NEWS

Free back rubs bust stress levels around campus

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Rebecca Noble | The Daily Wildcat

Students can enjoy free, five-minute massages on Wednesday from 11-11:45 a.m. at the Guerrero Student Center. Stressbusters, a program at the UA Campus Health Center, is managing the event.

Students deal with stress and anxiety every day. Stressbusters, a Campus Health Service program, is coming to the Guerrero Student Center to provide stress relief with a free backrub in the Cesar E. Chavez building, Room 205, today from 11-11:45 a.m.

In a Counseling and Psych Services survey conducted this spring, 60-70 percent of UA students reported difficulty with anxiety. According to the Campus Health website, there is a weekly Stress and Anxiety management group where students can talk about their “feelings, actions and beliefs related to anxiety and stress.”

In a Health and Wellness survey conducted in 2013, 50 percent of the 3,055 students interviewed experienced above average or extreme stress in that school year.

Anamaria Ramirez, a graduate assistant at Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs, said Stressbusters is doing this to “bust stress,” hence the name. They will provide free, five-minute backrubs in addition to wellness information to students and staff on campus.

“Students and staff just have to make it to the location where Stressbusters is holding its event,” Ramirez said. “It’s a first come, first serve service that runs for 45 minutes.”

The amount of people they can accommodate at the event depends on how many volunteers are willing to participate.

“We are hoping to give around 50 people free back rubs during the short time period,”  Ramirez said.

Stressbusters was started by Jordan Friedman at Columbia University, according to Lee Ann Hamilton, the assistant director of Health Promotion and Preventive Services.

“Jordan wanted to help students deal with stress,” Hamilton said. 

The program, which is also offered at Rutgers University, Columbia University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University and Northern Arizona University, was brought to the UA in fall 2013.

People are asked to rate their back rubs on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest, Hamilton said. According to Hamilton, at the Student Recreation Center on Aug. 8, the average feedback score was 4.9.

Hamilton also noted that the last Stressbusters back rub was a Campus Health event on Oct. 16., and the average score was 4.94.

There is a Stressbusters app, according to the UA Stressbusters website, which became operational in 2014. Several tips on how to “chill now” on your own or before an event are also available on the site. Stressbusters volunteers are at the Main Library on Monday nights and at the Rec Center on Tuesday afternoons. They are often at events on the UA Mall and take requests for conferences, groups and halls.

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