By Susan Shekut, MA, Clinical Professional Psychology, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

I’m happy to report that in January 2015, Working Well Massage, Inc. has been in business successfully for 15 years!

We are appreciative of all of our corporate clients, our chair massage clients at our chair stations inside Whole Foods Market and to our families and friends!

A Shout Out to Working Well Massage Staff

Working Well Massage is proud to have highly skilled, talented massage therapists on our team, but we are not only proud of our staff because they give great massages. We also think they are great people! Without infringing on the privacy of our staff, we do want to give them a shout out and tell you about some of their accomplishments.

Yuriy waiting for his next client at Whole Foods Gold Coast

Yuriy, One of our Wonderful Massage Therapists at Whole Foods Gold Coast

First off, through the years we have had a few team members that are veterans of the U.S Armed Forces. One of our team members has volunteered his time and effort to help out fellow veterans through the years. We also have had a number of our staff active in the arts community, with some of our staff also accomplishing some fame as actors, singers, dancers and writers. Other staff members teach yoga, provide personal training and corrective exercise. Some of our staff were born and raised in far off lands like Russia, the Ukraine, Morocco and Indiana. :) We know that moving to a different country, learning a new language and becoming a U.S. citizen is a huge brave undertaking and we are super proud of our team members that have made the move and now work with us to provide our clients with relaxation and pain relief!

We also proud of our staff that have taught in area massage schools and provide mentoring to fellow massage therapists at WWM and in the general massage community.  Many of our massage therapists are active in massage organizations, advocating for other massage therapists and providing free massages at charity events from time to time. And a few of our team members have left the massage field to go on to nursing, business, acupuncture and counseling fields. We miss them and wish them well!

Working Well Massage Clients

Through the years, we have given massages at five different Whole Foods Market locations and currently have booths in two Whole Foods stores, the Gold Coast and Lincoln park Locations. We are super appreciative of our successful partnership with Whole Foods Markets and look forward to many more years of providing Whole Foods shoppers and team members with our relaxing massages.




Working Well Massage has also been privileged to provide Chicago area workers with massage throughout the Chicagoland area for the past 15 years. To protect the privacy of our corporate clients, we do will no list specific names, but we will say that we are happy to be part of the wellness initiative at several successful financial firms, marketing and advertising agencies, Chicagoland area schools, at police stations and firehouses, mental health centers, hospitals, universities,  healthcare firms, software firms, publishing houses, photo studios, tax firms, condo associations, and manufacturing and distribution firms.

Multi-ethnic business portrait

We enjoy working with all of our clients and we believe that their success is as important as our success. So we hope that our relaxation and pain management massage services helps their staff be productive, happy and able to keep their companies working well!

15 Free Massages to Celebrate!

To celebrate our 15 years in business successfully, we are giving away 15 fifteen-minute massages to the first 15 WWM clients who email us at info@workingwellmassage.com with the message “Free 15-Minute Massage” in the subject line.

Massages are then redeemable at either our Lincoln Park or our Gold Coast massage stations in Chicago. One 15-minute gift certificate per client. Clients must provide their full names, phone numbers and mailing addresses in their email to us in order to receive their 15-minute massage gift certificate.

Thank you Chicago area clients! We could not have done reached 15 years in business without you!

By Susan Shekut, MA, Clinical Professional Psychology, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Corporate clients ask us how to help their employees incorporate more movement at work. It’s a tricky issue as most office work is done on a computer which requires the user to sit or stand in front of it for hours. Doing any repetitive movement for hours can lead to pain and muscle soreness. The key is to move frequently in different positions. Simply standing up periodically, stretching, going to the restroom or walking around the office lets your muscles take a break from the repetitive movements and stiffness of prolonged sitting.

Photo by Steelcase

Photo by Steelcase

Desks that allow employees to alternate between sitting and standing are helpful. Steelcase has a few options as well as many other vendors.

Here are some other tips on adding more movement into your work day.  Woman’s Health has this article, Easy Ways to Move More At Work.

For the science-minded, here is a promising pilot study from The Journal of Environmental and Public Health about helping employees remember to move more at work. A Pilot Study of Increasing Nonpurposeful Movement Breaks at Work as a Means of Reducing Prolonged Sitting. The study shows that passive prompts tend to be most encouraging to help people remember to move frequently throughout the day. The passive prompts were computer based  timed prompt that reminded staff s get up and perform some kind of “nonpurposeful movement.”  In the study, the software program used gave staff   a choice of 60 office-appropriate activities (i.e., walking, taking the stairs, and retrieving the photocopies). to complete. Employees were able to select the active, and choose the duration and intensity of each activity or nonpurposeful movement.    To read the full study, click here.

Even the government has gotten on the movement bandwagon and created a program to help federal employees move more at work. Click here for info about the Veteran’s Health Administrations Success With Increasing Movement at Work.

If all else falls, employers can provide push scooters for their staff. If the halls are long enough, people can push their way around the office! Roller skates and Roller blades in the office may be going too far though. Unless your office is the Fantasy Factory  at Dyrdek Enterprises.


By Susan Shekut, MA, Clinical Professional Psychology, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Happy New Year to Working Well Resource readers!

New Year's Eve at Navy Pier Chicago. Photo from Time Out Chicago.

New Year’s Eve at Navy Pier Chicago. Photo from Time Out Chicago.

We hope you enjoyed our blog this past year and we look forward to sharing more with you in 2015. New Year’s Eve is a time many celebrate and yearn for fun and excitement. This December 31, 2014, fellow Chicagoans, please make sure you are warmly dressed, have safe ride home if you go out and enjoy yourself without over indulging. We want to hear more from you in 2015!

Check out these blog posts for the latest in wellness trends for 2015:

Top health industry issues of 2015 (Do it yourself health care, Privacy versus convenience, expanding scope of practice and more!)

6 Fitness Trends for 2015 That Have the Experts Buzzing (Wearable monitors, streaming workouts, trendmill classes the new Soulcycle? and more)

Wellness Travel Trends for 2015 (eco-conscious travel adventures, fitness tracking on vaca, actual gazing versus photo blazing, airports with indoor green space

15 Top Diet Trends for 2015  (sprinkle superfoods, less beef, more green tea, good fats, and less complacent consumers!)

By Susan Shekut, MA, Clinical Professional Psychology, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Today a dear friend, who has a very generous spirit herself, shared a great resource,  The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose.” This  book that explores the science behind the relationship between giving and well-being. The book is timely in this holiday season with emphasis on giving and gifting.

The Paradox of Generosity Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose

The Amazon page describes the book as focusing not only on material giving to others, but on the many forms that giving can take. Authors Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson explore and illuminate the impact that giving has on people.  This book explains the The Paradox of Generosity study and uses data from an extensive survey of 2,000 Americans, over sixty in-depth interviews with people across twelve states, and analyzes  over 1,000 photographs and other visual materials. This study shows a consistent correlation between demonstrating generosity and leading a better life. According to the study, the more generous people are happier, suffer fewer illnesses and injuries, live with a greater sense of purpose, and experience less depression than less giving individuals.

I appreciate that the study did not measure giving solely through monetary means. Anyone can benefit from generosity, even if a person has little material wealth. Giving one’s time and energy, sharing a kind thought or simply giving undivided attention to another versus being preoccupied with one’s self, can be a form of generosity.

Working Well Massage has many corporate clients who make generous donations to charities, schools and communities. We value our client’s privacy and so we do not divulge their names nor their giving records, but we are proud to ally with our corporate partners and we celebrate their generous spirits! We at Working Well Massage also give to organizations and individuals who are near and dear to our hearts such as Climate Cycle, massage research related organizations and to our clients, business partners and staff!  Giving helps us stay healthy as people and as an organization. (Being balanced, selective, and private about our giving allows us to remain in business so we can keep on giving.)

Read an in-depth article about the book by the study authors, Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson, in Fast Company here.

Read a really intriguing article from PBS NEWSHOUR about the alleged stinginess of Americans and the reasons why so many of us having difficulty giving.  In the PBS article, Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson state that: “When it comes to generosity with money, time, skills and relationships, we know that relaxing, letting go, and giving away is not often automatic or easy. This is especially true in American culture, which from all sides constantly pounds home messages of scarcity, discontent, insecurity and acquisition. These messages may serve to grow the consumer economy, but they are often not good for the consumers.”


By Susan Shekut, MA, Clinical Professional Psychology, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Mercy Home Mentoring

Walking, dancing and playing all all great forms of exercise. Photo from Mercy Home Training.

In the article, “Exercise reorganizes the brain to be more resilient to stress,” we learn that Princeton researchers found that exercise “reorganized the brain” to make  anxiety less likely to interfere with normal brain activity and to reduce the stress response.  How did they find this out? They tested the effects of exercise and stress on mice. Mice who had regular exercise experienced less anxiety when exposed to stress (cold water) than mice who were sedentary.

What does this mean for us humans? First off, I know mice are not human, but they are mammals like us, and researchers often use mice to investigate potential impacts of  different experiences on humans. Secondly, anxiety is a huge problem in our modern world. If exercise can help us better handle stress (and, hint, hint, Winter has a lot of cold weather, which can add to our stress levels!) and help us be less anxious when exposed to stress, it is yet another reason to make regular exercise part of your daily life.

Keep in mind that exercise does not have to mean going to the gym and lifting weights for 3 hours. (Although that is fine too if that’s what floats your boat and you have time and energy to do so!) Expecting yourself to do more than you can do can create anxiety, so don’t set yourself up for failure by expecting yourself to become a gym rat to be healthy. Exercise can be going for a walk, doing yoga or lifting dumbbells in front of your television. The point is to sit less and move more to improve your ability to manage stress in your life!

Now, I’m going to get off my computer and get some exercise!

By Susan Shekut, MA, Clinical Professional Psychology, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

In Cranial Therapy Discredited, one of my favorite science-based authors, Nick Ng, writes about the likely mechanism for client improvement in cranial sacral therapy… it really is likely all in your head (bad pun intended)! Nick explains that proponents of cranial sacral therapy claim that bones in our heads need to be moved to keep us healthy. Yet science has yet to show this to be true. First off, adult skull bones are fused and do not move. At all. Unless they move in unison with your head (when nodding and shaking your head, your whole skull moves).  Secondly, the idea of people moving cerebral spinal fluid via small hand movements defies what we know of science.

That all said, for some, laying on a massage table for an hour, having a kind person gently hold and rock the body can be relaxing all by itself. And in our hectic modern lives, being gently held and therapeutically touched for a period of time, away from cell phones, family obligations, work stress and traffic, is something people pay money for.

Read Nick Ng’s entire article here. Nick is a fitness trainer, bodyworker, and science writer.

Nick Ng, photo by Writerscsasozi

Nick Ng, photo by Writerscsasozi

By Susan Shekut, MA, Clinical Professional Psychology, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Undergoing cancer treatment is stressful. Trying to take care of your housecleaning adds to that stress.  Cleaning For a Reason offers free house cleaning services to women, 19 years or older, undergoing treatment for cancer (any type of cancer) in the United States and Canada.

Incorporated in Texas in 2006 as a not-for-profit foundation, Cleaning for a Reason has provided more than 17,000 cleanings nationally for  women, with a value of more than $4,500,000 with the help of over 1,100 participating maid services who volunteer their time to clean.



How Does The Service Work?

Cleaning for a Reason partners with professional residential maid services (who are insured or insured or bonded and perform background checks on their employees) to participate in our foundation. The partner companies take 2 patients at a time and offer each patient 4 free cleanings, one a month for 4 consecutive months as a way to give back to their community. Patient applications are accepted online. Once Cleaning for a Reason staff receive a patient’s physician’s verification of treatment, they match the patients with a maid service partner. Patients can schedule cleaning services through the partner maid service while they are undergoing treatment or at a time that is convenient for them. FAQ page here.


How Do Patients Sign Up For the Services?

Patients Can Sign Up Here by filling out a short online application.    Do not contact the cleaning service directly.


How Can I Help?

Cleaning For a Reason cleaning services are not done by volunteers. However, the foundation does need donations and volunteers in other capacities for fundraising and office work in local partner offices.   Donations are always needed and appreciated as well as being tax-deductible. Click here to donate to Cleaning For a Reason. If you are able to Donate $1000 or more, become a sponsor by clicking here.


How Did Cleaning For a Reason Get Started?

From their website: Cleaning for a Reason was the brainchild of President and Founder, Debbie Sardone, owner of Buckets & Bows Maid Service, Lewisville, TX.


Debbie Sardone, President/Founder of Cleaning For a Reason

Debbie took a phone call from a prospective client several years ago. After providing the woman a price quote, the prospect paused before saying, “I won’t be able to afford that now; I’m undergoing cancer treatment” and hung up. Debbie hadn’t gotten the woman’s phone number and was unable to call back to make arrangements. In that instant, Debbie decided that no woman undergoing cancer treatment would ever be turned down by her business. In fact, they would be given free housecleaning service.

Calling her staff, Debbie announced the new policy, which the company has used over and over, through the years. In 2005, Debbie shared her story with other maid services at a national cleaning industry convention. She shared her conviction that it was these women, undergoing the physical, emotional; and financial rigors of cancer treatment, who needed professional housecleaning services the most. An onslaught of cleaning business owners began expressing their interest and support. When she returned to Texas, Debbie registered Cleaning For A Reason as a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation. With word of this at the next convention, maid services began signing up to donate their services on the spot.


Why Not Offer Cleaning Services to Men or People With Other Illnesses

While Debbie and the foundation would like to help everyone, they realized they do not have the resources to offer their services to a wide range of people with a variety of illnesses. The team at Cleaning for a Reason wants to remain focused on their primary mission. However, others are free to start free cleaning or helping services with their own foundation. Debbie and Cleaning For a Reason is a great role model for how to go about creating such a service!


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