Dollars+Sense: Here's the rub

  • Article by: JOHN EWOLDT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 23, 2009 - 11:28 AM

Is "free" a cheap enough massage? Student clinics offer free and low-priced rubdowns to relax the physically or financially stressed.

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Massage Therapy Instructor Terry Clements instructs student Ashley Larson (left) on client Harvey Dicks during a session at Rasmussen College in Eden Praire, MN.

Photo: Joel Koyama, Star Tribune

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After his third back surgery, Harvey Dicks of Eagan noticed tension in his back that wasn't going away. Rather than seeking physical therapy, Dicks heard about a Rasmussen College massage clinic that charges $20 an hour, half the price of his co-pay for a session with a physical therapist. "I've gotten major relief," he said. "It's so relaxing I fall asleep most of the time."

With plenty of accredited massage schools throughout the Twin Cities, relief isn't far away. Two clinics even offer free services. You'll wait the longest to nab those appointments, but even the most expensive student massages top out at $45 an hour, a $20 to $50 savings over most massages.

If you feel a bit vulnerable about being nearly naked in the hands of a student, the newbie generally has nine to 18 months of instruction before working on paying clients. School clinics offer a wide range of massages from Swedish to reflexology, said Terry Clements, program coordinator and instructor at Rasmussen College in Eden Prairie.

The ease of getting an appointment depends on the school's calendar and the number of students near graduation. Clients are asked to fill out a health questionnaire before the first massage. If you're fantasizing about unlimited free massages, dream on. Schools that don't charge a fee limit the number of visits per quarter. When making an appointment, specify a student massage to get the discounted rate.

Aveda Institute

400 Central Av. SE., Minneapolis, 612-331-1400, www.avedainstitutemn.com

Hours: 12:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Mon., 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Tue.-Fri., 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.

Services: $45 for Elemental Nature massage, Chakra Balancing massage, body wraps ($50), Caribbean Therapy Foot Reflexology (60 minutes each) or $55 for 80 minutes. The school also offers hydrotherapy treatments with a Vichy shower ($50 for 60 minutes), which few schools offer.

Specials: Occasionally near the holidays.

CENTERPOINT MASSAGE AND SHIATSU THERAPY SCHOOL

1313 5th St. SE., Suite 209A, Minneapolis, 612-617-9090; www.centerpointmn.com, click on "for student clinic."

Hours: 5:15-8:15 p.m. Fri. and 9:45 a.m.- 4:45 p.m. Sat.

Services: $40 an hour for relaxation, deep tissue and Shiatsu massages. Spa clinic services such as salt glow exfoliation, clay wraps, stones and foot reflexology treatments will be offered in January for $45 to $55 for up to 75 minutes.

Specials: Coupons online for $5 to $10 off under "for student clinic."

GLOBE UNIVERSITY/MINNESOTA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

Blaine, 763-225-8028; Brooklyn Center, 763-398-5265; Plymouth, 763-398-5980; Shakopee, 612-436-7550 ext. 5; Woodbury, 651-714-7327. Elk River and Lakeville locations open later this year.

Hours: Times coincide with student training in the morning, afternoon or evening. Leave a voicemail and students will return calls. Due to demand, waiting lists are common.

Services: Free 60- to 90-minute massages, including deep tissue, Swedish, myofascial release, Thai, sports and energy work. Clients are limited to three free massages per quarter.

HIGH-TECH INSTITUTE

5100 Gamble Dr., St. Louis Park, 952-417-2245.

Hours: 2-6 p.m. Mon., Tues, Thurs. and Fri. All massages begin on the hour.

Services: $25 for 50 minutes for sports, Swedish, deep pressure, pregnancy and Eastern therapies. The appointment schedule is full until Oct. 1 except for cancellations. Ask to be put on a cancellation list.

NATIONAL AMERICAN UNIVERSITY

1550 W. Hwy. 36, Roseville, 651-855-6300.

Hours: 5-9 p.m. one weeknight per week, which changes. The next session is Jan.-March. Appointments can be made starting in December.

Services: Free one-hour massages. It's a Swedish-based program with more advanced techniques, including trigger point therapy, myofascial release and injury work. Clients are limited to two free massages per quarter.

NORTHWESTERN HEALTH SCIENCES UNIVERSITY

12445 River Ridge Blvd., Burnsville, 952-894-7620.

Hours: 2:30-6:30 p.m. Mon., noon-4 p.m. Wed., 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Fri.-Sat. through October. Varies by term.

Services: $40 per hour or $60 for 90 minutes for Swedish, trigger point therapy and cross fiber friction.

Specials: Buy nine massages for $360 and get one free.

RASMUSSEN COLLEGE

8301 93rd Av. N., Brooklyn Park, 763-493-4500; 3500 Federal Dr., Eagan, 651-687-9000; 7905 Golden Triangle Dr., Eden Prairie, 952-545-2000.

Hours: Tues. evenings and some Sat. mornings in Brooklyn Park. Some Thurs. evenings in Eagan. Wed. evenings in Eden Prairie. Limited openings through December.

Services: $20 for 1 hour of deep tissue or Swedish.

SISTER ROSALIND GEFRE SCHOOLS AND CLINICS OF MASSAGE

149 E. Thompson Av., Suite 150, West St. Paul, 651-554-3010, www.sister rosalind.org.

Hours: 10:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Fri., 9:30 a.m.-noon Sat. Appointments accepted year-round.

Services: $36 per hour for relaxation, sports, geriatric, pregnancy, reflexology and deep-tissue massage. Specify student rate.

ST. PAUL COLLEGE

235 Marshall Av., St. Paul, 651-846-1329, www.saintpaul.edu.

Hours: Noon-9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Fri. from Jan. 11-May 14 and June 1-July 23, 2010.

Services: $10 for 30 minutes, $20 for an hour, $30 for 90 minutes; includes deep tissue, myofascial, lymphatic drainage, reflexology, stone, light touch or trigger point therapy.

John Ewoldt • 612-673-7633 or jewoldt@startribune.com. If you spot a deal, share it at www.startribune.com/blogs/dealspotter.

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