Physical therapy students will hold their annual Massage-A-Thon fundraiser next month to alleviate some of the inherent stress associated with college life.
During the Massage-A-Thon, physical therapy students practice their skills while raising money for their graduation ceremony. It is their only fundraiser to facilitate the cost of the ceremony. Michelle Dietrick, a graduate student in the College of Health Sciences, said last year’s Massage-A-Thon raised between $17,000 and $18,000.
The Massage-A-Thon will run from April 3 to 26. The cost varies by the amount of time requested but begins at $8 for 15 minutes. Cash, check and Marquette Cash will be accepted.
Alicia Toussaint, a graduate student in the College of Health Sciences, said the Massage-A-Thon provides a unique opportunity for the physical therapy students to get hands-on experience utilizing their knowledge of anatomy to help clients.
“As physical therapy students, we spend a lot of time practicing on each other, so we are looking forward to interacting with individuals from across campus,” Toussaint said. “Most importantly, we are passionate about what we do, so we hope everyone who participates in the Massage-A-Thon this year asks us questions about what we do and why we are doing it.”
Toussaint said first-timers shouldn’t feel anxious about the process, as the students have a deep knowledge of therapeutic techniques.
“For first-timers and regulars alike, I recommend asking questions or sharing any hesitations with us prior to your massage so we can ensure you have the best experience possible,” Toussaint said. “That is our goal – to make sure every person we interact with has a pleasant and relaxing experience.”
Dietrick said she is hoping to use her experiences from the Massage-A-Thon in her future job to make her patients the happiest and healthiest they can be. She said massages help patients relax, while allowing doctors to identify and relieve trigger points that may be a major source of pain and dysfunction.
“Especially with students, trigger points can occur in one’s shoulders and back from studying and carrying backpacks,” Dietrick said. “Massage helps to relax those muscles and relieve the tension to get the muscles to be less painful and more able to perform their proper function.”
Dietrick said physical therapists use massages as treatment almost daily. Massages are usually the first step of treatment to identify muscles that are not working properly.
“If not for a massage beforehand, those muscles would be too tight to properly function and perform the exercise,” Dietrick said. “It is also used as a pain relief mechanism every day by physical therapists.”
Shannon Gregg, a graduate student in the College of Health Sciences and a coordinator of the Massage-A-Thon, said she wants to be able to impact the lives of children and their families through the use of her therapy skills.
“I am hoping to work as a pediatric physical therapist after graduation,” Gregg said. “I have a passion for helping others, and I have always felt specifically drawn toward working with children.”
Gregg said the Massage-A-Thon will help her in a variety of ways. Gregg said besides the obvious benefits of applying what she learned in class, her experiences as a committee leader are showing her what it takes to run a small business.
“We are coordinating massage clients’ schedules, as well as the schedules of the student (therapists),” Gregg said. “I love seeing all our hard work come together. This process has made me appreciate, on a smaller scale, the inner workings of a physical therapy clinic.”
Gregg said she was most excited to help the Marquette community relieve aches, pains and stress.
“It will be really rewarding to use our skills to help the community that has fostered our education all these years,” Gregg said.
The hours for the Massage-A-Thon are as follows: Mondays from 4 to 9 p.m., Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m., Thursdays from 1 to 9 p.m. and Fridays from 5 to 7 p.m. On Wednesday, April 3 and 10, the event will run from 3 to 6 p.m. and on April 17 and 24 it will be open from 3 to 9 p.m. Appointments can be made by emailing email@example.com.