Massage therapist helps students, faculty with stress

By Holly Renner

She’s got the magic touch.

Lubbock native Kim Johnson has been Baylor’s main massage therapist in the Student Life Center since 1999, and has been licensed and certified since 1995.

With the exception of two temporary massage therapists who worked in the Student Life Center, Johnson has been at Baylor since massages became first available.

Johnson provides a variety of massages, such as Swedish, deep tissue, trigger point therapy, myofascial release, sports, medical, hydrotherapy, pre-natal, sinus acupressure, aromatherapy and on-location corporate chair massages.

Fascia is an internal skin in the body that separates, covers and protects muscles, organs and internal structures, Johnson said.

Myofascial massages help to free the fascia that sticks together so people will have a larger range of motion and less pain.

“It can really make a big difference instead of working directly on the muscle tissue,” she said. “You can work to release fascial restrictions.”

Although relaxation is a key component in massage therapy, it is not the only medical benefit.

Waco native Andrea Hodgen has been a certified and licensed massage therapist at the Wayman Rutherford Spence Athletic Club in Waco for five years.

According to Hodgen, massage therapy helps people in many areas and facilitates the detoxing process.

Massages help the body to be healthier overall, she said.

They increase blood circulation by helping blood flow, which helps clients relax.

As a result, blood pressure lowers and the heart rate slows.

Reducing stress is another targeted point in massage therapy.

Johnson said she has a few stress techniques for her clients that can be done easily at home.

“I try and encourage them and empower them with different techniques,” she said.

In Johnson’s sessions, she provides stress technique handouts. In addition, she shows her clients various breathing exercises to combat stress.

The needs of each client vary, so Johnson focuses on choosing the right technique.

“Every massage is tailored for each person, depending on what their needs are and what their goals for the therapy session are,” Johnson said.

Johnson said she treats clients with sports injuries, repetitive strain injuries from excessive computer use, headaches and other chronic pains.

“We work directly on the affected muscles. The massage helps their bodies heal faster and do what they would naturally do during the healing process,” she said.

At Baylor, there is a high demand for massages, Johnson said. Often, clients are put on a waiting list due to unavailability.

Cathey Hall is a regular client of Johnson.

She said she immediately schedules her next massage after her appointment is done due to high demand.

Since appointments get filled quickly, Johnson said it is important to plan ahead.

“It’s definitely a lot more busy around midterms and finals. It’s always better to plan ahead if you want to take advantage of the service during that time,” she said.

Johnson encourages clients to leave their name and number at the front desk in case a spot opens up.

Massage therapy appointments can be made at the front desk in the Student Life Center.

A 30-minute massage costs $35, a one-hour massage $55 and an hour-and-a-half massage costs $75.

All massage services are the same price, only varying by duration.

Students can use BearBucks on any massage service, but there is no discount for students or faculty.