Students seek massages to cope with first week stress


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Back-to-school can mean a sharp increase in customers for Iowa City spas.

Massage therapists at local salons said they usually see an uptick in the number of  clients in the week before the start of classes as well as the first week of school. Massages are good ways to  relieve stress and deal with pain before the pressures of tests and papers begin.

Pamela Sabin of Wild Flower Healing Arts, 221 E. College St., said she has seen a large increase in the number of teacher and professor clients as classes are underway at the University of Iowa.

“[Massage] gives them pause in the poem … poem being how busy life gets,” she said.

Sabin also has a number of student clients. Sabin has regulars who come every two weeks for a 30-minute visit. At only 30 minutes, they can manage their stress without putting a strain on their budget.

“It makes a lot of difference in their lives,” Sabin said. “Everyone needs to go for massage. It really promotes wellness in our bodies.”

Twin Image Salon Spa, 121 W. Benton St., also sees a spike in clients. The facility has many graduate students throughout the year, but the beginning of school brings a new crowd of undergraduates, too.

“We do definitely have more flow through here before school starts,” said Mikki Schmidt of Twin Image Salon Spa.

UI freshman Kayla Miller, who got a massage in her hometown of Dubuque before coming to Iowa City, said she would recommend the practice to others.

“It helps relieve the pain,” she said.

Miller said part of the reason for getting a massage was to relieve stress.

According to the Mayo Clinic, some studies have proven massages are useful for managing anxiety, depression, stiffness, blood pressure, sports-related injuries, and even cancer treatment.

But massages aren’t the only salon treatments that can reduce stress.

UI freshman Emily Archer uses pedicures to relax.

“I like getting pedicures because it’s just a way to just de-stress and not worry about anything, and afterwards you kind of feel refreshed,” Archer said.

She also said she understands the idea of reducing stress before school but thinks students shouldn’t only relax before classes.

“I think if you do before and after, you go in less stressed, and you go into everything with a fresher mind,” Archer said.

Still, not all students are ready to hop on the massage table.

UI senior Cara Held said she thought about getting a massage before the start of school, but she was worried about the cost — massages can run anywhere from around $60 an hour to upwards of $100 an hour.

“If it was cheaper, I’d probably get a massage whenever I felt like it,” she said.

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