“We all act like the world will stop if we stop,” says Lara Pearson, Massage Therapy Services Coordinator at Butler’s Health and Recreation Complex (HRC).
Pearson sees adults working 60 hours a week, students pulling all-nighters to study before exams, and society as a whole working overtime while rarely taking a moment to pause. And she gets it, but she also knows the stress it brings. She used to get caught up in the frenzy of life, too, until she discovered the merits of regular massage therapy.
Pearson says massage is more than a luxurious spa experience, but rather an important tool within healthcare. Massages reduce muscle tension, lower blood pressure, improve circulation, reduce stress hormones, enhance athletic performance, and improve overall mental health. And yet, many people don’t know about the benefits that massage therapy has to offer.
Pearson was one of them. She had been working a high-stress job in the corporate insurance world for 13 years when, one day, she received a gift card for a massage. The experience entirely changed her view of well-being, so she enrolled in massage therapy school on the weekends in hopes of beginning a side business. After a few months, this choice led to a full career change when she joined the HRC staff at Butler in 2011.
As a massage therapist, Pearson loves working with Butler students, faculty, and staff. She hopes the availability of massage therapy services will eventually be common knowledge across campus, as it caters to a variety of needs ranging from letting go of some stress during finals week to preparing for or recovering from sports competitions. As Pearson strives to increase awareness about the health benefits of massage, she also works to end the stigma associated with mental health issues.
Her passion for mental health awareness began at an early age. As a young adult, Pearson attempted suicide and was admitted to a stress center, where she was connected with a counselor.
“It literally saved my life to know I was not alone,” she says, “to know that there was help out there, and to know all I had to do was ask someone.”
Ever since, Pearson has been advocating for mental health awareness. She believes our most important job in life is to take care of our mental health, and that care can come in many forms.
“True healthcare begins with self-care,” Pearson says. “It’s important to be aware of the link between physical and mental health. Massage therapy is just one of many tools to help you take care of your mind and body.”
Lara Pearson, BCTMB
Member of American Massage Therapy Association