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24 February 2013

Massage therapy offers students stress relief

College students undergo a lot of stress – juggling academics and social life is no easy task. Conveniently, the Wellness Center offers a special service that can help take the edge off.

Ever since the center’s opening in January 1996, massage therapy from licensed therapists has been offered to members of the community, faculty, staff and students.

According to Audrey Garber, one of the three licensed therapists on staff at the Wellness Center, relief of “chronic stress” is one of the major benefits of massage therapy.

“People of every demographic can benefit from receiving massage therapy, and there are countless different types of massage, each of which focuses on different techniques and views the body from a unique perspective,” Garber said.
She also mentioned several health benefits that massage therapy can have.

“Massages can augment other health and fitness efforts, relieve chronic stress, which in turn reduces cortisol levels, improve posture, sleep quality, focus, mood and, of course, pain relief,” she said.

Garber started working at the Wellness Center in 2012, but has experience in the field since graduating from massage school in 2007.

Although the massage therapists at the Wellness Center have a strong clientele base, the number of students who take advantage of the program could be much higher.

“Unfortunately, our massage therapy services are still not as well known as I’d like,” said Ashley Falcon, assistant director of the Wellness Center. “However those that know of it, or those that learn of it, are always happy to know that it is available on campus. I often hear students that pass down the hall and see the sign for the first time say something to the effect of, ‘Oh they have that? That’s cool.’”

The rates offered at the Wellness Center are reasonable compared to the off-campus market. Student rates are $25 for 35 minutes or $55 for 50 minutes. Member rates are also $25 for 35 minutes and $65 for 50 minutes.

UM faculty and staff are offered a 10 percent discount on 50-minute massages.

“[Massage therapy] is very popular, and compared to competitors’ rates we offer the most cost effective therapy,” said Marni Dow, customer service manager at the Wellness Center.

Students and faculty should be on the lookout for “Wellness on Wheels: Chair Massage,” a massage event program hosted occasionally on campus, which provides a quick stress-relief break in the midst of busy schedules.

Massage therapy at the Wellness Center is offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 to 8 p.m, Monday through Friday.

To schedule a massage, call or visit the wellness enrichment suite at 305-284-LIFE (5433).