When You Come Back

Massage therapists and bodyworkers are eager to see you again

By Staff

As states allow for the reopening of massage therapy and bodywork businesses across the country, your practitioners are incorporating new procedures to keep you safe. Some of these changes will be mandated by the state or massage regulatory boards, and some will be protocols your therapist has adapted from the guidance given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) and other trusted industry sources. Here is a quick look at how some things might be different at your next massage or bodywork appointment.

Big Changes You Might See

Hours—Appointments might be limited. Your therapist may reopen slowly and only work a few days a week, or they may have fewer appointments available throughout the day to allow for increased sanitation procedures between clients.

Masks—Regulations may require that both you and your therapist wear a mask during your session. It may be a little awkward and strange at first, but your therapist will walk you through it all.

Intake—You may be asked a lot more questions on your initial health intake or subsequent health update forms. In addition to questions therapists have always asked, including what medications are you taking, previous injuries, etc., you might also be asked about any recent travel, exposure to anyone with COVID-19, or symptoms you’ve recently experienced like a dry cough, or if you’ve had any trouble with heart rate during exercise, seen any new lesions on your body, or had new onset of muscle soreness.

Sanitation Has Always Been Number One

Your massage therapist has always practiced the most stringent of hygienic practices and that hasn’t changed. Here are some practices you could expect to see:
• Sheets, blankets, and bolster covers will be changed after every client.
• Time will be taken between appointments to thoroughly clean the treatment room and reset the massage table with clean linens.
• Bathrooms and high-touch surfaces will be disinfected throughout the day using EPA-registered cleaning products.
• Hand sanitizer will be available for clients and therapists to use before and after the appointment, and your therapist will practice stringent hand sanitation protocols.

What Might Be Different About the Appointment

The caring service you’ve received from your therapist will remain the same. A few things may change that will provide further safety for your therapeutic interaction.

When You Arrive

You may be asked to wait in your car until your appointment, or your therapist may text you when it’s time to come in. This is done to ensure that social distancing between clients can be adhered to. Upon entering the office, your therapist may ask you some questions about COVID-19 symptoms and take your temperature. (Those questions may be repeated in your health intake or health update forms.) This will help your therapist determine whether the massage should proceed or be rescheduled. Your therapist will rely on you to call and reschedule your massage appointment if you are feeling ill or have any COVID-19 symptoms, including dry cough, sore throat, chills, fever of 100°F or higher, shortness of breath, new skin lesions (especially on the feet), new onset of muscle aches, and new loss of taste or smell.

During the Session

In addition to the use of masks, you might notice that your session becomes quieter. This not only creates greater intention and intensifies the focus of both client and therapist on the work being done, but it’s another way to cut down on aerosols we emit when we talk, and the number of droplets in the air. Also, massage work on the face may be limited.

Clients may be urged to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before leaving. In addition, your therapist may have some contactless payment options available for you, or will have a freshly disinfected credit card reader available for your payment. Please be sure to communicate with your therapist if you become ill in the week following your appointment, or if you subsequently find out you were unknowingly exposed to someone with COVID-19 before your session occurred.

While things may look a little different at your next massage or bodywork appointment, the context of the therapeutic interaction you will have with your therapist will remain unchanged—and everyone following best practices can ensure that good work will be done.