Study reveals significant health benefits of employee wellness programs

Using research involving more than 1,400 workers who participated in employee wellness programs, scientists at Henry Ford Hospital (HFH) in Detroit found that the interventions were successful in alleviating a host of stress-related conditions.

Authors of the study noted that chronic neck, back and head pain – often linked to anxiety – is estimated to cost U.S. employers $61 billion annually due to poor productivity.

The researchers began following the workers in 2007. Since then, the scientists observed that the wellness initiatives resulted in an improvement in chronic pain for 76 percent of the study group and a complete elimination of such discomforts for 39 percent of the individuals.

“Chronic pain and stress are intricately related and the importance of stress as a causal and/or aggravating factor in most chronic illnesses cannot be underestimated,” says Alba Rodriguez, Ph.D., of HFH. “These group programs have proven to be more effective than other approaches, and are more efficient and less expensive than most one-on-one care, whether conventional or alternative.”

Additional findings included a 74 percent reduction in workplace stress, a 50 percent alleviation in stress-related illnesses, such as high blood pressure and gastrointestinal conditions. Moreover, 70 percent of the employees reported that they were able to eliminate their use of pain medications.

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