ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Patients at the University of Michigan Health System can now request bedside massages, thanks to the new Massage Therapy Program, where nationally certified massage therapists provide a healing touch to inpatients. Massage sessions are designed to enhance wellness through physical and mental relaxation and reduce pain by alleviating muscle tension.

Program coordinator Tracy King emphasizes the importance of creating a “high touch” healing environment that compliments their current medical treatment at the U-M. “Our ultimate goal is to decrease patients suffering and enhance their quality of life,“ she says.

Nearly 150 inpatients have already benefited from this new program.

“I had headaches and a lot of pain in my back and sides, and the massage therapist helped a lot,” says Stacy Sanders of Fenton, Mich., who received massages following his open-heart surgery at U-M’s Cardiovascular Center.

“It seems to be very comforting to the patients,” says massage therapist Wendy Woerner. “We’re able to give them relief from their anxiety, pain and tension. With our care patients receive a warm, nurturing touch.”

“Massage can help patients who are recovering from surgery or experiencing aches and pains within their body. In short, any patient in the hospital can universally benefit from massage,” says Steven F. Bolling, M.D., professor of surgery at U-M.

The implementation of the UMHS Massage Therapy Program is a prime example of the Michigan Difference and how U-M enhances their mission of “patients and families first,” Bolling says. Therapists work directly with the patients’ physician to ensure that massage therapy is appropriate during their time of treatment.

For additional information about the UMHS Massage Therapy Program, call 734-232-5029.