The Perfect Touch

Lisa Wynn, massage therapist, demonstrates a neck and shoulder massage at Ping Center. Massage therapy can boost immunity and help with injury recovery. (Gwen Titley | Director of Photography)

While some Ohio University students choose to relieve their stress through hitting a punching bag or taking it out on opponents in Call of Duty, others choose a more passive form of relaxation.

Offered through Ping Center, massage therapy is manipulation of the soft tissue through pressure, kneading and friction. The relaxation of tissues and muscles within the body can relieve the pressures of everyday college life.

“Massage is one very positive way to help (students) deal with stress and physical anxiety,” said Jennifer Cochran, a massage therapist at Ping. “(It helps) if somebody is on a computer for a long time or hunched over books. Some people find (relaxation) in yoga, some in workouts and some in massage.”

Ping offers therapeutic, deep tissue and hot stone options, along with two-person massages. Aromatherapy will also be added in the near future. Massage therapist Lisa Wynn said massage is good for both your physical and mental health.

“A lot of students that come in are involved in some kind of sport, just as well as being stressed out with the active part of college,” Wynn said. “It relieves strains and overuse of muscles. Massage is (also) helpful for moving blood around and working tight and sore muscles.”

In addition to aiding blood flow and relieving sore muscles, massage boosts immunity and can help recovery from injury, Cochran said.
The number of clients fluctuates with the academic calendar. Cochran said she approximates 10 to 15 clients a month but added that is a light client load for her.

Kim Kraus, a freshman studying neuroscience who goes to Ping three or four times a week, said she only found out about the massages due to a sign behind the elliptical machines.

“I would absolutely love a massage, because I have back muscle problems, but I can’t afford that price, so I most likely would not take advantage of the services,” Kraus said.

The least expensive treatment at Ping is a 30-minute therapeutic massage for $32. Though students might balk at the price, OU’s pricing comes in at the second cheapest amongst similarly sized colleges.

Kent State University offers a 30-minute massage for students at $30, a few dollars cheaper than OU. However, the university also offers students a 15-minute option for $19. Kent State’s massage therapy range also is wider than OU’s, including three-punch, five-punch, 10-punch, foot and hot-stone massages, along with an aromatherapy room misting add-on.

Miami University does not currently offer massage therapy services through its recreation center. Bowling Green State University’s massage therapy is offered through its Student Health Service at a flat rate of $35 for a half hour.

“It’s reasonably priced, and a lot of people take advantage of it,” Cochran said. “But there’s a lot of people who don’t even know it was an option. Back when I was a graduate student, I didn’t even know.”

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