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For ECC students, the medium is the massage

Village Grayslake trustees decided adjust their zoning ordinance relating massage therapy establishments by allowing their use any zoning classificatibased upissuance

Village of Grayslake trustees decided to adjust their zoning ordinance relating to massage therapy establishments by allowing their use in any zoning classification based upon issuance of a special use permit. | Sun-Times Media File

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Updated: November 12, 2012 11:55AM

ELGIN — Sheila Aloba of Elgin giggled as Megan Daniele worked her fingers into her back, her face smushed and arms dangling over the sides of her chair. Crumpled candy wrappers littered the seven tables where other students bent over their books.

That’s not normally the scene one would expect in a library with midterm exams approaching at Elgin Community College.

But the massages, the candy, the raffle prizes and the studying with tutors all were part of the Midterm Tune-up Monday and Wednesday hosted by the Tutoring Center on the second floor of ECC’s Renner Academic Library and Learning Resources.

“Midterms is a critical time, and we wanted to make sure students had the help they need,” said Susan Miedwig, manager of the Tutoring Center.

That’s how Miedwig and Annabelle Rhoades, associate dean of academic supports at Elgin Community College, came up with the idea of the midterm tune-up several years ago. This is the second or third time the tutoring center has offered massages in addition to homework help during midterms, they said.

Students are “delighted when they walk in the room and see the massage chairs and candy,” Miedwig said.

And not only that, but “even if they stop in for the candy, they’re finding us.”

Many students don’t look for something until they need it, Rhoades said. So they otherwise may not have remembered the college offers a tutoring center that can help them prepare for midterms, she said.

That help includes both private tutoring and online tutoring, according to Miedwig. And students are free to come in for “five minutes or five hours” during drop-in tutoring hours for specific subjects, she said.

Those drop-in hours are listed each semester on bookmarks available at the college and on its website,

The Tutoring Center will award 82 raffle prizes this week; and already last week, before the tune-up was offered, about 500 students came to the center’s drop-in hours, Rhoades said. The associate dean said she expects that number to be up this week.

The last time the center offered massages, Miedwig said, students from the college’s massage therapy program gave more than 100 chair massages.

On Wednesday, three students sat waiting for massages while the three chairs were full with students already relaxing.

Most students complain about their necks and backs, according to Daniele, who lives in St. Charles and will graduate from the college’s massage therapy program in December. But that depends on their posture during studying, as well as where they carry their tension, she said.

Waiting for her massage Wednesday, Joceline Jimenez of Streamwood said not all her classes had midterm exams but that she definitely was stressed about one in accounting.

For the moment, though, Jimenez was excited about getting a massage. She’d never gotten one before, she said. And, “Now I know where to come for help.”

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