“Massage-O-Thon” melts the stress of finals away

There is no group of people better attuned to the feeling of impending doom than college students a few weeks before finals week. If you’re a student reading this, you probably just cringed. Perhaps in your anxious pre-finals flurry, you’ve felt the pressures and physical ramifications of stress on the human body.

This is exactly why the Athletic Training Student Organization (ATSO) offered cheap massages during an event they call the “Massage-O-Thon” for students in the weeks that preceded finals week. To round out this semester, the ATSO offered these massages in the Totman Room of the Memorial Union this past Thursday, Dec. 1.

Alexis LaChance is a fourth-year athletic training major and member of the ATSO. She manned the welcome table and gave massages at the Massage-O-Thon fundraiser.

“We do massages a lot with our clinical rotations that we get every semester, so we do this as a fundraiser for the events that we like to do throughout the year,” LaChance said.

Each semester, beginning their sophomore year, all athletic training majors must do a clinical rotation, LaChance explained. During the clinical rotation, each student will be placed with an athletic team here at the University of Maine, at Husson University, or in area high schools. The Massage-O-Thon event serves as practice for that requirement.

“Throughout [the clinical rotations], we get a lot of experience dealing with injuries, how to treat them, massage techniques, which is a lot of what we’re doing here [at the Massage-O-Thon]… we also just learn how to do basic evaluations on injuries,” LaChance said.

LaChance said the goal for the Massage-O-Thon event was to perform a massage on anywhere from 20 to 30 people. At the time of this interview, one hour into the four-hour event, the members of the ATSO had massaged ten student clients.

The massages were certainly priced for college students, too: a back massage cost $10, hand and arm massages cost $4 and a shoulder and neck massage cost $5.

The ATSO also hosted a raffle at the Massage-O-Thon where they raffled off various items any student can enjoy, like an ice hockey stick signed by each member of the men’s hockey team and a $15 Buffalo Wild Wings gift card. Another item of interest included in the raffle was a Ben Hutton rookie hockey card. Ben Hutton is a defenseman who played on the University of Maine Black Bears men’s hockey team in 2014 but was signed to the Vancouver Canucks in March of that same year.

In addition to being a fundraiser, the purpose of Massage-O-Thon is to get the word out about the ATSO, which currently has about 15 members.

“A lot of people don’t know who we are on campus, so we try and raise awareness for who we are and show them a little bit of what we do,” LaChance said.

In addition to next semester’s Massage-O-Thon, ATSO is currently planning a larger event that will certainly help get the word out: an event that is based on the reality television show “The Amazing Race.” According to LaChance, this event will take place in late spring.

ATSO feels that it’s important for students to be calm at each Massage-O-Thon they host. To promote this, members played soothing classical music and discussed light-hearted topics (they try to avoid any topics involving school, deadlines, or homework) with the student clients during the massage.

“We try to just take their minds away from everything, and help them de-stress,” LaChance said. “We offer shoulder and neck massages ‘cause everyone holds their tension up there, so it’s nice to just have that — even if it’s ten minutes — it’s nice to have that little time to relax.”

For more information about the ATSO, message Alexis LaChance on FirstClass.

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