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Taking care of your body

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When school is stressful, and you’re sitting at a desk or in front of a computer for hours, you can feel it in your body: your back is aching, your shoulders are tight, and you’re uncomfortable from being hunched over for an extended period of time.

Massages are a relaxing, effective way to treat tense muscles, but they are usually beyond the limits of a student budget. [pullquote]Luckily, you can take advantage of $20 massages without leaving campus[/pullquote], thanks to MacEwan University’s massage therapy program and teaching clinic.

Jeff Moggach, assistant professor and massage program lead, says that the two-year program emphasizes a clinical focus and provides five clinical practice classes, including the final one, which takes place in a hospital.

“They take a pretty in-depth clinical focus in this program, so there’s a lot of different opportunities for them working with a variety of populations, from kids to geriatric patients to athletes,” says Moggach.

For most wellness massages, the student will treat the whole body, with the goal of general physical and mental wellbeing. A client can also ask the massage student to the focus on a problem area, such as the site of a previous injury or a particularly sore region.

At the beginning of a massage appointment, the client will fill out a health history form, and the massage student will follow up with a few questions to clarify any necessary details. During all massage clinics, a registered massage therapist supervises the students, checking in and offering guidance. At the end of the appointment, clients are asked to fill out a brief feedback form about their experience.

Massage students are also involved in other initiatives in the university, such as StressLess, a weeklong series of events organized by the Students’ Association of MacEwan University (SAMU). During StressLess, massage students offer free 10-minute chair massages, which are a welcome reprieve from writing essays and studying for exams.

“It’s amazing, in 10 minutes, the benefits that you can actually get from that,” says Moggach. “It’s really refreshing and kind of gets the muscles limbered up a bit, drops those shoulders down, which, in a student, are often up to their ears and are really tight.”

In addition to massage, [pullquote]Moggach recommends that students practice basic self-care.[/pullquote] He suggests taking hot baths, stretching, yoga, meditation and breathing exercises, staying active, and maintaining a balance between school, work and interpersonal relationships.

“Of course, in cases where balance isn’t manageable, utilize the support that’s here at MacEwan, in respect to counselling services and all that,” he adds.

The massage clinic is open September through June. Appointments are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the winter semester, Tuesdays during May and June, and Thursdays during the fall semester. The clinic is located in Room 9-310, City Centre Campus, and you can call 780-497-4102 or email massageclinic@macewan.ca to book an appointment.

[sidebar]

Staying Active

It seems counterintuitive, but it’s surprising how exhausted you can feel when you’ve been sedentary all day. Just going for a walk can be invigorating, but you don’t have to stop at that. MacEwan University Sport and Wellness offers a wide range of ways to get your body moving, from the Fitness Centre and the pool to intramurals.

Going to the gym can be intimidating, whether our fear stems from confusion about the machines or the possibility of running into a classmate while we’re sweaty and disheveled. It can also be difficult to develop a regular fitness routine, and it takes time to figure out what you like to do at the gym.

If free weights and treadmills aren’t the name of your game, there are plenty of value-added fitness classes that might suit your needs, including spin and interval training. These classes are free for people with Sport and Wellness memberships, which are assessed in your student fees if you’re enrolled in at least six class credits each semester.

Sport and Wellness also offers value-added aquatic classes, which are ideal if you’re more of a water baby than a gym rat. There are even female-only swim times, during which the pool centre’s windows are covered and female lifeguards supervise swimmers.

If you enjoy team sports, intramurals might be just the ticket for you. You can sign up for volleyball, basketball, dodgeball, badminton and more. Depending on the sport, registration is between $40 and $90, or $20 per individual.

For more information about these fitness and recreation programs, call 780-497-5300 or check out the Sports and Wellness website.[/sidebar]

Photos by Madison Kerr.

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