What Do Massage Therapists and Soldiers Have in Common?

The 119th Security Forces Squadron based in Fargo, N.D., was deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan in March. The 30 members are on a six-month rotation, leaving behind family and friends to support their country. When soldiers deploy, they leave behind spouses, kids, parents and siblings. The families left behind are also fighting a battle: parenting alone, keeping homes in order and trying not to worry about their soldiers. The last is especially hard after a recent incident.

massage therapy programYellow Ribbon is the group that supports the families. When Globe University-Moorhead received a call to speak to the 119th Yellow Ribbon group, the positive response was immediate. So on a recent Saturday, two Globe University alumni of the massage therapy program, Ashley Breitzman and Lori Lang, along with Community Manager Babs Coler, met with the families. The Licensed Massage Therapists also talked about relaxation techniques and the importance of caring for themselves.

“Put the oxygen mask on yourself first so you can help others,” Lori said. “In other words, if you aren’t taking care of yourself first, you will ‘run out of oxygen’ and not be able to take care of anyone.”

Rachel Clarke, wife of Master Sgt. Joshua Clarke, helped organize the event. “The one fighting gets the credit for being a hero but the families are put in situations such as dealing with flooding basements or single parenting, that they aren’t used to dealing with. The families are the unsung heroes behind the soldiers. So anything we can do to help support them is so important. Teaching them simple breathing techniques or reminding them to laugh can be so helpful at 2 a.m. when a parent is up with sick kids.”

Ashley and Lori also brought essential oils as another tool to cope with both physical and mental struggles. They provided a hands-on project of creating a salt scrub for the families to take home. Using these simple, scented scrubs to wash hands provides a mini massage and scent while completing an everyday task. Again, it’s something simple that can benefit families during a stressful time.

“I love being a part of this,” Ashley gushed. “I have had family in the military so being able to use the skills I learned as a student to give back to people near to my heart is so gratifying! After all the school has done for me and now giving me an opportunity to give back like this just verifies that I chose the best place to go to school!”

So as the military get ready to return home in October, the families have a few more tools to help them make it the next couple of months and help their soldiers adjust to non-combat life.