Massage therapy: A wellness strategy worth trying 

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Stressed students may be interested to learn that massage therapy is a legitimate wellness strategy for managing worries and improving wellness during life’s busiest moments. 

According to Ivy Conrad, a licensed massage therapist and author for Mayo Clinic, massage therapy, “a general term for pressing, rubbing and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments” is seen as an important tool in aiding mental and physical health. Although historically seen as an expensive, high-end service, massage therapy has become increasingly available and is now recognized as a viable tenet of holistic medicine, Conrad explained.  

The wellness benefits of massage therapy are extremely diverse. Conrad claimed that effective massage therapy can provide reprieve from “anxiety, depression, digestive disorders, fibromyalgia, headache, insomnia, nerve pain, postoperative care, scar tissue, soft-tissue strains and injuries, sports injuries, and Temporomandibular (TMJ) disorders.” Conrad also shared that additional physical benefits of massage therapy also include improved blood circulation, increased flexibility, better quality of sleep and decreased joint inflammation, among others. 

Shelly Bernal, a licensed massage therapist and nail technician studying Entrepreneurship at UVU, has a dream to start her own massage therapy business, and has experienced its benefits firsthand.  

Bernal first discovered massage therapy as a wellness tool in 2017 when she started getting massages as part of a personal wellness routine. “At the beginning, it was mostly about relieving tight muscles and knots,” Bernal admitted. “But after a year of consistent treatments, I realized that massage helped me with a lot more: specifically, my mental health.”  

Bernal continued to explain that having a moment of “complete relaxation and decompression” provided her with something to look forward to so that she could make it through challenging days and handle difficult situations.  

Since then, Bernal has developed a passion for helping others find relief through massages. “I spend my workdays meeting new people and learning about new ways to address their muscle problems, and I often feel like I am doing my dream job because I get a lot of fulfillment from helping people find healing through massage,” she shared.  

Although massage therapy has become increasingly accessible over the years, many students will likely find that regular treatment is not affordable. Fortunately, UVU Wellness Programs’ new Stress Reduction Room (SL 211) remedies this problem with affordable massage chairs. Priced at $2 for every fifteen minutes, and freely accessible to UVU students and faculty during the first Friday of every month and the entire week of finals, students can experience a full-body massage from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.  

Bernal recommended massage therapy as a wellness tool for students because she believes that it offers a rejuvenating way to manage stress during times when schedules get busy. “As a student, life can be stressful. I know this firsthand because I am currently pursuing a degree at UVU, and certain times of the semester like midterms or finals week can be overwhelming,” Bernal stated. “If you’re tired or overwhelmed, then I think it is worth giving it a try,” she concluded. 

This semester, students may want to consider massage therapy as an additional wellness strategy in regulating their physical and emotional health.  

Disclaimer: Message therapy, especially high-pressure or deep-tissue massages, may carry the risk of nerve or muscle damage. Individuals are recommended to seek out certified professionals and communicate personal needs and discomforts before and during massage therapy.