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UWRF students receive discounted stress relief

October 9, 2009

UW-River Falls Student Health and Counseling Services is offering free Weekly Wellness Events, as well as reduced rate oncampus massages for students, faculty and staff, throughout the semester.

Free Weekly Wellness Events take place in the University Center and include Tai Chi from noon-1 p.m. and Yoga from 4-5 p.m. on Mondays, Weekly Relaxation Practice from 4-4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Yoga from 1-1:45 p.m. on Wednesdays and Zumba dance from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on Thursdays.

Additionally, Student Health and Counseling Services is working with Lori’s Massage and Day Spa in River Falls to provide on-campus massages at discounted rates in 211 Hagestad Hall. Professional, licensed massage practitioners are available on Mondays from 1-4:30 p.m. and Tuesdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Three different session lengths are offered: 15-minute chair massages for $10, 30-minute table massages for $25 and 60-minute table massages for $45. Free chair massages are also available in the UC on Mondays from 11:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m.

“The students are loving the chair massages at the student center. I love the smiles on their faces when they see us with our massage chairs. This has been a great way to get the word out about massage,” Lori Moran, owner of Lori’s Massage and Day Spa, said.

Personal Counselor Jennifer Elsesser said the main goal of the weekly wellness events and on-campus massages is prevention.

“The primary focus for the weekly wellness events and on-campus massages are stress and anxiety management,” she said.

Yoga meets in the UC Ballroom usually with more than 75 participants on Mondays and about as half as many people on Wednesdays.

“It has been great being able to offer it two times per week and see students get excited about it. Also, I have enjoyed seeing all the people come that have never done yoga before. This class gives them a taste of something new,” Stacy Dekkers, certified yoga instructor, said. “It’s a chance to take a step back, refocus and relax. Yoga is a great stress reliever, plus it’s a good workout. It’s good for people of all ability levels.”

“[Yoga] happens to be close and free,” Derek LaPlant, a senior majoring in English creative writing, said. He participates because “it is entertaining and makes you feel good at the same time.”

“I’ve always wanted to try yoga,” Amber Dequaine, a freshman majoring in animal science, said. “And the best part is it’s free.”

Weekly relaxation practice meets in the UC Wind River Room where a professional energy worker guides the group through meditations.

“The response from the group, thus far, is positive and the numbers seem to be increasing weekly,” Mark Huttemier, coordinator of the relaxation practice, said. “The relaxation response is the ability to control and lower your anxiety as soon as you notice your body getting tense. By practicing skills like meditation, progressive relaxation, deep breathing, self-hypnosis and visualization, we are teaching our body another way to handle stress besides fight or flight.”

Zumba dance takes place in the Falcon’s Nest, where participants can engage in a Latin dance workout.

“There were around 30 people at the first class on Sept. 24,” Elsesser said. “Students were having a blast and looked like they didn’t want to leave.”

Hard copies of the Weekly Wellness Events and on-campus massages are located in Hagestad Hall, and on the Counseling Services Web site.

“People need to take advantage of the reduced rates and free wellness events,” Alice Reilly-Myklebust, director of Student Health Services, said.

Student Health and Counseling Services is open to suggestions about improvement in the programs. Elsesser encourages students to contact her with their ideas.

“We want to give people what they want,” she said. “We want to tailor these events to them.”