There is something about another person’s hands on your body that can turn your entire life around. No, I am not talking about sexually – although that is supposed to help you relax as well – but I am referring to the healing powers of massage.

I was lucky to spend my spring break at The Equinox Resort and Spa in Vermont and, although I am certainly jealous that my friends got amazing tans in Acapulco where they danced with the devil and stayed up for an entire week partying, there is nowhere I would have rather spent my vacation.

Coming off the stress of midterms coupled with the fact that I have absolutely nothing to do this summer because I procrastinated for too long, I didn’t think there was anything that could relieve my anxiety. I was surprised that the minute I got to the spa I was already feeling more relaxed.

I found solace sitting by the fire, resting in the outdoor hot tub and taking Pilates classes, but without warning it would hit me that soon I would have to go back to school. Shortly after the end of school, it would be summer and time to worry about an internship, then junior year will be just around the corner and I would have to start thinking about going abroad and, when I get back from being abroad, it would be senior year and I would need to apply for graduate school or a job – just thinking about all of this caused my heart to palpitate out of control.

It was not until I lay on the heated massage table listening to the tape-recorded sounds of the ocean that I began to let go.

As our Pilates instructor compared it, my mind became a cotton candy machine as I swirled around inside my head picking up the random thoughts that created clutter and caused stress. Mentally, I molded them into a single entity of which I could let go. All of a sudden it didn’t matter what drama had happened two weeks ago or where I was going to graduate school, I was in control again and I had the ability to figure everything out. When the massage ended, I thanked the woman profusely for not only had she gotten the kinks out of my muscles, she had straightened out my life.

When I got back to school, something was different. While my friends were sleeping off the craziness of Acapulco, I was waking up early, getting ahead in my work and feeling better about myself overall.

Many people attend a therapist or a psychologist often, spending up to $200 a session. Instead, I recommend spending that money on regular massages. There are always friends you can talk to about your problems, but most of them aren’t willing to lay you down for an 80 minute, peaceful rub-down.

If you can’t make it to a professional masseuse, try reviving the “massage train” with your friends. This only works if you all agree to switch places every couple of minutes so the person in the back gets some attention, too.

Massages can also make great gifts. For my birthday, which falls during the very stressful winter reading period, I was surprised with a gift certificate to a massage at Scott Miller in Pittsford. It was perfect.

With the end of the school year and finals approaching, instead of pounding an energy drink to keep your body going after a long all-nighter in Rush Rhees, give yourself a short, rejuvenating break with a healing massage.Paret can be reached at

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