Massage within the pandemic is...complicated. I have done a lot of thinking and talking with other body workers about safety, precautions, and contraindications, as well as extensive research gathering through the CDC and other organizations.Information is changing often, and arranging protocols to lower the risk of transmission is never simple or straightforward, of course. This statement is crafted to address concerns you may have about massage under pandemic, convey what I know as a licensed health professional, and to collaborate on bodywork options that work for both of us.
WHAT WE KNOW
We know that stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, body pain, tension, etc. lowers immunity, quality of life, and health. We also know that transmission of COVID-19 occurs from droplets from one person getting into another's eyes, nose, and/or mouth, and that the severity of contracting the virus can range from asymptomatic infection to death. We know that COVID-19 is impacting Black and brown communities the most, and other folks who are unable to be physically distant from others or have access to hygiene supplies. I’ll circle back around and say that stress, anxiety, pain, lack of sleep, etc. are huge factors that decrease our health and immunity, and because of this, I am willing to accept the risk for myself to continue in-person body work within our community. In the paragraphs below, I will outline all the ways we can be in consensual health collaboration with varying degrees of contact/risk.
COVID-19 is a virus we are learning about rapidly and will take some time to understand fully. It’s not known what long term health impacts are involved post-viral contraction. We have heard that this virus seems to have cardiovascular implications, specifically blood clotting leading to strokes and heart attacks. This seems to happen after folks have recovered from the virus. Does this also apply to those of us who have been asymptomatically infected? Research is saying so. My desire to communicate this aspect to you is to warn you of potential risk for deep tissue massage. I will take precautions to keep you safe by employing techniques that are adjusted to the potential of blood clots, as a general rule from now on.
Massage is a slight stress on the body on its own, can can affect the immune response to clear metabolic wastes that have been released into the body through this manual therapy. This means that massage can slightly cause susceptibility to infection as it is working hard at continuing the healing processes started by our session. Please reschedule if you are feeling even slightly run down pre-session, and care for yourself to a great degree post-session. This means drinking lots of water, resting, eating nourishing foods, anything that you do to nurture yourself. YOU DESERVE IT.
Massage during this pandemic is not ‘safe’. Many of us do not have access to safety, whether it is due to our racial identities, gender and sexual identities, differences in cognitive or physical abilities, body sizes and shapes, etc. I will outline the harm reduction practices I use for in-person bodywork session in order to mitigate our risks of transmitting COVID-19 (and other infections diseases) to or from each other.
-Vaccination plus booster, which greatly reduces the transmission rate between us -Routinely testing myself and encouraging clients to do the same -Sanitize every touchable surface and change sheets between clients -Wash my hands regularly -There is an air purifier in the space turning the air over -Wear a KN95 or double mask for each session, require mask wearing for clients -Schedule space in between clients for the air to turn over -Attempt to perform much of the session face down -I use a space that others are in infrequently to reduce transmission -Provide hand sanitizer, soap, paper towels for myself and clients
I don't require proof of vax or negative test, though if you can test before our session, PLEASE do. I require all clients to wear a mask 100% of the time, and to wash hands as often as possible. Please reschedule your appointment if you feel at all under the weather, it is no problem. This is important not just because of COVID-19 transmission, but because massage is a stress to the body and we don't want to add more pressure to your immune system if it's already working to fight off an illness.
I use information and protocols outlined by my professional organizations (here and here) the CDC (here).
I encourage you to test yourself regularly. If you test positive for Covid-19 within two weeks after our session, please let me know so I can responsibly contact trace.
ALTERNATIVES FOR IN-PERSON SESSIONS
I offer online, guided self massage sessions, as well as guided partner massage sessions. Please note in the contact form if you are interested in this!