Sheila Mockros, building and planning assistant for the City of Waite Park, has nothing but high praises to sing for Minnesota School of Business students in the massage therapy school. As the former wellness coordinator for city employees, Mockros says that being wellness-minded as an organization is the goal, but there is not necessarily a budget to follow.
Minnesota School of Business – St. Cloud “has been more than gracious,” she says, in providing city employees with the hands-on benefits of chair massage as well as health and wellness advice.
Massage therapy students have been working with the city for about three years, Mockros said, and in the first year, it actually took some convincing for employees to participate. Those who had never had a massage could be hesitant.
Massage therapy student Michaella Nelson agrees. “You could tell the people who had gotten massages before and the ones who hadn’t … were kind of uncomfortable and didn’t really know what to think.”
Now, Mockros maintains, the benefits are clearer to employees and the massage sessions provide a unity to staff. “Even in just 10 to 15 minutes,” she says, “and you see they are happier.”
Mockros also sees that employees have a sense of excitement about the massages and a lift in their morale. “It releases tension [too] and encourages good habits like drinking water,” she adds.
The experience is very much real-world, she adds. “We [had] city employees come in one at a time and … fill out intake forms, (which describe any illnesses or medications they may be taking), [and] we asked if they had any concerns or specific areas of pain they wanted us to focus on.”
After the day concluded, Broady decided that she “preferred massaging women over men because they were a little more vocal [about] what may be bothering them and for letting you know if your pressure was too much or too little.”
Nelson was overjoyed with the experience. “To think I can do this every day for the rest of my life,” she reflects, “and get paid to do it is really amazing!”
Mockros notes that the city employees always have good feedback about the students, and the students have the opportunity to introduce the staff to the benefits of the massage field. “It’s a win-win,” she says.