Kiwi students to give free massages for mental health

A group of Otago students and staff are offering free massages from Monday, as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

According to the Otago Polytechnic, research indicates that massage increases "happiness hormones" (oxytocin and serotonin) and decrease "stress hormones".

Polytechnic staff and students will be giving free massages throughout the week, including at the Fiveways expo in Dunedin on Friday between 3pm and 4:30pm.

Senior lecturer David McQuillan said in a statement that regular massage can reduce stress levels.

Elevated levels of stress hormones have been linked to anxiety, depression, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and digestive trouble, the polytechnic says.

"While massage can't be considered a treatment for most of these conditions, regular massage can reduce our stress levels, so could be considered a preventative measure," McQuillan said. 

He said serotonin can help improve mood and aid digestion, memory and sleep.

"Oxytocin helps us to feel less stressed, more empathetic and helps to support healthy relationships."

People can book an appointment by emailing


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