What To Expect During a Massage – COVID Edition

Whether you are an experienced massage therapy client or not, you may have some additional questions that stem from the idea of being massaged at this time. It’s now the beginning of August in 2021, but it’s not so very long ago that this country was on some sort of lockdown, hording toilet paper and Clorox wipes while standing a pool noodles’ length away from everyone else.  So it seems like a complete 180 to be contemplating a massage. Questions and hesitation are natural – so here’s an overview of the most commonly asked questions and changes to routine here in the office.

Q. Is massage safe?

A. As far as during these COVID times? Well, for most people with precautions, it’s pretty safe – but everything depends on your risk tolerance and your own personal risk factors.  Read on and you’ll have a better handle on where you might land on this sliding scale…and what might change your answers.

Q. Did you do massage during the height of COVID? When did you start again?

A. I shut down hard and completely in March of 2020 and did not reopen until May 1st of 2021, after vaccines were widely available in our area.  During the shutdown I tried my hand at some remote work, shepherded my kiddo through remote schooling, and generally watched too much Netflix and fretted about the state of the world.

Q. Are you vaccinated? What’s your policy on this?

A. I am fully vaccinated, I got both Pfizer shots back in the spring.  I always get my flu shot, and whenever boosters are approved for the COVID shots, I’ll get those, too.  Since I reopened, I’m only seeing fully vaccinated clients. When the numbers went way down in the early summer, I started toying with the idea of non-vaccinated clients, but before I could implement it, Delta snuck up and smacked us all.  I need to stay safe for myself, my family and my other clientele, so that’s my policy and I’m sticking to it. Anyone booking with me for the first time will be asked about their vaccination status, and I appreciate seeing cards (or pictures of cards on your phone if you forget) during that first intake.

Q. How do you handle masks?

A. I use ’em, I love ’em. I personally default to a KF-94 mask, a Korean version of the N95, with a boat origami shape that fits closely to my nose and chin without fogging up my glasses but doesn’t touch my lips. I chose it after taking a deep dive into epidemiologist recommendations and testing what worked for me and my face shape while still being very safe. I keep extras on hand, and will be happy to provide you with one to try and ordering info for where I get them because they rock. I ask that you come in a mask, a good one without a valve that covers your nose and mouth, and while transmission is high in our area and with the current CDC recommendations, I’m in favor of you keeping it on during the session even though we’re both fully vaccinated.  This got more important recently as the CDC discovered that it is possible to transmit COVID even though you’re vaccinated.

Q. How’s your ventilation situation?

A. This is important, and I’ll say it louder for those in the back, because COVID is AIRBORNE. 6 feet doesn’t cut it, and there needs to be air exchange.  I use a HEPA stand alone filter that is rated for a room 3x the size of mine so that the air turns over more quickly. The location that I am in is very uncrowded – not a lot of traffic in and out, and the vast majority of it is headed straight for the yoga studio, and that is on a separate ventilation system that doesn’t share air. IF you are especially immunocompromised or nervous about this, please CALL me so that I can book you an appointment during a time when there will be the fewest other guests in the building, or after there has been a long lull in appointments, like the first session of the day.

Q. What other mitigation methods do you have in place?

A. I’m testing regularly – I try for about once a week with a PCR test, and I post the results on my business facebook page. I minimize my social and public interactions, go masked everywhere indoors, dine only outdoors with other fully vaccinated people, and no large gatherings. I have a small “bubble” of just my own immediate family, my works-at-home significant other and his retired mom, and they’re all also very careful.  I’m the biggest risk factor of all of them since I see clients in the office… with the exception of my son, who just started in person high school this week and will be with me every other week. The kiddo is vaxxed and masked, but it means that my circle just got a bit bigger. I’m considering doing regular rapid testing with him for my own peace of mind.

Q. Has anything changed with the Delta variant?

A. I am watching the local hospitals to get a sense of community spread and CDC recommendations for what is the most current science.  This made me tighten up my mask policy a bit, but I hadn’t really stopped being super careful so not much else changed.

Q. Do these policies extend to the whole building?

A. Well, no.  I’m an independent contractor here, and I’m not able to speak for everyone else here.  Most of us are pretty careful, but I’m not certain of the vaccination status of all the folks here or their clients and masks are the rule in my space, not for everyone.  Again, if you have hesitation because of this, I understand and contact me so I can try to schedule you during a time that will minimize or eliminate anyone but me being here.

Q. How do I get the most up to date information?

A. I wish I could tell you that I will keep this blog post up to date, but I probably won’t, fully.  So you can always check my business facebook page for the most up to date test results and of course you know that I will contact you directly if there is ever a quarantine need because of exposure, etc. If you should happen to test positive within 5 days of seeing me, please let me know so I can contact trace and test.

More questions?  Get in touch!  You can text me at 813-501-7568 or email me at Leslie@QualityLifeMassageTherapy.com , or you can head over to my business facebook and send me a message. As much as I have tried to fix the ‘contact me’ form on my website, it just has never worked right so that’s not the best way, I believe I disabled it…