JACKSON, Tenn. – May 7, 2008 – Nearly 300 Union University students, faculty and staff members took advantage of free chair massages on May 5, thanks to the volunteer efforts of licensed massage therapists from across Tennessee.
Debbie Vann, owner of Pathways of Wellness Massage Therapy in Nashville, Tenn., organized the effort and recruited 21 licensed massage therapists to volunteer their time and travel expenses to give free 10-minute massages.
Vann said her intention was to offer stress relief to the Union community that suffered through a massive EF-4 tornado Feb. 5. The tornado destroyed about 70 percent of Union’s student housing and caused about $40 million in damage to the campus.
“I went through Hurricane Andrew, so I understand the stress of going through a natural disaster,” Vann said. “I felt like offering free massages would be a perfect fit.”
Paul Mayer, Union’s director of health services, said the massages were well received.
“It was nice to have so many therapists, and to be able to offer the massages to students and employees,” Mayer said. “It was a good relaxation to take your mind off finals and de-stress for a minute.”
Some of the massage therapists were members of the American Massage Therapy Association’s Massage Emergency Response Team.
Vann said she was happy to help.
“Just for them to say on and on how thankful and appreciative they were, that made it all worthwhile,” she said.