Poor health costs the United States economy $576 billion dollars a year, says the Integrated Benefits Institute. That includes no-shows on the job, as well as when you go in but do not perform your best. If you are pushing papers poor performance might slow you down, but if you are driving a bus it could be disastrous. The CDC reports that 43% of U.S. workers don’t even get sick days, so most of them are going to work whether or not they are sick. Sickness from stress, obesity, and environmental factors are becoming epidemic. It is no secret that heart disease is the number one killer in the United States.
Most of us have a really hard time grasping the cost of $576 billion dollars, and for most of us, an unknown health threat like heart disease seems a distant problem. This kind of health threat is just not close enough to our daily lives to seem real unless a doctor has set us straight with a warning. After all, if we were focusing on the pitfalls around the corner constantly wouldn’t we be at risk for major depression? As part of the workforce most of us are focused on the day-to-day stuff. So let’s break it down to something we can understand, excluding major illnesses and other things that go bump in the night.
The average human, (that means you, more or less) gets between 2-4 colds per year. For each of those colds you will head off and buy an assortment of over-the-counter treatments, such as tissues, cough drops, aspirin, vitamin C and decongestant. We went to the pharmacy and added up some general costs. To grab a reasonably-priced bag of the above items would cost us around $33 each time. Over the course of the year that is $132, not counting unpaid sick days.
If even one of those colds sends you to the doctor’s office which many colds end up doing, you’re shelling out even more of your hard-earned cash. Blue Cross states that the average doctor’s office visit for such a thing costs between $130-$180, not including any prescriptions that are written out of the deal, and that’s just for one visit. So our total for four colds comes to around $312, that’s if only one gets bad enough to see a doc but does not need medication… Seems like a lot doesn’t it? And this does not cover other kinds of illnesses that can rise from a compromised system; this is only the common cold. From cancers to infections, the stronger your immune system is the less at risk you are.
So the question becomes, why are more of us not investing in health care prevention? And what can you do? Well, some of us are, and it turns out, one of the easiest things you can do besides good diet and exercise, is get a massage. Most of us view massages as a luxury, however a study from Cedar Sinai, says differently. (See the study) The study compared subjects who were given ‘light touch’ to subjects who were given Swedish massage by licensed individuals. In the Swedish massage group, the subjects found a decrease in arginine vasopressin (the hormone that regulates blood pressure and water retention and is linked to the stress hormone cortisol) and increase in white blood cell production.
The study suggests that getting a massage has a real and distinct benefit to boosting the immune system on multiple levels. The American Massage Therapy Association says that only 15% of us in (2011) are getting massaged, while 50% of doctors are recommending them. Massage therapy has long been considered a luxury, and when you are opening your pocket book for a day at the spa, or a visit to your local massage therapist, what you should really be thinking is how you are actually investing in your health by boosting your immune system. Too often we are treating illness, which is too little; too late as well as far more costly, when paying for a few massages a year may actually SAVE you money in the long run.
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