News and Research


Where is the Evidence?


At VivaWell we take an evidenced-based approach to our service to provide the best care to our clients. VivaWell continuously review and monitor the growing body of research in the massage therapy and employee health and wellbeing sectors to remain at the forefront of industry standards.



Massage New Zealand Awareness Week 2014

Media Release – Stress and anxiety: Relax and ease the pressure with Massage Therapy

The focus of 2014 Massage NZ Awareness week, from Monday 4 – 10th August, is Stress and Anxiety.  Approximately 15% of the NZ population are affected by anxiety disorders.  If left untreated anxiety can lead to poor social functioning and decreased resistance to illness.  Learn more: MNZAW 2014 Media Release-1


Anxiety and stress: How can massage help?

Research has shown massage can help stress and anxiety by reducing painful feelings, enabling deep sleep, lowering stress hormones and heart rate, boost immune system and relax tense muscles.  Learn more: MNZ_Stress__Anxiety_brochure_May_2014


Massage therapy reduces low back pain

Published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, (2011)

A review of a randomised, controlled trial comparing effects of 2 types of massage versus usual care of patients with low back pain.  The study found “massage therapy improved function and decreased pain more than usual care in patients with uncomplicated chronic low back pain after 10 weeks”.  Learn more


Patients with fibromyalgia find comfort in massage myofascial release therapy

Published in the journal Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine(2011)

A review of the study ‘Benefits of massage-myofascial release therapy on pain, anxiety, quality of sleep, depression and qualilty of life in patients with Fibromyalgia’ found significant improvements in pain, anxiety, quality of sleep and quality of life after a 20-week massage-myofascial release treatment programme was administered to fibromyalgia patients.  Learn more


ACC: Discomfort, pain & injury (DPI) guidelines

Many of New Zealand workers suffer discomfort, pain and injury (DPI) in their muscles and bones at some point in their working life.  In 2005 over 80,000 pain and discomfort claims were made to ACC costing more than $150 million.  These guidelines published by ACC give businesses an overview of the benefits of preventing and managing DPI in the workplace. Learn more


FTSE 100 research: health and wellbeing public reporting trends

Business in the Community, UK (May, 2010)

An analysis of FTSE 100 employers by Business in the Community (BITC) found that companies which took active steps to improve health and wellbeing at work enhanced financial performance by 10 per cent on average in 2009.  Learn more


The impact of workplace health and wellness programmes on business productivity

Southern Cross Health Society (2011)

A survey evaluating the impact of workplace health and wellness programmes on business productivity.  Highlights include:

  • Health and wellness programmes are increasing with over 80 per cent of respondents either having a programme in place or under consideration.
  • Most organisations find there are important business benefits from having a health and wellness programme including fewer days off work due to injury and fewer sickness absence days.
  • senior management need to be fully engaged and supportive of the programme
  • regularly scheduled health and wellness activities is essential.  Learn more


Workplace Wellness: A literature review for NZWell@Work

Ministry of  Health (2009)

Commissioned by the Ministry of Health, this informative review evaluates the evidence behind workplace health programmes.  The benefits to employers include:

  • A healthy, happy and present workforce: reduced absenteeism and presenteeism, improved employee engagement, recruitment and retention, a happier, more resilient workforce, a positive workplace culture, improved industrial relations
  • Increased employee performance and productivity
  • Financial benefits: reduced health care costs, reduced costs relating to absenteeism and presenteeism, return on investment (from improved productivity [i.e. increased innovation or efficiency] or cost savings [i.e. reduced workplace accidents, fewer staff absences, greater staff retention meaning recruitment and training costs are minimised).
  • Research shows the economic return on investment for various workplace health programmes ranged from $1.50USD to $5.96USD saved for every $1US spent.

The benefits to employees include:

  • Health benefits (including physical well-being and clinical health improvements such as reduced cholesterol, reduced risk of chronic disease, reduced incidence of musculoskeletal disorders), increased mental well-being, energy and resilience, reduced stress and depression and increased quality of life.
  • Financial benefits (e.g. including reduced expenditure on medical costs and receipt of incentives).
  • Improved job satisfaction.  Learn more


The hidden costs of unhealthy employees

Southern Cross Health Society (2008)

A survey conducted by Southern Cross Health Society found that New Zealand employers are paying a high cost for the poor health of their employees.  Highlights of the study show:

  • The total cost to employers from the poor health of employees is estimated at $2 billion per year.
  • The average cost per employee per year is estimated at over $1,500.
  • Two-thirds of the costs per employee of poor health is a result of ‘presentee’ days.  Learn more


Sick at work – the cost of   presenteeism to business, employees and the economy

Medibank Private Australia (2007)

Presenteeism is the loss of productivity that occurs when employees come to work but are not fully functioning because of an illness or injury.  A study commissioned by Medibank Private found that:

  • In 2005-06, the cost of presenteeism to Australian businesses and the economy was over $25 billion annually.
  • On average, 6 working days of productivity are lost for each employee each year as a result of presenteeism.
  • The cost of presenteeism is nearly 4 times the cost of absenteeism.  Learn more