West Virginia Universitys Student Recreation Center will be helping students relax while studying for final exams withSpa Day at the RecTuesday, Nov. 28.

Weve been looking at ways to help students relieve stress throughout each semester at WVU and also during the peak stress times around finals,said Colleen Harshbarger, the centers manager of fitness, wellness and informal recreation.

Spa Dayis designed to help students alleviate stress during the most difficult week of studying before finals. Spa activities, all to be held at the Rec Center on the Evansdale Campus, will include massages, acupuncture and facials.

Certified massage therapists Hannah Divello and Mary Beth Korf will be giving 15-minute chair massages and Britt Klandorf will be doing facials from 4-7 p.m. Jim Slaymaker will be doing acupuncture from 4-6 p.m.

Those interested in facials need to sign up in advance by e-mailing Nancy Oliverio, nancy.oliverio@mail.wvu.edu . All otherSpa Dayactivities are on a first-come, first-served basis.

In addition, the center is offering stress-relief classes,Relaxation Exploration,taught by Sue Hodgson. The classes teach students how to get let go of tension and clear the mind. Classes are 20-30 minute sessions that include progressive relaxation, visualization and breathe work.

Students can take the relaxation classes at 4 p.m. every Wednesday. The classes will also be offered during the spring semester.

We know stress is a big issue for students,Harshbarger said.Students really enjoy these stress-relief classes. We teach different ways of using the mind and breathing to facilitate relaxation.

Students looking for additional ways to relieve stress can also participate in the centers many other classes and activities. Some popular classes include Zumba, Tai Chi and Spinning, all of which offer several fun ways to let go of tension and stay healthy.

Zumba, taught by Gemma Carricato, combines high-energy music from all over the world with easy dance steps in a fun, effective workout that burns calories. The class is for all fitness levels. Participants are invited to make up their own dance moves, to laugh and simply enjoy themselves. Dance and fitness moves sculpt and tone the entire body, including the hips and stomach areas.

Zumba is an amazing class,said Jade Vrana, a sophomore exercise physiology student at WVU .The instructor glows. Shes so happy, and has a lot of great energy. She makes it a lot of fun. Everybody loves this class.

Tai Chi is taught by Xialong Tang, who has 20 years experience working as a high-level instructor in China. Tai Chi began as a martial art and has developed into a therapeutic practice with many health and stress-management benefits.

For those interested in cycling, Spinning offers a dynamic way to train indoors. Participants exercise on stationary Spin cycling machines designed by Mad Dogg Athletics. An instructor uses music and guides students through simulated hill climbs, endurance rides and sprintsall designed to mimic road cycling. The WVU Rec Center recently becameSpin Certifiedand has 12 certified instructors.

Spinning is very popular,Harshbarger said.A lot of people want to participate. Spinning is a fun group activity.

Other classes at the Rec Center include Swing Dancing, Yoga, Pilates, and many others. The center offers at least 50 classes per week. For the full schedule, visit studentreccenter.wvu.edu.

The Rec Center offers trained fitness staff to help people with stress relief, fitness classes and regular workouts.

Staff members are currently giving free body mass index and blood pressure assessments seven days a week. The center will be adding a free flexibility assessment in January. Those interested can ask at the centers front desk.

The free assessments give you an idea of where you are physically before you begin and while youre doing an exercise program,said Harshbarger.Its a great way to interact with our staff, who can help give you exercise tips and stretching techniques to prevent injury.

Students can also accessAsk the Expertat the Rec Centers Web site. Experts are available in nutrition, sports psychology, exercise science, and internal medicine. Students can go online and click on the expert of their choice who can help answer questions about exercise, eating habits, managing stress, and general health. Experts will send an e-mail reply to questions, and possibly arrange a personal meeting, depending on each persons needs.

For more information, contact Colleen Harshbarger, 304-293-5054.