Business of Massage students at the Minnesota School of Business-St. Cloud recently presented to the local Veterans Administration hospital staff on the benefits of massage therapy.
The VA Health and Wellness committee contacted Program Chair Irene Rangen with the idea of a Lunch and Learn format. Students created the workshop as an applied learning experience, executing their knowledge and skills within a professional setting.
Massage Therapy student Nels Peterson remarked that the community partner need seemed significant. “Working in a health care industry can create a lot of stress. A lot of times, the VA gets left out of the conversation on health services.
Peterson said that there were a lot of questions after the presentation which indicated
audience interest and that he was sometimes surprised at what staff didn’t know.
“Some people see it as a spa kind of thing—a luxury. They don’t understand the health
benefits to live a healthier life.”
Massage Therapy student, Erin Alama, agreed that the project seemed quite successful.
“Massage is an amazing healer,” she said. “People should know more about what massage is and experience it.”
Massage Business students and Rangen all felt that this experience was a valuable
connection to future careers in massage therapy.
“Massage Therapists really have to market themselves regardless of their workplace venue,” Rangen emphasized. “Being able to articulate the benefits of massage, and explain
[to] and educate the consumer is critical.”
Billy Jo Sundvold, a member of the VA Employee Health and Wellness committee, agreed that the workshop went quite well.
“It was very well received by staff,” she said, and she hoped other students would return
for the Lunch and Learn series.
Rangen has been diligent in forging a relationship with the VA and MSB massage program. To date, students have given massages at the VA Health and Wellness fair, expressed interest in future internships and volunteering opportunities.
Peterson also felt that an important part of this applied learning experience was “going in to create a relationship there.”
Massage Business students not only have to practice their therapy skills but also market them successfully to the general public. The VA experience gave this particular class a great start.