Imagine if we started thinking of massage therapy as a form of health care instead of a luxury. Minnesota School of Business massage therapy degree students delivered that message, along with a chair massage, to 130 attendees at the recent Day of Dance at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minn.
February is American Heart Month, and CentraCare Health System likes to celebrate women’s health and fitness in its annual Day of Dance event. This year’s experience featured the MSB massages; Salsa, Zumba and Samba dancing; health screenings; information booths; and healthy food choices. The event is a part of St. Cloud Hospital’s Spirit of Women® programming geared at achieving high standards of excellence in women’s health.
Sherry Borsvold is a massage therapy student on track to graduate this spring. She’s also the vice president of the student association. She reflects on her experience at Day of Dance: “This confirms for me that I am in the right career choice. Doing these events gives the students the practical application and experience we need to succeed.”
Massage student John Loxterkamp agrees. “Every client has their own special needs, so it was a good way to do quick assessments and make people feel better quickly,” he said.
Sherry added, “We have an opportunity to fill a great need that sometimes regular medicine can’t fill.”
Borsvold and her fellow students marveled at the non-stop traffic to the massage chairs at Day of Dance.
And that was the point, says instructor, Michelle Willenbring.
“We would definitely participate in an event of this magnitude again,” Michelle said. “The students did 130 chair massages in 2.5 hours. The volume of clients that came to see the students outweighed any single massage they could have done in clinic. They also got great feedback.”
An event like this one, Michelle stresses, “is the best way to teach [students] how to talk to and interact with the public on a large scale, as this is how a massage therapist does their best marketing.”
Day of Dance organizer Deb Hall notes the importance of the education the attendees receive as they slip into the massage chair. Some have never experienced a massage before and many simply don’t realize the benefits of the therapy.
“It’s a holistic approach,” Deb says.
Women, in particular, need to value taking care of themselves as they make 85 percent of the health care decisions in the family. Furthermore, Deb reports, “They are just thrilled. The women truly appreciate it.”
Deb also mentions that there are two Spirit events a year, and St. Cloud Hospital will be very happy if MSB massage therapy students partner with them again in the fall!