A touch of massage offers many health benefits

August 24, 2011 | UToday
By Kim Goodin

Licensed Massage Therapist Hieu Nguyen gave a massage to UT Police Lt. Julie Rightnowar.

Licensed Massage Therapist Hieu Nguyen gave a massage to UT Police Lt. Julie Rightnowar.

It started with some kinks in her neck.

Like many, Julie Rightnowar, lieutenant in the UT Police Department, had localized tightness in one area. Her choice of treatment was to schedule a massage at the UT Medical Center on Main Campus.

“I felt stress in my shoulders and neck,” Rightnowar said. “I pointed it out and, after the massage, the tightness was completely gone. I felt like a million dollars when I left the medical center.”

Licensed Massage Therapists Vicki Feit and Hieu Nguyen have heard similar stories. Since UT began offering massage in April, they’ve seen many clients with shoulder and neck strains.

“We give attention to any soreness or tightness the client tells us about but, as a whole, our clients generally leave feeling relaxed and refreshed,” Feit said. “The benefits increase each time you have a massage.”

Feit and Nguyen practice the traditional Swedish method of massage. There are several different techniques, but research shows general “touch therapy” has numerous health benefits, including:

• Stress relief;

• Managing anxiety and depression;

• Pain relief;

• Decreasing blood pressure;

• Boosting the immune system;

• Treating injuries, stiffness and overall discomfort;

• Increasing circulation; and

• Enhancing sleep.

“The stress of college life from all perspectives can put you under pressure,” Nguyen said. “A lot of my clients have told me they’ve been looking for something like this.”

Rightnowar has had three massages at UT within the past few months and compares them to restorative medicine, “like vitamins or exercise. It’s a way to turn off your mind for awhile, stop the spinning and thinking, and do something good for your body.”

Michelle Peterson, wellness coordinator in UT’s Office of Community Wellness and Health Promotion, initiated the service with the Department of Family Medicine as part of ongoing efforts to utilize campus resources toward preventive care.

“Everyone has stress in their lives — work, home and everywhere in between,” Peterson said. “Having a massage is like a mini-vacation from the pressures of everyday life. You really feel wonderful afterward!”

An hourlong massage costs $50, but Peterson said a back-to-school special will be offered through Friday, Sept. 30: a 50 percent discount for new clients and “buy one, get one free” for established clients.

The service is offered Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in half-hour and hourly sessions. Currently, it is open only to UT faculty, staff and students, but Peterson said evening hours and service for extended family members may be offered in the future.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 419.530.3451.

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