Want to hear some good COVID-19 massage news? Massage Therapy with safety protocols is…safe!
Owner David Weintraub, LMT writes about how our reopening is going, how we are practicing safely, and what’s next for Bodyworks DW!
Our COVID-19 safety measures for massage therapy are working
Hi! So, we have been open now for 10+ weeks. 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 taken a while to adjust to, with new changes. After my first few shifts at the studio on the week of July 6th, I came home totally wiped out. Now, 4 weeks later, I can say that it is feeling easy again. It feels good to be able to share some good COVID-19 massage news. Whew!
And, between all of our safety measures and our lowest infection rate in NYC to date I feel that I can now comfortably say that massage therapy is a safe activity as long as we continue to practice the new protocols. Thank you to all NYC’ers for taking masks and social distancing seriously and getting our city to the point where we can reopen! All of our hard work is what’s allowing businesses to reopen and for us specifically to be able to offer medical massage in New York.
Over the last 8 weeks, we have had 600+ appointments, with 15 different therapists. The therapists who started work on July 6th in Phase 3 have all gotten their NYS required covid tests and all results were negative. I myself have had 4 tests (see below), once prior to working with clients, one two weeks after that, another two weeks after that, and a fourth six weeks after that. All were negative. It had been my intention to continue testing every two weeks even though it’s not required by NYS. However, there are now some breakdowns happening with testing and results are taking over a week. So the ethical thing for us to do is to only test if we either have symptoms, or if we get contact traced back to by a client who tests positive.
David’s COVID-19 Diagnostic Test Results
Great COVID-19 Massage News: Bodyworks DW is moving ahead to our “Stage 2” Reopening
We’ve had a month of practicing our new massage safety measures and things are running smoothly. So now, we are moving 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. Many of these upstate therapists were able to reopen nearly 8 weeks ago.
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.
Main Change #1: Masks
- 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.
- Oh, and you’ll notice that your massage therapist will be wearing safety goggles during treatment!
Main Change #2: Linens
- 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 table cover for added protection
- 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
- 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 🙂
COVID-19 Massage News: What’s Next
Now that we’ve got some good COVID-19 massage news, we plan to have our support staff back in the Fidi studio by September, or even sooner. We also still have a few therapists out of state who are coming back over the next month or so.
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 another 2-4 weeks before booking.
And of course, if anything changes we will keep everyone informed as we learn things. For now, I think we can all breath a big sigh of relief that the worst is over here in NYC. And 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!