Seniors Receive Free Massages as Part of Volunteer Program

Published 03/06 2012 03:41PM

Updated 03/06 2012 08:21PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) At seventy-four years old, Diane Nicholas has lived through a lot.

Tuesday, she came across a first.

"This is the first time I have had a massage period," said Nicholas.

Nicholas is battling Parkinson's Disease - a disease that can make day to day tasks difficult. So, when she received a free massage, it was a nice change of pace for her and other residents at Vintage Gardens in St. Joseph.

Massage therapy students from Vatterott College offered the service as part of their monthly volunteer work.

"I find it really rewarding because if we are teaching others what we know then we can impact a lot more people," said Rich Sole, Massage Therapy Program Director.

While the students earn valuable training in the process, residents at Vintage Senior Living benefit too.

The massages are part of the Strong Life program that helps residents improve their physical strength by going to the gym or taking exercise classes twice a week.

"This is just another benefit that they get, not just for the muscles but for the relaxation and the stress," said Director of Strong Life, Michelle Conard.

The Strong Life program also encourages health and wellness, offering residents benefits in more ways than one.

"It gets your mind off of everything else and let's you be relaxed," said Jean Albers a resident at Vintage Gardens.

The chair massages usually last about 5-10 minutes.

Vatterott College offers an 8-month program for massage therapy.

Students in the third phase of the program take part in the massages for the elderly.

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