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Spas try new therapies to tackle workplace woes

By Staff
Google Oneindia News

NEW YORK, Jan 13 (Reuters) When massage therapist Grace Mcnow first heard the term ''BlackBerry Thumb,'' she didn't know what it meant.

Now, treating it is a new and booming part of her spa business.

Therapies to treat workplace woes such as a sore thumb from tapping on a hand-held computer, the aches of ''Tech Neck'' fro m typing on a laptop or even skin irritation from chatting on a cell phone are the latest rage to hit high-end spas, where the weary can seek relief at the end of an arduous workday.

''It's huge,'' said Cindy Barshop, the founder of Completely Bare salons in New York, who has introduced Purity Plus facials to help clean clogged pores and breakouts tied to cellular telephone use.

''I'm pretty shocked,'' she said about the popularity of the new service. ''Everybody's calling me about it. I think a lot of people have that problem.'' The Purity Plus facial at Completely Bare, complete with herbal mask, steam treatment and massage, costs 185 dollars and takes roughly an hour.

Joe Silverman, 31, was one of the first clients to sign up for the new ''Tech Neck'' massage at the Dorit Baxter New York Day Spa in midtown Manhattan.

''I've been feeling such pain with keyboards and BlackBerry typing and always being on the go,'' said Silverman, who owns technology company New York Computer Help. ''We don't take care of ourselves, whether it's our posture or just pressure.

''You go home and you go to sleep, and you start to turn over or you are trying to move, you definitely feel it,'' he added. ''It definitely takes a toll.'' Mcnow, at her spa Graceful Services, started offering specialized massages for ''BlackBerry Thumb'' and ''Tech Neck'' last month after getting requests from clients.

They've proven to be among her most sought-after services.

''When they first called me, I didn't know what 'BlackBerry Thumb' was,'' she said. ''Now I know.'' Her massages feature deep muscle pressure intended to relax the shoulders, neck and arms.

Named after Ontario-based Research In Motion Ltd's popular personal digital assistant, the stress-related injury ''BlackBerry Thumb'' was recently recognized by the American Physical Therapy Association as an official workplace malady.

Aida Bicaj, who offers cell-phone facials at 225 dollars a session in a townhouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side, says she has found a wealth of clients among stressed-out professionals and office employees who are overworked in competitive jobs.

''With that, you have a lack of sleep and you have stress,'' she said. ''It's identified in your face right away.'' REUTERS SY VC0928

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