Coronavirus and Massage Therapy: UPDATED

Government guidelines issued on 16th March are encouraging people to self isolate. In light of this, along with many small businesses I am temporarily suspending treatments. I am confident with my own systems and processes to prevent crossover of infection. But there is also a social responsibility that we each need to undertake even if that is hard on us as individuals. 

There is a huge amount of concern about Coronavirus: How does it spread? What are we each doing to minimise risks? Do I have a cold or coronavirus? Should I cancel my massage/holiday/visit to museum/restaurant/spa day (substitute for any public space)?

From a massage therapists’ perspective We are always ensuring that the health of our clients is maintained!

There are many things we do in DAILY PRACTICE to ensure we do not pass germs on from one person to another. This includes ensuring regular wipe down of equipment and hard surfaces, use of clean covers with the addition of couch roll, use of boiling water with tea tree oil (which has antibacterial and anti-viral properties) over hot stones and after every client cleaning our hands!

You might be fed up of the phrase to ‘Wash your hands’ but I cannot stress enough how important it is to avoid spreading germs from one person to another. It is simple. It is effective.

There are a huge number of studies that have looked at handwashing, number of germs on hands, using hand sanitiser, does it matter if you use a gel or liquid product, use of paper towels vs air-drying, how effective is using X product at cleaning germs, etc. Basically, if you clean your hands you decrease the number of germs.

I personally have a large number of clients with underlying health conditions and so I am especially aware of keeping them safe. From my initial email booking an appointment in, to regular conversations with clients they know that if they have a cold, vomiting, diarrhoea, generally feel they might be coming down with something, etc, they should not have a treatment.

Yes, I do operate a 24-hour cancellation policy and request payment if an appointment is cancelled within that time frame. However, this does NOT and never has been applied to anyone who has fallen ill within those 24 hours!

In fact, I have had clients turn up for an appointment and during the consultation they mention how they feel and if I am in doubt about treating them, I send them home. No fee is charged. I do not want to risk their germs possibly infecting another client (or making them feel any worse! If you have had a heavy head cold, lying face down with your head in a face cradle is not the best way to recover from a cold!).

Similarly, if I feel unwell and I’m not sure if I have a bad cold developing, I have cancelled clients because I do not want to be breathing my germs over them. So we all just need to be considerate of others.

Currently, if anyone has a new dry, persistent cough, and/or a fever they should not come for a treatment. If you did then I would send you home.

Government guidelines issued on 16th March are encouraging people to self isolate. In light of this, along with many small businesses I am temporarily suspending treatments. I am confident with my own systems and processes to prevent crossover of infection. But there is also a social responsibility that we each need to undertake even if that is hard on us as individuals. 

In normal circumstances, there are lots of reasons to continue to have a massage treatment!

So many people are feeling anxious and stressed at the moment: massage is a very effective treatment for reducing stress and tension. Studies have shown that not only do people perceive their stress levels to be lower after a treatment but also blood tests have shown that biochemical markers of stress such as cortisol levels are decreased and relaxing ones, such as serotonin are increased!

In addition, further studies, particularly on people with compromised immune systems, perhaps because a person is undergoing cancer treatment or has an underlying condition such as HIV, shows that the immune system appears to be more resilient after regular massage.

Therefore, massage and other therapies can be a useful adjunct to maintaining health. They are complementary therapies not medical advice. However, now is a good time to ensure you look after yourself and others.

Hope to see you soon!

Susan Harrison

www.powertouchtherapy.co.uk

If you really want to find out more, here are a very small number of research articles on hand washing and use of hand sanitisers:

The effect of hand hygiene on illness rate among students in university residence halls. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0196655303000415

Analysis of alcohol-based hand sanitizer delivery systems: Efficacy of foam, gel, and wipes against influenza A (H1N1) virus on hands. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0196655311012703

The impact of alcohol hand sanitizer use on infection rates in an extended care facility.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0196655302569169

Here are a few references on the benefits of massage relating to the immune system and/or stress:

Massage therapy research review. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1744388114000425

Immunological and Psychological Benefits of Aromatherapy Massage
https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2005/270901/

The Effects of Therapeutic Back Massage on Psychophysiologic Variables and Immune Function in Spouses of Patients With Cancer. https://journals.lww.com/nursingresearchonline/Abstract/2003/09000/The_Effects_of_Therapeutic_Back_Massage_on.6.aspx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *