MAYANK KUMAR, Special to The Denisonian—Starting this fall, the Whisler Center for Student Wellness introduced Aromatouch and Reiki services that will be provided by Diane Schwendeman, who is certified in doTERRA’s AromaTouch Technique and is a Reiki Master candidate with The Reiki Alliance. 

Both Aromatouch and Reiki are part of the many alternative therapies that Whisler has launched recently. The most recent Denison Student Wellness Newsletter sent out on October 1 explains that alternative therapies are “health treatments that are not classified as standard Western medical practice and encompass a variety of disciplines that include everything from diet and exercise to mental conditioning and lifestyle changes.” 

The informational poster in the newsletter further explains that AromaTouch “is a clinical approach to essential oil application… Immediate benefits may include a perception of reduction in stress and overall sense of wellbeing.” Reiki “is hands-on natural healing using universal life force energy… Reiki promotes relaxation, assists in the body’s natural healing process and strengthens emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.” 

Michelle Barcelona, Associate Director of Health Services said that the two services were highly requested according to responses received in a Student Development survey sent out last year. She further explained, “We started looking into alternative therapies and incorporating them into overall wellness. We want students to have other options with which they can be proactive in how they can manage their health. We are looking to continue to grow our alternative therapies and offer massage and acupuncture as well.”

Dustin Brentlinger, Executive Director for Student Health and Wellness remarked, “For us, wellness is a bigger picture than healthcare. Our goal with offering alternative therapies and mindfulness training such as Koru and Urban Zen yoga is to encourage students to be proactive in their approach to wellness. We practice self-care on the physical health side all the time but not on the mental health side. Offering these services is also a step in opening up a conversation about mental health self-care and the stigma surrounding it.” 

Addressing the stigma surrounding mental health self-care and seeking resources for the same, Barcelona said, “The aim of offering Aromatouch, Reiki and other alternative services that students can engage in is that they can learn how to better navigate stress, which plays into mental health self-care. ” 

Shwendeman remarked that, “While these services can help with stress management and build tools in students self-care tool-boxes, students should obviously see a medical practitioner when required.”

Schwendeman will have slots available to provide either service on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. An Aromatouch service lasts around forty-five minutes while a Reiki session lasts around an hour. Fees are charged for services, however, red-thread grants are available to students with financial need and students that are Pell-eligible to cover the cost of services as well. Students are encouraged to call Whisler at 740-587-6200 with questions or to schedule an appointment.