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Trocaire College marked the grand opening Monday of its massage therapy student clinic with the announcement that the state-of-the-art facility will be open to the public starting Saturday.

Cost will be $25 for a one-hour, full-body massage at the clinic at 360 Choate Ave. in South Buffalo. Sophomores in training to become licensed massage therapists will do the honors.

"Our program has a medical emphasis but a holistic perspective, so people who have conditions that would benefit from massage will be welcome to come," said program director Lisa Mertz. "Our students are well trained and comply with state requirements."

Trocaire introduced Western New York's first academic degree and certificate programs in massage therapy a year ago.

"We already have 75 students enrolled," Mertz said, which is "pretty much full capacity."

Sheilagh Meegan, 18, is a freshman in the two-year degree program.

"I love it here," she said during the clinic's grand opening. "Having the clinic open to the public seems like a really good idea. You'll get a lot of hands-on practice before you go out and actually do (massage therapy) yourself."

Meegan, a recent Mount Mercy Academy graduate, will take two semesters of classroom instruction at Trocaire before spending two semesters training in the field.

Although massage therapy training is offered elsewhere in the Buffalo area, Trocaire's added academic curriculum allows its students to apply for federal and state financial aid as well as institutional grants and scholarships.

In addition to working at the Trocaire clinic, massage therapy students will work with Dr. Matthew Cote, director of New York Chiropractic College's teaching clinic in Depew, and Dr. Michael R. Kuettel, chairman of radiation medicine at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

The massage therapy student clinic at Trocaire will be open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, Mertz said. To make an appointment, call 827-2518.

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