Students enjoy free massages

Students received free massages at the Hippodrome Thursday, relieving tension and stress before finals week. The event was part of the Student Activities Center’s Stress-Free Zone program, which will continue throughout the exam period.

The masseuse on duty, Sarah Pederson, of the GW Center for Integrative Medicine, greeted each student before leading him or her to a massage chair. Soft music played in the background, somewhat overshadowed by the dialogue of the soap operas playing on the communal televisions.

A student first leaned forward in the chair, preparing to have his knots pulled loose and muscles eased. Pederson used a variety of tools and appendages, including her fingers, hands, elbows, marracca-like mallets called “bongers” and another tool called the “omniroller.”

After the five-minute massage was done, Pederson gave a few words of advice for reducing tension and stress.

Massages will be available again on Monday and Wednesday from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Hippodrome. Students are encouraged to sign up because spots “fill up pretty quick,” Pederson said. The sign-up sheet is located in the Hippdrome on the day of the massages.

“It felt really good,” sophomore Julie Buekens said after receiving a massage Tuesday afternoon.

Buekens said she also planned to attend Midnight Breakfast Wednesday night, which is another part of the University’s Stress-Free Zone week.

Other Stress-Free Zone events include free group fitness classes from Thursday to May 14 in the Health and Wellness Center, $1 bowling in the Hippodrome until May 7 and free smoothies in the Hippodrome on May 6 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Jennifer Solt, SAC office manager and student organization adviser, recommended some of the new activities such as the free Poker Tournament of Texas Hold ’em on May 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the Marvin Center Continental Ballroom.

The Mount Vernon Campus is holding some more extravagant activities, such as a performance and workshop by New York hip-hop group “Company Soul” Friday from 1 to 2 p.m. in Hand Chapel. There will also be a chocolate fondue fountain Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m.

Solt said she hoped the activities could relax students and give them “the opportunity to get out of (their) study mode for a little while.”

A full calendar of Stress-Free Zone events can be found at gwired.gwu.edu/sac. n

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