For students looking for a study break, there is a new option on campus—massage chairs.

“The massage chair was ordered last year and arrived at the end of the academic year. It replaced three older and broken down chairs,” wrote Tom Szigethy, associate dean and director of the Duke Student Wellness Center. “The purpose was to assist students, let them relax and get a massage to de-stress from their day.”

There are currently three massage chairs available for student use—one on East Campus and two on West Campus—with an additional one expected to be added to West Campus soon, Szigethy noted.

The Oasis in Bell Tower residence hall, which is the Student Wellness Center’s home on East Campus, is offering several ways for students to evaluate and improve their personal wellness.

“I think the chair gives students a reason to stop by the Wellness Center and then they see all of the other elements to the Wellness Center and realize all that is at their fingertips—so they stay and check out many different aspects to wellness at the center like aromatherapy, Chinese baoding balls, Indian singing bowls and wellness artwork, to name a few,” Szigethy wrote.

The Wellness Center has received good feedback on the chair so far, Szigethy noted. First-year Axel Herrera Ramos said that she has enjoyed it.

“I’ve been a couple of times this year,” Ramos said. “I had gone there initially to get some information, but after that, [the massage chair] is basically why I went."

He noted that he sometimes visits the Wellness Center to use the massage chair after a workout. 

The Wellness Center plans to capitalize on the popularity of massage chairs with students by adding one to the Oasis room in the West Campus Wellness building as well, Szigethy explained. 

The two massage chairs currently on West Campus can be found in Wannamaker Quadrangle, where they are part of a yoga/meditation room. They were added during extensive renovations to the dorm this past summer. Wannamaker is also home to The Well, an upperclassmen residential learning community focused on supporting student wellness.

Last year, amidst an effort to utilize excess surplus funds, Duke Student Government considered the purchase of massage chairs for student use.

"The DSG Senate allocated $10,000 plus tax for massage chairs, but the purchase was not completed,” wrote DSG Executive Vice President Ilana Weisman, a senior, in an email.

Those funds have not been allocated otherwise while DSG internally deliberates whether or not to complete the purchase, Weisman noted.