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More area firms paying employees to relax; Yoga, meditation seen as health care boons
by Annys Shin
Washington Post Translate This Article
3 March 2005
On 3 March 2005 Washington Post reported:
More companies are offering to fund tools that will help employees 'relieve stress, boost productivity, and control healthcare costs'. One example cited was Tower Companies in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, where workers are encouraged to take a four-day course on the Transcendental Meditation Programme from the nearby Maharishi Peace Palace.
It is a joy for Global Good News service to feature this news, which indicates the success of the life-supporting programmes Maharishi has designed to bring
fulfilment to the field of business.
Tower Companies, which already has a reputation for 'green' buildings using recycled materials, began twelve years ago offering free meditation classes to employees at its headquarters as a way to contain stress-related ailments and healthcare costs.
One of the real estate developer's owners, Jeffrey Abramson was quoted as saying, 'The missing key to any healthcare system is prevention.'
About two years ago, Tower began offering meditation to employees in its office properties as well.
Abramson told the Washington Post that he can tell the difference between those employees who meditate and those who do not. Said Abramson, 'They seem brighter, fresher. People need tools to enable them to become more successful without negative ramifications. The old model was you work until you drop—that was how you prove your worth. When you look at Americans, so many of them have hypertension. Our physiologies are not designed to operate at a very stressful level.'
The article also looked at other tools used by businesses across the country, including yoga, reflexology, and massage therapy. The upside for employers is reduced healthcare costs. The article cited a 2002 Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine report that found: 'that a wellness programme at Coors Brewing Co produced a return of $6.15 for every dollar invested over a six-year period. The same report found that office furniture maker Steelcase Inc. received a return of $5.80 for every dollar it spent on its wellness programme over five years. Equitable Life Insurance reaped a $5.52 return, and Travelers Corp, now part of Citigroup Inc., got a $3.40 return for each dollar they invested over their first year.'
The article also noted that popularity of yoga and meditation may go beyond simple stress relief. Ian Mitroff, a professor of business policy at the University of Southern California was quoted as saying, 'Yoga and meditation...have a spiritual aspect. People spend the majority of their waking hours at work. They're looking for meaning and purpose,' he said.
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