Meditation taught at business schools

12644355_m2

At the Drucker School of Business  in Claremont, California, students working on their MBA are being taught to be in the moment.  That is to say, mindful and  aware of what is actually happening in the present.  Companies including Google Inc. and General Mills Inc. are embracing mindfulness training with the aim of making their workforces less reactive, more resilient — even more creative.

A brass bowl and a leather covered mallet. are the tools that are used in classes for this exercise.  Clearing the mind of all the chatter (monkey mind as some Buddhists call it), is the key element for mindfulness.  It’s about paying attention to what’s going around you.  Jeremy Hunter, a professor at the Drucker School of Business says it’s like upgrading human ability.

Meditation is no new fad.  It’s been happening for about 2500 years in Indian and Asian cultures.  American business are learning something about being less reactive in situations and  more about choosing to change behavior in stressful situations.  Steve Jobs credits Zen meditation as a way of being focused while he was running Apple.

Some businesses might consider this as airy-fairy, but if Steve Jobs and Google find it useful, it might be worth giving it a try.

Corporate Massage can reduce tension of dis-satisified employees

Commentary August 12, 2010, 5:00PM EST

Dreaming of Steven Slater

The airline worker’s dramatic exit from his job seemed to spring from the collective imagination of a hot, angry, overworked, and underpaid America

By Devin Leonardimgres

Click here to find out more!

What’s remarkable about the case of Steven Slater, the JetBlue (JBLU) flight attendant who quit his job in magnificent style on Aug. 9, is not that an airline worker would snap after an encounter with an unruly passenger on a mid -morning Pittsburgh-to-JFK run. It’s that so much of the rest of the country applauded. While possibly committing several serious violations of federal law, Slater’s every move”using the plane’s P.A. system to curse at a rude customer whose bag had landed on his head, politely thanking the other passengers, grabbing two beers from the galley before sliding down the inflatable emergency chute and sprinting toward home”seemed to spring from the collective imagination of a hot, angry, overworked, and underpaid America.

Headline writers describing the incident invoked Johnny Paycheck’s No. 1 country hit from the hard times of 1977, Take This Job and Shove It. Most of them, however, missed the twist that gives the song its emotional weight: The singer never works up the courage to leave his detested factory job. He simply fantasizes about having “the nerve to say” it, the way so many Americans dreamed themselves into Slater’s JetBlue shoes.

Slater “a 20-year veteran of the airline industry who gushes on his MySpace page about his commitment to his career” was lounging in bed with his boyfriend when the police came to arrest him at his Queens (N.Y.) home. As they perp-walked him past the cameras, Slater grinned from ear to ear, as if to tell his fellow Americans: “It feels great!

The public response was swift and overwhelming. People created dozens of Facebook pages with names such as “Steven Slater: Hero of the Working Man.” Two days after his arrest the pages had attracted more than 180,000 fans. The admirers were soon sharing quitting stories of their own, occasionally with details about the boss they told off. More often they shared their dreams of doing so. On a page called “Can Steven Slater Get More Fans Than Justin Bieber?” a Facebook user named Karen Bonner struck a typically wistful note: “I wish I had the nerve…,” she wrote.

We are deep into what is so far the hottest year in recorded history, and into the second year of a prolonged economic slump. Unemployment is stuck at 9.5 percent, with an additional 7 percent of Americans either holding in part-time positions or no longer looking for work and thus no longer even counted as unemployed. A grim new noun has entered the lexicon “99ers,” people whose 99 weeks of extended jobless benefits have all run dry. No wonder the vast majority of people who have jobs aren’t about to give up a steady paycheck, no matter what indignities are visited upon them. That doesn’t mean they aren’t secretly ready to explode. “Slater tapped into a vein of anger that a lot of people have toward their employers,” says John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based outplacement firm. “They are mad about all the layoffs they’ve gone through at work. They are mad about having their benefits cut.”

In such an environment you might expect to find more Steven Slaters. Despite some of the recent boasting on Facebook, few people are giving notice. Though the economy showed fitful signs of life earlier this year, people didn’t head for the exit chute; the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the rate of people quitting barely budged from January through May. And that was before consumer confidence plunged and economists started talking about the possibility of a double-dip recession. In a job market like this, almost everybody feels expendable. It’s the job “however unsatisfying it may be” that’s hard to replace.

Sandwiched between these phenomena, employees feel mounting pressure. Last year, according to the federal government, worker productivity climbed 3.5 percent as companies shed millions of employees and figured out ways to get more work from those who remained. It was the biggest increase in six years and great for corporate profits. It was considerably less great for workplace morale. According to Towers Watson (TW), a benefits consulting firm, employee engagement, or loyalty, declined by 9 percent in 2009. Until the recovery picks up, however, those disengaged workers are staying on.

Maybe the best they can do is reach for a second beer, turn the A/C to deep freeze, and live vicariously through Slater. He has been charged with reckless endangerment and criminal mischief, and faces seven years in prison. Yet only the hardest of hearts would deny him whatever monetization he can muster in return for this welcome moment of wish fulfillment. (Especially since he’s caring for his ill mother, herself a veteran of the airline industry.) If nothing else, Slater made a lot of Americans laugh at a grim moment in the life of the country. “What’s so great about this is that it’s a real life,” says Challenger. “It’s not scripted. It could have been scripted. I love the fact that he took two beers. If I was a beer company, I’d capitalize on that right away.”

Those in corporate America who don’t sign him up as a spokesperson would be wise to ponder Slater’s case. His admirers may not be as brave or impetuous as their hero, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be heading for the exits as soon as the economy picks up and new opportunities present themselves. As one of his fans, maskedscheduler, wrote on Twitter: “On behalf of all of us thinking about creative ways of leaving our jobs, screw you Steven Slater for setting the bar ridiculously high.”

Leonard is a reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek in New York.

Yoga For Cancer Patients

Yoga for Cancer Patients Provides Benefits of Sleep, VitalityMay 21, 2010, 12:03 AM EDT


By Tom Randall

May 21 (Bloomberg) — Touch toes. Downward dog. Breathe. It’s a yoga routine that cancer doctors have prescribed for years without evidence it would do much good. Now the biggest ever scientific study of yoga finds their instincts were right.

While yoga doesn’t cure the disease, its stretching and breathing exercises did improve sleep, reduce dependence on sedatives and help cancer patients resume the routine activities of everyday life, according to a 410-participant study being highlighted at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting in Chicago next month.

Health insurers and government programs don’t pay for yoga even as mounting evidence from dozens of smaller studies show benefits for treating chronic disease. The research and more than $5 million in additional tests funded this year by the National Institutes of Health may convince skeptical doctors and provide scientific evidence to allow coverage.

“Clinicians should now feel pretty comfortable prescribing gentle Hatha yoga or restorative yoga for their patients,” said Karen Mustian, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the department of radiation oncology and preventive medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “The data from this study is one of the first steps in the direction toward insurance coverage, but we’re not there yet.”

Doctors at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York aren’t waiting for more studies to start prescribing yoga. The hospital is one of the few facilities in the country to offer personal yoga therapy instruction for all of its sickest cancer patients.

Fighting Leukemia

David Goldberg, a 30-year-old computer programmer and recreational athlete, learned earlier this month that he has leukemia. The cancer cut short his five-mile runs and pick-up basketball games even before his diagnosis. Goldberg hadn’t considered yoga until checking into Beth Israel’s emergency department a few weeks ago and learning of his disease.

“I was certainly a little skeptical, but so far it’s been very helpful in relaxing me, getting me in a good state of mind,” Goldberg said before a 20-minute lesson in his hospital room. His instructor wears a mask to protect Goldberg, whose immune system has been weakened by five rounds of chemotherapy. “I’m hooked up to a machine, so I can’t totally forget that I have this. For me, it’s just an amazing experience to feel where my body is and what I’m experiencing.”

Cancer Meeting Highlight

The yoga study released yesterday by the cancer group is one of more than 4,500 reports showcased at this year’s meeting of 30,000 oncologists. Doctors have been especially interested in yoga’s muscle-toning stretches and meditative breathing, which practitioners say clears the mental fog of chemotherapy and the chronic fatigue that plagues some survivors for years.

In the Rochester study, about 8 out of 10 cancer survivors reported significant sleep impairment that affected their lives before the study. Half of the patients were assigned to yoga classes twice a week for one month. By the end of the trial, 31 percent of yoga patients no longer had the sleep disruptions, twice the recovery rate of patients who didn’t take classes.

Yoga practitioners also reported a 42 percent reduction in fatigue, compared with a 12 percent reduction for the control group. Yoga users decreased the use of sleep medication by 21 percent, while the control group actually increased reliance on sleeping drugs by 5 percent.

Learning More

Scientists still don’t know exactly what makes yoga work, said Lorenzo Cohen, professor of behavioral science and cancer prevention at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Cohen and his research group were awarded a $4.5 million U.S. grant this year for the biggest yoga and meditation study. His research will compare yoga to meditation and to stretching and will analyze economic benefits from increased productivity at work.

“Once we can show an economic impact, you’ll start to see changes,” Cohen said in an interview in New York. “Companies want to provide services that keep their employees healthy and productive.

“The concept that the brain can change if you put it into different states is a whole new wonderful science that’s emerging,” Cohen said.

Yoga began in India as a combination of physical and mental exercises. Historians have traced its roots back thousands of years to references in Buddhist and Hindu texts. In Western practices, muscle-stretching poses are accompanied by meditative breathing exercises. About 15.8 million Americans practiced yoga in 2008, according to a study commissioned by Yoga Journal.

The health benefits of yoga have been explored in scores of smaller studies looking at everything from weight loss to depression. Previous studies were too small to be considered definitive, and they are difficult to compare because most of them use differing definitions for just what “yoga” is.

Skepticism at First

“Ten years ago, there was almost complete skepticism from oncologists, but now most of them are coming around” said Woodson Merrell, chairman of the department of integrative medicine at Beth Israel. Merrell’s center is completing its own studies comparing patient improvements before and after the hospital’s holistic cancer floor was finished in March 2009.

Beth Israel’s yoga program was developed with celebrity instructor Rodney Yee and the Urban Zen Foundation set up by fashion designer Donna Karan, whose husband died of lung cancer. The hospital’s cancer floor also offers acupuncture, aromatherapy, a meditation room called the “Sanctuary” and massage chairs for patients and visitors.

Integrating Mind, Body

“We’re not talking about using a Ouija board and using fern leaves instead of chemotherapy,” Merrell said. “We’re talking about relaxation techniques to integrate the mind and body — instead of feeling disconnected from this cancer that’s in you, to feel that you’re a whole human being and you’re going on this path toward healing.”

For Goldberg’s fight against leukemia, yoga is a series of slow, gentle stretches, beginning with his feet and ending in his shoulders. The reclining poses are followed by guided breathing instructions that encourage him to let go of the sounds of the hospital and to focus on his thoughts and the sensations of his body.

After his session, Goldberg told his instructor that a headache that had been bothering him during a visit with his family had disappeared and his outlook on the world was little bit brighter than before. His doctors said his positive attitude is a strong medicine and his prognosis for recovery is good.

–Editors: Angela Zimm, Bruce Rule

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Randall in New York at trandall6@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net.

Luxury or Necessity: America’s #1 Natural Health Doctor Recommends Massage

Neck work at office massageDr. Andrew Weil is  a world renown authority on natural medicine as well as an MD.  This is a quote from Dr. Weil on the benefits of massage:

“Previous studies have found that massage can relieve chronic back pain, lessen the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, ease post-operative pain, reduce headache frequency, relieve arthritis pain, reduce blood pressure, improve immune function, reduce symptoms among children with cerebral palsy, help ease labor pain and anxiety, reduce nausea and vomiting in post-operative patients, and ease symptoms among Parkinson’s disease patients. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture “massage has proven efficacy for reducing pain, anxiety, stress, and depression in patients with a wide range of medical problems. If you have an interest in its effects on any specific disorder, I suggest visiting the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine (www.miami.edu/touch-research/Massage.htm) where you’ll find a detailed listing of studies.”

andrew_weil_bw_617_347

Office chair massage can help your employees maintain their health, and thus reduce their sick days, and improve the performance of your company.

Email us for a quote and get wellness and well-being into your company today!

LOS ANGELES SEATED CHAIR MASSAGES

20803930_mBody Charge is headquartered in the Los Angeles area and provides corporate seated chair massage for the local community.  Our seated office massages help relax your employees and rewards them for a job well done.

We can mobilize a team quickly for you here, and have been working in Los Angeles for over 15 years, with many local businesses and entertainment companies as our references.  Corporate on-site massage and reflexology are our specialties with a well-trained, professional staff.

The Body Charge Team is a group of therapists that are trained in stress reduction techniques designed specifically for office settings.  With massage, iPod music and aromatherapy, the team creates an atmosphere that is conducive to relaxation,  while the therapist performs on site seated massage.

Companies such as Legal Zoom.com, J2 Global Communications, DaVita Dialysis, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, TBWA Chiat/Day Advertising, Holthouse Carlin & Van Trigt, Fandango, are all companies that are based in LA and we would be happy to offer references from companies in the area.

Please give us a call today at 818-986-9019,  for 24/7  on- call service.