Stressbusters soothing students’ stress away

By Melissa Espinoza
Flapjack Chronicle

Today’s college students are under more stress than previous generations. Students are no longer able to make school their primary focus when they must also balance part-time jobs, consider how to pay back loans while tuition costs rise, find jobs after graduation in a tough economy, and maybe have a social life. Luckily for HSU student’s Stressbusters has “got your back.”

The Stressbusters program began soothing students’ pains and aches last May and has been a great addition on campus according to Health Educator for the Student Health& Wellness department Mira Friedman.  After receiving a $10,000 grant from the Humboldt Loyalty Fund, Friedman was able to bring the nationwide program to HSU. Jordan Friedman, the founder of the Stressbusters program, provided  personal training sessions for all student volunteers ensuring that they learn all proper techniques.

“This program is the first of its kind at HSU, we have students at every session, and have done a few hundred back rubs since May,” said Friedman.

Denise Villalobos, a 22 year-old recreation major, is a student volunteer with the program who hopes one day to be a trained massage therapist.

“The techniques we use during the five minutes we work with someone’s shoulders, back, neck, arms, and hands are simple but lay the foundation for massage therapy that any individual would need to know if they were to pursue a career in the art,” said Villalobos.

During their sessions the Stressbusters do not just focus on back rubs, they created a multifaceted space for students to relax and de-stress. While students wait to be treated they have the option to relax in a massage chair, foot massager, or close their eyes and listen to the relaxing music being played. Soon the program will also have certified service dogs as another method of stress reduction.

Villalobos explained that the addition of dogs is based from research that has shown that animals have an ability to help calm humans.

“They have even integrated this idea at LAX in April with the launch of the Pets Unstressing Passengers program or PUPS,” said Villalobos.

Kelsey Hendricks, a mathematics education major, has 4 years of experience as a masseuse and explained that she enjoys being a part of the program because she is also able to relax as she helps others. Hendricks went on to say that she enjoys the “spa like atmosphere” the Stressbusters create and the importance of the service for students, “I think Stressbusters is a great service to have on campus because it provides students with an extremely effective stress outlet at absolutely no cost to them.”

With hopes of expanding the program after its departure this May, Villalobos has taken on the task of creating the Integrated Health Interest Club. She explained that the club will continue building on stress management techniques for students.

“When I realized I had a senior project to unfold this semester I spoke with Mira about starting a club that included the Stress Busting service and went beyond to include other stress management techniques. Sure enough, with much support from her and the student body, the Integrated Health Interest Club was created.”

So next time you are feeling stressed or just want an easy way to relax the Stressbusters have “got your back” with 5 minute back rubs every other Monday from 1-2 and every Friday from 2-3 in the lounge of the Recreation and Wellness Center.

For more information about the Stressbusters program please contact Mira Friedman at

For more information about the Integrated Health Club please contact Denise Villalobos at

For more information about the Humboldt State Counseling and Psychological services on campus you can visit the Health Center on campus or go to their website


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