The countdown to the end of the semester was a little less “ruff” for Kean students who took the opportunity to unwind with two tried-and-true stress busters – massages and puppies. The Student Government Programming Board and the Office of Student Government Commuter Resource Center organized massage therapy and pet therapy sessions during Finals Week to help students cope with the pressure that inevitably comes with the push toward final exams.
Excited students took time away from studying to line up outside the Greek Lounge at the Miron Student Center on Thursday, December 15, waiting for a chance to cuddle with puppies and dogs from Creature Comfort in Morris Plains.
"If you want a break from stress, nothing beats a super excited, cuddly dog,” said senior Sylvia Pais, a communication and public relations major, who was hanging out with Daisy the therapy dog. “Daisy is doing her job spectacularly. How can you be stressed when these guys just want you to pet them and give them hugs? I'm going to be smiling all day now.”
Another chance to disconnect from stress came the same day at the Hutchinson Hall Commuter Resource Center, where the mobile massage company, The Pampered Spirit of Point Pleasant set up a relaxation station.
"It's just what I needed during finals,” said Kyle Aronce, a senior computer science major. “I can't think of a better way to de-stress. I am so happy Kean offers these things to students. It shows they really care."
Studies show that massage and pet therapy release “feel good” hormones like serotonin, dopamine or oxytocin. Massage also is said to lower the stress hormone cortisol.
“These activities interrupt the stress cycle and allow the body and mind to recuperate,” said Vincent Kiefner, Ph.D., director of the Kean University Counseling and Disability Services.
In all, there were two massage sessions and one pet therapy session for students on the Union campus and a massage therapy session and yoga class at Kean Ocean in Toms Rivers during Finals Week.