“We wanted the space to be calming and relaxing, which was nice after fitting the center into an office suite for many years,” said Jeanne Mahon, director of the Center for Wellness. The newly renovated center offers “proactive and preventative” services like meditation, massage, acupuncture, and others, which all have enormous health benefits.

Justin Ide/Harvard Staff Photographer

Campus & Community

Relaxation station

3 min read

Updated wellness hub has much to offer Harvard affiliates

It’s a serene space, with the cooling color palette of a luxe spa — or even your pillowy dreamscapes. The Center for Wellness, now settling into its new home in Harvard’s Holyoke Center Arcade, has an updated look and more swoon-worthy offerings.

Formerly located on the second floor of Harvard University Health Services (HUHS), the center was in the right environment, but the wrong space. The center’s director, Jeanne Mahon, had a vision for change when the Holyoke Center’s Allston Room became available.

“We wanted the space to be calming and relaxing, which was nice after fitting the center into an office suite for many years,” said Mahon. “And with the Holyoke Center location there’s a greater accessibility to students.”

Planning began last fall and renovations wrapped up in time for this semester’s start. Though equipped with four large treatment rooms that can accommodate more classes and services, the Center for Wellness still utilizes the space in Monks Library at HUHS, and its classes are so in-demand they often sell out.

Popular activities such as yoga offer many physical and mental health benefits, Mahon notes, such as weight loss, improved concentration, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and more.

“Our offerings are proactive and preventative. It’s all about quality of life, stress reduction, reducing muscular fatigue, and tension,” said Mahon.

The center also boasts special workshops in meditation, self-massage for migraine sufferers and runners, even knitting. The classes are for a fee, and participants in the Harvard University Group Health Plan receive a discount of up to 50 percent on certain services. On-site acupuncture, massage, reiki, and shiatsu appointments can be booked with a licensed professional, with students receiving special pricing for one-hour massage or acupuncture sessions. And on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the center, $12 will get you a 10-minute chair massage.

“The Center for Wellness allows us to better demonstrate the importance of complementary therapies such as acupuncture and massage in improving the overall health and quality of life for the Harvard community,” said David S. Rosenthal, director of HUHS.

The center’s website lists all programs and workshops, and registration can be completed online. There’s also an interactive “relaxation room,” which can be activated on the website.

The exercise — perfect for those stressful Mondays — flashes calming photographs of nature. Lulling music swirls in the background as the voice asks the viewer to breathe and let go of any tension.

The only thing missing is a massage. But not for long.

To view a listing of classes, workshops, and other services, visit the Wellness Center at the Holyoke Center Arcade, or its website.