In my 17-year massage therapy career, nothing has happened like COVID-19. I’m sure you feel the same shock waves I feel. It’s disconcerting and upsetting for all of us.
In the midst of all this uncertainty, there’s one thing I know for sure. It’s currently unsafe to give or receive massage as long as there are social/physical distancing requirements. Together, we spend 60-90 minutes completely within a 6-foot radius. That puts therapists, clients, their families, and anyone else who enters the massage room at varying degrees of risk.
Right now, the distance requirements come from several sources:
- Pennsylvania Department of Health
- U.S. Federal Government
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
- Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
I am developing plans for resuming operations in the future. But that still time looks quite distant. It’s also very much out of my control. Rather, the virus is the primary driver, along with the government agencies mentioned above.
Right now, my information sources are also various massage therapy organizations and experts. All of them are saying it is way too soon to consider opening. The safety risks are too great for everyone involved. Ethically, massage therapists agree to “do no harm.” Opening too soon is the opposite of this principle.
The organizations are developing recommended protocols. They all currently depend on readily available personal protective equipment (PPE) and hospital-grade cleaning solutions. When these are no longer needed for primarily hospital and medical settings, massage therapy will begin to move towards opening.
The timelines look daunting for both clients and therapists. You need our hands, and we want to offer the help we can give. But life and health come first.
With all of these factors in mind, I guesstimate it will be six months before I can ethically and safely begin to see clients again. Because financial realities don’t include long-term rent with no income, I will move out of my Rohrerstown Road location by June 1.
But I am not stopping my practice; just going on an extended pause. I am conserving money so I can reopen when it is safe. Even though I have no idea where, I know I’ll find a spot for us to meet again.