Body stress can build up over time, often resulting in physical neuromuscular tension and discomfort. Stress can also impact our emotional, intellectual, and spiritual wellness. But do we stop when we feel stress compromising our well being? Often not. Living in a driven culture, there can be associated guilt or a perceived lack of time with penciling in the time and space for our body to pause, relax, and release the toll of life demands.
College campus tools
Learning and working on a college campus can be enriching, but like any place, campus life comes with its own challenges. It is not uncommon for students, faculty, and staff to experience episodic or chronic health issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, compromised immune systems, tension headaches, and sleep issues.
Successfully addressing any one of these health issues often does not result in one protocol. Rather, the health issue can also involve combining complimentary protocols together for optimal outcomes. With this in mind, research has shown massage to be beneficial as an added protocol for addressing multiple health issues. More specifically, the following explores the benefits of massage relevant to the commonly experienced health challenges on a college campus:
- Anxiety, depression, and stress: A 60-minute massage has been shown to lower cortisol about 30 percent, allowing the brain chemical serotonin to increase about 28 percent, resulting in better outcomes in managing any or all of this trio. While massage is a helpful tool, it is also worthwhile seeking additional support if you are experiencing any of these issues on a chronic basis. Students can seek assistance through Student Counseling Services and employees can get help through the Employee Assistance Program.
- Immunity boost: Our immune system can take a significant hit when exposed to extended windows of stress, making us more vulnerable to cold, flu, and other viruses that may travel through campus. Swedish massage has been shown to boost the immune system with white blood cell counts rising and cortisol stress hormone levels decreasing.
- Tension headaches: Chronic tension headaches can arise from stress and often from longs days of postural stress sitting in front of a computer causing stress to the shoulders and neck. Massage therapy targeting the neck and shoulder muscles has been shown to mitigate headache duration and frequency.
- Stress-induced insomnia: As mentioned above, serotonin levels increase due to massage therapy. Serotonin is a critical precursor for melatonin production, which impacts the sleep stage of a person’s circadian rhythm, essential to good quality sleep.
Massage not only provides great health assisting benefits, it also provides a time to be nurtured and cared for. When we take time to care for ourselves, we are renewed to care for others in our work roles on campus. If you never had a massage, or it has been a while since having one, consider taking advantage of an amazing massage resource right here on campus!
Massage available on campus
Health Promotion and Wellness bring full body massage right on campus every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday with Licensed Massage Therapist Ada Givan. Ada has experience in Swedish, deep tissue, pregnancy, and oncology massage modalities as well as Trigger Point Therapy. Massage is open to students, employees, and retirees of the university. Cost is just $15 for 15 minutes and multiple consecutive appointments can be booked to have a longer massage. View available appointments and sign up.
Please check with your doctor before getting a massage if you have any pre-existing medical concerns or conditions.