Reduced ability to relax and recover has been proposed as a key factor behind the increase of stress-related illness among workers. Massage and mental training are two commonly used techniques which may have positive effects on the ability to recover. One technique to help workers recover is a “recovery chair” which include both mechanical massage and mental training programs. However, it has not been scientifically evaluated yet whether using the techniques included in the “recovery chair”, both separately and in combination, as a health promotion tool.

    Aim:

    The overall aim of this thesis was to explore the psychological and physiological effects of the mechanical massage and mental training programs included in the “recovery chair”, both separately and in combination, as a health promotion tool for Swedish workers.

    Methods:

    In this study workers were randomly assigned to one of the following groups: i) Mechanical massage combined with mental training (n=19), ii) Mechanical massage (n=19), iii) Mental training (n=19), iv), Pause (15 min break in the armchair, n=19), v) and a Control group (n=17). Psychological effects were measured by the ”Swedish Scale of Personality” (SSP) and physiological effects were measured by heart rate, blood pressure and fingertip temperature, immediately before the randomization, after four weeks and after eight weeks (end-of-study).

    Results:

    Psychological effects: The results showed that receiving mechanical massage was associated with a significant decrease in “Somatic Trait Anxiety”. The participants in the mental training group showed a tendency to decrease in “Somatic Trait Anxiety”. The participants who received both mechanical massage and mental training showed a significant decrease in “Stress Susceptibility” between four and eight weeks. The results also showed a significant decrease in “Somatic Trait Anxiety” and a significant increase in “Detachment” for the paus group.

    Physiological effects: As compared to pre-intervention assessments, participants in the massage group condition showed significantly reductions in their resting heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure and an increase in their fingertip temperature directly after the intervention (post-intervention). The mechanical massage and mental training group showed a significant increase in diastolic blood pressure during the last four weeks of the study.

    The participants in the mental training group showed a significant decrease in their heart rate, when compared the start of the study to week four. The pause group tended to have lower systolic blood pressure at post-intervention assessment when compared to the pre-intervention assessment. The participants in the control group showed significantly decrease in heart rate and their systolic blood pressure.

    Conclusion:

    The workers’ who used the “recovery chair” with mechanical massage or mental training programs, either separately or in combination, for eight weeks during working hours reported a positive impact on their levels of anxiety and stress sensitivity. The results also showed positive effects on the workers' blood pressure, pulse and fingertip temperature. The effect was particularly strong for workers' who received only mechanical massage. This indicate that stress management interventions as work place health promotion activities clearly have a potential to provide significant benefit for health and wellbeing for workers.

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