GCC students offer free chair massages during National Massage Therapy Awareness Week

October 23, 2009

Students from Greenfield Community College’s Massage Therapy Certificate Program will provide free chair massages at the GCC Downtown Center and the main campus in late October and early November in recognition of National Massage Therapy Awareness Week.

The Week is sponsored by the American Massage Therapy Association and is designed to raise public understanding about the benefits of massage.

The students are enrolled in GCC’s rigorous, nationally accredited 765 hour certification program and will have completed a special unit on chair massage. The events are a win-win situation – the students get experience working with a range of people and the clients get brief, but restorative bodywork sessions. Massage Therapy Certificate Program Coordinator Patricia Wachter said, “A little goes a long way. After fifteen minutes, the clients will feel better, look different, and will have had an opportunity to be still and quiet in the midst of their day. In a very short time, skilled hands can create positive physiological changes in the body.”

The free chair massage sessions are a small part of the GCC Massage Therapy curriculum. The 765 hours of in-class time exceeds the national standard of 500 hours. Students in the program complete a range of theory and technique courses, as well as classes focusing on the business aspects of running a massage therapy practice. Beginning in February, the students will offer massages in a teacher-supervised clinic, gaining experience in clinical assessment, record-keeping and taking medical histories. Students evaluate and treat acute and chronic injury in a 10-week supervised relationship with a practice client. They also will provide chair massage to employees and clientele of non-profit community based businesses and schools. Wachter is currently seeking organizations interested in hosting workplace chair massage sessions in the spring.

Massage Therapy students at GCC range in age from young people just out of high school to those in their 30s and 40s training for a second career to retirees in their 60s. Some have been librarians, nurses, auto repair technicians, and yoga teachers. All are serious students who chose GCC for its rigorous program. Some will go on to work in chiropractic and physical therapy offices, health clubs and spas. Others will create their own private practices. Whatever the setting in which they work, they will be well prepared to use skilled hands to enhance the health of their clients.

Free 15-minute chair massages will be offered: Wednesday, October 28, 1:30 to 4 p.m., first floor of the Main Campus’ north and south building and in the east building; Monday, November 2 from 1:30 to 4 p.m., first floor of the Main Campus’ north and south building and in the east building Room 119, GCC Downtown Center on Main Street. Those interested in receiving a chair massage can sign up for a 15-minute slot starting at 1:30. No appointments will be scheduled in advance.

For more information about GCC’s Massage Therapy Certificate Program, visit www.gcc.mass.edu/programs/massage/ or contact Coordinator Patricia Wachter at wachter@gcc.mass.edu or (413) 775-1634.