The seniors at Avery Heights ease into the meeting-room chairs of their Hartford residential living facility, ready to indulge in the freebie they’ve waited for all week. They set aside walkers and canes, rolling up shirt sleeves in preparation. And when the visiting massage students finally press their gentle palms into backs and necks, the room’s collective shoulders melt and tense muscles relax.

Eyes close. Heads lean forward. The 25 residents settle in to savor 20 minutes of bliss.

Hartford Courant, Hartford, Connecticut, Dec. 17, 2008