Student Counseling Services offers a relaxation and stress management service known as the Zen Den and includes massage and biofeedback free of charge to students, according to Jan Miller, licensed psychologist and coordinator of the Zen Den.
“The Zen Den rooms are two of them, one of them is the Zen Den relaxation room, and that is by far probably the more popular of the two,” Miller said. “It has got a massage chair in there which is pretty awesome, students really love it, and there is a photo-therapy lamp which is really good for students who feel like they just need a little more extra sunlight.”
Miller said the extra light helps with people who have seasonal affective disorder or a Vitamin D deficiency.
The relaxation room also includes a space for meditation or yoga, according to Miller.
Miller said the second room is the biofeedback room in which a person is able to see what is physiologically happening within themselves on a computer screen.
The biofeedback measures heart rate and sweat production, which can be monitored through the games offered on computers, according to Miller.
“Regulating your breathing is the quickest way to regulate your physiological response to stress,” Miller said.
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
The Zen Den has been fully operational since August 2013, and there are some improvements that will be added in the future, according to Miller.
“We are looking to revamp it a little, we are going to put a computer in there that students can listen more to meditation podcasts or some yoga online,” Miller said. “We want to make that room kind of a one-stop relaxation room.”
Miller said students schedule a 30-minute orientation that introduces them to both rooms and how to use them, and thereafter schedule an appointment to use the Zen Den rooms.
Students can use the rooms every day, free of charge, however there is a $10 no-show charge if the appointment is not canceled, according to Miller.
“We see a lot of students here and for a lot of different reasons, and I like to think of these two rooms as preventative, so not just fixing it after you’re stressed, but also preventing the stress,” Miller said.
Cristiana Shipma, junior in communication, Spanish and community and civic engagement said she liked the massage chair.
“I really enjoyed the massage area you just sit in a massage chair and there is peaceful music,” Shipma said.
Shipma said she found the biofeedback room stressful because she had to try and focus on breathing.
Shipma said the Zen Den is a good resource not many students know about.
“There is really a negative stigma that’s associated with counseling that shows that you can’t control your problems or you’re too much of a mess, but I think counseling is honestly the healthiest thing that people could do,” Shipma said.
Shipma said counseling is a way for people to talk to someone who is not biased.
”I think it shows a lot of strength and confidence to go to counseling,” Shipma said.
Rebekah Mote, senior in business administration and Spanish, said she enjoyed the Zen Den.
“Overall it was just a nice place to sit and be in quiet and it was a nice atmosphere built with a specific purpose to be calming and I feel that it gave its desired effect,” Mote said.
She said the location of the Zen Den can be problematic because of the distance, however if there were more locations, more people would be able to use it, especially if there was one in the student recreational center.
Miller said they will have a mobile Zen Den around campus which will have components of the main location to help with relaxation techniques so more students can go to the main location.
“We are not at the center of campus but rather at the periphery of campus and so sometimes students don’t think about us or use our resources,” Miller said.
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman