Hands that Heal: Massage for Special Populations Brings Rewards

Posted by on March 15, 2013

Students in the massage program at Minnesota School of Business (MSB) have the opportunity to learn about several types of massage techniques and work with a diverse array of clients throughout their tenure at the school.  This quarter, students in the Pregnancy and Special Populations class at the Minnesota School of Business-Brooklyn Center campus applied their newly learned skills to two completely different groups of individuals.

massage program

Veterans receive chair massages

Veterans of Foreign Wars
It has been said over time that veterans do not always get the appreciation that they deserve, especially after returning home.  MSB-Brooklyn Center students decided to visit some of these veterans at the Crystal VFW for their applied learning project.  It was not only a great way to give back to the community, but also a fantastic way to say thank you for serving our country.

Stephanie Petersen, massage therapy program chair and instructor for the course, explained that the interactions with the veterans would be a four-step process.  Students would begin by shedding some light on what a chair massage is and why people get massages in general.  They would give several examples of how to use common household items to perform self-massage. Then, the chair massages would be given in addition to resources for finding a massage therapist in the area.

Ashlee Cooper, a student in the class, said, “I had never visited a VFW before today. I found it fascinating that there are many types of people who stop in with such diversity, yet for the most part all have something in common: military experience. I feel like we impacted a lot of the older generation vets by educating them on modern massage therapy. Most of the older vets were unaware that they teach massage therapy at schools now. It felt great to give back to those that have served our country.” 

Hope Lodge
The Richard M. Schulze Family American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in the Twin Cities opened their doors in December 2007.  According to their website, “The Hope Lodge in the Twin Cities provides over 40 private guest rooms, free of charge, to cancer patients and their caregiver who resides at least 40 miles from the Hope Lodge and who are undergoing active cancer treatment.”

Massage chair Stephanie Petersen first visited Hope Lodge about a year ago with a group of students and was recently asked by staff to come in for another visit.  She asked her students if they would be willing to do another offsite project, and the class responded positively.  So, for two hours on March 13, students provided chair massages to patients and their caregivers. 

Latrice Willins, a student in the class, said, “It was a wonderful experience working with the patients. I know that they really appreciated the massages that were given to them, especially with all the emotional and difficult times they may be going through with the medical conditions they may have. It was very heartbreaking for me to see what they are going through. I found myself teary eyed. I think that giving them massages was one of the best medicines for the heart and mind. I pray for them and ask God to bring them healing; I think we helped in that department today through his grace.”

A patient at Hope Lodge receives a chair massage

Petersen heard from one patient that the massage seemed to help more than the pain medications.  She said, “The project was humbling for the students, and they seemed to thoroughly enjoy it.  I hope to bring future students here again.”


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