Massage Offers New Form of Therapy to Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Globe University-Appleton Massage Therapy students in the Pregnancy and Special Populations class offered massages to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities at the Rotary Multicultural Center as part of a service learning project with The Arc Fox Cities.
Students demonstrated how to adjust massage techniques to accommodate individualized needs for special populations. The Arc Fox Cities’ mission is to utilize advocacy, respect and concern to empower all people with disabilities to have the opportunity to choose and realize their goal of a full life and a secure future. Many of the Arc Fox Cities clients received massage therapy services for the very first time in their lives.
“The people there really enjoyed having us,” Massage Therapy student Brandy Fish said, “some of them have never had a massage and felt nice and relaxed.”
Massage Therapy Program Chair Wendy Wettengel-Perrigoue said that the most significant learning experience for many of the students was adapting communication with the clients.
“We served visually impaired clients that required more guidance and clearer instruction regarding the massage and the equipment,” Wettengel-Perrigoue said, “students practiced professional communication; gaining confidence with their ability to communicate effectively. They were able to assess any physical accommodations required to adapt.”
Arc Fox Cities Program Coordinator LeeAnn Stein also agreed with advantages of partnering with the massage students for massages.
“The majority of our clients would not have an opportunity for such “pampering,” Stein said, most of them couldn’t financially afford to get a massage. A large number of them are dependent on parents or caregivers to schedule their day.”
Stein also noted that recipients receive much more than relaxation and that this type of service can be therapeutic for them.
“The overall health benefit of better circulation and relaxation for them is beneficial,” Stein said, “not to mention the value of just basic physical touch for many of the clients.”