Words by Hallie Saculla

Photo by Mia DiLoreto. Massages are known for being relaxing. The Student Recreation and Wellness Center now offers massages as a way to reduce stress and tension, promote overall relaxation and increase flexibility.

Kent State Recreational Services is making massage therapy a convenience to all students in need of a break from rigorous schedules.

“Massage promotes relaxation,” says Vanessa McMillen, massage therapist with Kent State’s Student Recreation and Wellness Center. “When a person is able to relax, stress naturally lessens. Circulation is increased, blood pressure drops and muscles are loosened and relaxed, which helps increase range of motion and bring fluid back to the muscles and joints, lessening pain in those areas.”

The practice of massage therapy refers to “professional manipulation of the soft tissues of the body via methodical pressure, friction and kneading of the tissues” as stated on the Rec’s website.

While getting a massage is scientifically relaxing and can boost your mood by increasing serotonin, the practice demonstrates other benefits in patients: increasing flexibility and treating digestive disorders, fibromyalgia, headaches, poor posture, insomnia and muscle pain are among the many.

McMillen, who has been a massage therapist for 14 years, is a walking testimony to how the practice can aid sports injuries.

“I broke my leg and tore my ACL in 2012, and massage helped me to relieve the swelling and increase the healing and my range of motion,” McMillen says.

McMillen says that massage therapy can help students “feel better mentally and physically” amidst a busy, demanding academic schedule and study findings align with this statement.

A survey sponsored by the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals reveals that 30 percent of individuals who received massages were sent by a physician’s recommendation, and only 5 percent rated their experience 0-4 on a scale of 0-10.

The REC offers 15 minute, half hour and hour massages at varying rates for students, members and non-members. Massages can also be purchased in punch, or package, at a discount. The massages are then stored on a student’s account to use at any time, and they are good for two years from the date of purchase.

To book an appointment, call 330-672-0485.