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Massage is not a luxury February 16, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Fun stuff, Random musings.

I am a firm believer in the necessity of massages. When you sit at a computer as much as we do, your muscles tend to stiffen up and get sore. In addition to practicing ergonomic posture I also try to get a massage once a month. One of my students at Kent took my advice about ergonomics and investing in a good desk chair and bought a massaging desk chair. She’s never regretted it.

My neck and shoulder muscles spasmed over the weekend, and I developed a tension headache from the pain. I tried to get an appointment on Sunday at Massage Envy despite the fact that I have an hour massage scheduled at my favorite spa on Friday. Instead I went in for a 20-minute massage today and ended up signing up for a membership, which gives you one 1-hour massage a month for just $49 and discounts on additional services. She loosened muscles I didn’t even realize I had in my head and neck in just 20 minutes, and I feel great.

Monthly massages are one expense that I can get behind, especially since Massage Envy is much cheaper than my favorite spa. If you have a Massage Envy near you (they have 800 locations nationwide) I highly recommend joining. The clients there raved about the package when I was signing up. I’m looking forward to treating myself to a monthly massage with a certified massage therapist and being less tense. Does anyone know if you can write the expense off as a business expense? I’ll have to call my CPA and ask…



1. Irish polyglot - February 16, 2009

Sounds like good value… but I’m in India right now and they have 20 styles of massage, for your head, shoulders, back, feet, legs, front body, full body etc. An hour long full body massage costs $3 from a professional. I get a head massage every few days for $0.40. Haggling and paying in rupees is fun! 😀

Otherwise, since my office changes location every few weeks, apart from looking for a comfortable place to work I always bring an arm rest with me. It’s actually one of those small head pillows you buy at airports but it folds out so I can lean my arms on it; very easy to travel with. My arms thank me for using it all time time! Otherwise keeping good posture is important.

2. jillsommer - February 16, 2009

Sure, Benny, make us all jealous! $3 for a massage. Unbelievable. Oh, and it must be rough watching Lost on the beach. Hope you are enjoying yourself.

3. conceição - February 17, 2009

it´s not luxury, and if you have neck pains a osteopath can help better than only a masssge. try it. and massage also your hands. of i translate and write alot in my laptop. have a nice day from europe.


4. Kevin Lossner - February 17, 2009

Sounds like familiar trouble. My version of it I call “translator’s shoulder” from a bad habit of leaning to the left when I work and think. Once in a while reconstruction work on my back by the local Thai massage expert is necessary to keep going. It works better than the goofy electrostimulus things that my partner’s orthopedic specialist prescribed.

In principle I can’t see why these services should not be tax deductible. They are certainly important for relieving occupationally related problems. But given the complexity of tax law, who knows? What’s true for you in the US may not apply to someone elsewhere & vice versa.

5. Judy Jenner - February 18, 2009

I completely agree on masssages and try to get them frequently (if they were $3 in India, I’d get more, you lucky Irish Polyglot you!). I am constantly in neck and shoulder pain, and have gone through physical therapy, cat scans, chiropractor (scary), acupunctue, etc — to no avail. Looks like it must be posture, which I really watch. Massage makes me feel better for a while, but doesn’t make the pain go away. It’s still worth it! Just got a tip from a massage therapist here in Vienna: need to adjust my monitor/chair so I am looking slightly down on the screen as opposed to up. Also, most developers have their keyboards far away from them, which forces you to put your forearms on the table, creating a 90-degree angle, which is apparently important.

I think it’s also very important to take breaks every 60 minutes and do some head and neck stretches. Working out and getting the muscles moving once a day also seems to be a good idea.

From what I remember from my tax book (which I don’t have with me now), massages are not tax deductible, but check with your tax guru to make sure. 😉

I want a $3 massage, too!

6. Irish polyglot - February 18, 2009

I am enjoying myself! It’s great – there is nobody complaining about recessions and plummeting economies in this tropical paradise! The only problem is being the only westerner working while everyone else is on holiday… also, getting Internet at home was way too complicated so I have to work in an Internet café, which is a challenge in itself! You are seeing all the “woes” of beach life from my twitter updates 😛

Just spend a couple of hundred dollars on the ticket to India and then get all the $3 massages you want! The overall price works out better of course, but it will definitely be much harder to write off a flight to India for massages as a business expense!! 😉

7. Corinne McKay - February 18, 2009

OK, I’m really ready for a $3 massage!! I also have to recommend yoga podcasts; you can get free 20-minute yoga classes of all flavors from http://www.yogadownload.com . I load them on my iPod and do a 20 minute yoga session at lunch and at night; it really helps with the desk-related creakiness.

8. Amelia - February 18, 2009

@4 and 5: Ouch! And poor Judy. I played tennis in high school and thus have a right shoulder that’s used to taking all the burdens. Found out that it tends to rise up when I’m translating, so that I can get twisted into a corkscrew and think I’m sitting straight. The worst thing I can do is work without a back to my chair. No kneeling chairs or bouncy balls for me. Hotel pillows also inevitably give me a stiff neck–I’m better off with no pillow at all.

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