covid-19 and massage therapy is #covidsafe

Want to hear some good COVID-19 massage news? Massage Therapy with safety protocols is SAFE!

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Owner David Weintraub, LMT writes about how our reopening is going, how we are practicing safely, and what’s next for Bodyworks DW!

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Our COVID-19 safety measures for massage therapy are working great – Read Our in Depth Safety Plan Here

As of Sunday, 2/12/2023, NYS has lifted the state mandate on wearing masks in healthcare facilities and most hospitals and doctors offices have made masks optional. We have decided that it’s finally time for us to make masks optional at our studios for both clients and therapists. However, if, as a client you would feel safest with your therapist also wearing a mask during treatment you can request this and our therapists will be happy to honor those requests. You may also find that your therapist or other clients in the studio continue to choose to wear a masks if they or their family are immunocompromised.

Updated 12/21/2021: We are monitoring the quickly changing situation with the spread of the Omicron variant. We have decided that for the safety of our clients and our staff, that all clients attending massage sessions at our studio must be fully vaccinated (1 dose of J&J or 2 doses of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines). We are announcing this as of today and will be checking for proof of vaccination for all clients starting January 3rd.

Updated 9/28/2021: As of today, all therapists at our studio are fully vaccinated for covid-19 and we will continue to hire only vaccinated staff at our studios. All of our support staff has either been fully vaccinated, or has received at least one dose of covid-19 vaccine and will be fully vaccinated by October 24th.

Updated 8/1/2021: In response to the latest reporting on the transmissibility of the Delta variant for covid-19, we are returning to our previous masking policy. Going forward, all clients and therapists will be required to wear a mask at our studios both in the waiting area and during treatment.

Updated 7/27/2021: We are monitoring the evolving situation with the Delta variant. Per newly announced NYC rules for public health care employees, we will be mirroring city policy and requiring our few remaining non-vaccinated staff to undergo a weekly covid PCR test.

UPDATE 5/24/21: In accordance with newly updated CDC and NYS guidelines, please consult our new guidelines for vaccinated massage clients here to see how protocols have changed. If you are not vaccinated all pre-existing protocols are still in effect.

Hi! So, we have been open now since July 6th and steadily rebuilding our team. The first couple of weeks felt pretty stressful. We have a whole list of new safety protocols and cleaning procedures to practice. What once felt routine and easy (all the things that happen before and after your massage) has took a while to adjust to, but is now the new normal. It feels good to be able to share some good COVID-19 massage news. Whew!

Our track record over the past 4 months is now over 1,500 appointments since reopening with zero issues of covid transmission. Therefore, I feel that I can comfortably say that massage therapy is a safe activity with our safety protocols securely in place. Thank you to all NYC’ers for taking masks and social distancing seriously! All of our hard work is what’s allowing businesses to stay open and for us specifically to be able to offer medical massage in New York.

With the recent uptick in cases in NYC, we are re-instituting mandatory PCR covid testing for our therapists. Since we reopened, I myself have had 7 tests, all were negative. As long as testing is readily available, therapists will test every two weeks even though it’s not required by NYS. You can view the therapists’ test results here.

Great COVID-19 Massage News: Bodyworks DW has moved ahead to our “Stage 2” Reopening

We’ve had months of practicing our new massage safety measures and things are running smoothly. So, we have moved ahead from our “soft” reopening to our “stage 2” reopening. This means we are starting to bring more therapists back to work. And using all of our treatment rooms. And soon, bringing the front desk back to the office.

Part of our confidence stems from knowing that it’s not just our studio that has stayed covid-19 free. I’ve spoken with numerous other studio owners both in NYC, and in upstate NY. Thankfully, I haven’t heard about anyone running into problems with covid. That means that hundreds of therapists have been working on thousands of clients with no issues or infections.

So, if massage therapy was going to be a source of transmissions, we’d have heard something by now. We haven’t, which is great COVID-19 massage news!

That doesn’t mean it’s impossible for transmissions to happen. A particular therapist in NYS (not at our studio!) could get lax with safety or be skirting the guidelines. Or a particular therapist could get lax with precautions outside of work and get the virus. But if massage therapy in general under the new guidelines was creating viral spread we would have heard about it by now from contact tracing programs. It’s wonderful to be able to say that medical massage in Midtown and Fidi at our studios is safe!

Massage Therapy Safety Protocols: A Quick Review

A lot of the changes we have made have been more on our side, including following CDC cleaning guidelines, setting up hand sanitizer stations, changing how we were storing linens, etc. Most of those are happening behind the scenes and don’t really change how you, as clients, experience getting a massage. We want to be transparent about them so that you can trust that we are keeping our studios clean. But in terms of what you actually “need to know” there are only really a few main changes.

Per NYS Regulations, All Therapists and Clients are Required to Wear Masks

Main Change #1: Masks & PPE

  • Masks must be worn at the studio by both therapist and client at all times, even during the massage! (with one exception which I’ll get to next)
  • However (and here’s the one exception), we are using pillowcases as face cradle covers to create a sealed chamber that acts like a mask, but isn’t jammed up on your face…
  • So, when you are face down, you get to take off your mask (if you want to…some people still prefer leaving them on and that’s fine too) since the pillowcase is enclosed and acts like a mask
  • We ask that you keep your mask handy so that you can put it on when you turn over or switch to face up or side lying positions
  • In case you were wondering, the NYS guidelines are very specific that masks must be worn by staff at all times when clients are present, even when further than 6 feet apart.

Main Change #2: Linens Safety

  • We have switched to two top sheets instead of a top sheet and blanket (easier to launder)
  • If you get cold, we still have table warmers, just let us know and we’ll turn them on
  • The table warmers are now underneath a fitted medical grade table cover that is easy to disinfect between clients
  • Again, we have swapped out our old fitted face cradle covers for pillowcases to allow clients an opportunity to take off their masks for a bit while face down (see above)

Main Change #3: Distancing Whenever Possible

  • We will be practicing social distancing at all times possible, even though we can’t be six feet away during the massage itself
  • So don’t be surprised if we do our intake and outtake from 6 feet away 🙂

Main Change #4: Air Circulation & Filtration

  • All treatment rooms now have a HEPA 13 level medical grade air purifier running in them during treatment
  • The air is cycled through these purifiers at a rate of a complete exchange of the air in the room about every 10 minutes, meaning that aerosol transmission between clients is not an issue

COVID-19 Massage News: What’s Next

We are still cautioning folks in high risk groups to evaluate their individual situation before booking (over 65 or with comorbidities such as diabetes or high blood pressure). Now that we know we can practice safely we are starting to see more clients in high risk groups. You may want to take a private car rather than use public transport. We also recommend booking our earliest time slots so as to avoid other clients as much as possible. However, those of you in particularly high risk (over 80 with one or more comorbidities) may want to wait until vaccines become available and distributed.

With the more recent uptick in cases in NYC and nationwide, it is possible that we will experience some sort of full or limited shutdown again within the next few months. One new and great piece of news is that NYS has updated their essential health care business classifications to include “medically necessary massage therapy!” This is a new level for massage therapy as we were not classified as essential during the spring/summer shutdown. This means that we will continue being able to provide pain relief massage therapy in the event of another shutdown. We will keep everyone posted about this and the particulars of what will constitute “medically necessary” as we gain more detail from NYS.

And of course, as changes happen we will keep everyone informed as we learn things. For now, I think we can all breath a big sigh of relief that it’s safe to get a massage! With some small changes to our routines, we can get back to some semblance of normalcy. Given how stressful this crisis has been and continues to be, I’m thrilled that we can still provide medical massage for stress and pain relief to all of you. And to be able to share some actual good COVID-19 massage therapy news!

Hope to see you at the studio soon! – David

Further Reading


  1. Pingback: Want to hear some good COVID-19 massage news? Massage Therapy with safety protocols is SAFE! – Bodyworks DW

  2. Good Information. Thanks for sharing

  3. Pingback: Want to hear some good COVID-19 massage news? Massage Therapy with safety protocols is SAFE! – Bodyworks DW

  4. Pingback: Guidelines for Vaccinated Massage Clients – Bodyworks DW

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