By Megan Bott

This column is designed to explore health and wellness options available in Colorado Springs through various therapies while simultaneously confronting the inaccessibility of mental health resources for low-income students on campus. The current state of our healthcare system, that students receive six free therapy sessions each year in Boettcher, is rarely enough to actually cater to the needs of low-income students on this campus. This column will investigate other therapies in the Colorado Springs area and their accessibility via Groupon, the American global e-commerce marketplace that connects subscribers with local merchants by offering discounted activities, travel, goods and services in 15 different countries.

    I was home in New Orleans over block break and thus cannot promise this same jaw-dropping deal in Colorado Springs — but after perusing the Colorado Springs Groupon page, I did find one hour full-body deep tissue massages for $38-$50. A note on Groupon: always call ahead and ask businesses if they’ll give you the Groupon price in-store without purchasing online. Often, Groupon charges businesses a fee for using their services; if you call ahead, the business will instead get all of the money you pay. According to Thervo, a website that provides helpful cost guides to those in the market to make purchases, a deep tissue massage should range anywhere from $80-$120 an hour, so the Groupon price is a lot more affordable and accessible for students.   

Various massage historians suppose that the Egyptians were the first to practice deep tissue massages during ancient times. From there, the practice spread, and was eventually brought to the Americas by colonizers in the 1800s. However, it wasn’t until the mid-1900s that the practice was formalized. In her book “Muscles: Your Invisible Bonds,” Therese Phimmer introduced deep tissue massage techniques, established guidelines for addressing various pains in the body, and effectively created a code by which other massage therapists could practice. In the book, Phimmer explains that the movements used in deep tissue massage are similar to those found in traditional Swedish massages. Unlike the Swedish massage, however, deep tissue massage moves at a slower pace while being more focused and intense, resulting in the ability to break up adhesions and enhance overall flexibility in the body by manipulating the deeper layers of the muscles’ underlying connective tissue.

Deep tissue massages have both physical and emotional benefits. Athletes often employ the deep tissue massage to aid in muscle recovery while simultaneously preparing the body for high volumes of physical activity and protecting against injury. The average person, however, can use the deep tissue massage to help the body repair itself, improve range of motion, and even reduce future harm. Deep tissue massage also works beneficially for pain and stiffness relief associated with whiplash, osteoarthritis, muscle spasms, fibromyalgia, and strain injuries. The therapy also effectively releases toxins from muscles and improves the circulation system in the body. 

I came out of the hour-long session feeling relaxed in a way that I never had before. My massage therapist outlined the benefits of the deep tissue massage while also showing me a range of stretches that I could perform to maintain the new flexibility in my muscles. I also found, as someone who occasionally has trouble sleeping due to anxiety, that the massage assisted in my ability to relax and fall asleep at night. I also felt empowered to better maintain my mental health because the massage encouraged both physical and emotional wellness. Though a $30 one hour full-body deep tissue massage may not serve me in the same way an hour-long therapy session at Boettcher would, it was an alternative that enabled me to face my week with more strength and patience than I would have otherwise. 

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