Updated May 20, 2020
You may have heard that massage practices will be allowed to open on the 25th of this month. My intention is to wait another month before making the decision to return to work.
Although Kentucky is doing better than most states in it's response to the pandemic I am unconvinced that allowing for more public contact is not going to cause an increase in COVID cases. I'm taking a "wait and see" strategy to determine if massage contributes to the spread of the virus.
Another consideration is that there has been some controversy over the current new guidelines for how massage therapists can practice. We are required to wear long-sleeved surgical gowns, gloves, masks, and eye coverings all of which must be changed between clients. The cost of these items and the difficulty in getting them makes practicing financially impractical and, for most of my massage techniques, physically impractical. We are in the process of appealing some of these regulations to give us more flexibility in our choices to make it more affordable for us.
Again, I know this is not what you want to hear at this time but I hope you will continue to be patient. I desperately want to be back in my office with you, to have some semblance of normalcy, to give and get relief, and to return to financial stability. My primary consideration though is for your health and mine and that is my guiding principle.
If you are struggling with pain I would be happy to do a consultation to help you with home self-treatment for a small fee. Please feel free to contact me at any time.
Updated May 8, 2020
I hope this message finds you and your family safe and happy. I also hope you've been able to enjoy some of the nice days we've been having, it's been a beautiful spring in Kentucky.
We haven’t seen each other in a long time and I wanted to reach out to you and start a conversation about what massage will look like in our pandemic-changed world. While what I write in this moment is current to the science we have that may change by the time you get this letter—there is so much research being done and data coming in and I’m trying to keep on top of the best science and data-based information.
Firstly, my guiding principle is do no harm. This means my greatest concern is your health and safety as well as my health and safety.
There has been an announcement that massage practices will be able to open on the 25th of this month. There will be a number of new sanitary regulations in place that must be met in order for an office to reopen. In order to comply with them I will have to have a good supply chain of masks and hospital-grade cleaners, as well as procure other supplies and equipment necessary to have a safe environment for you. With the increased demand and need for these items in other healthcare settings these are difficult to get in this moment. I will not reopen until I am confident I have access all the things I need. Also, there are some changes that have to be made to my office and the building I am located in in order to have a more sanitary facility. At this moment I am unsure when those changes will be completed.
I am personally concerned about the timing of reopening businesses as cases are still on the rise and testing is still not widely available and accurate enough to effectively track the progress of the disease. COVID-19 is not under control and the only way to confidently ensure we don't spread the disease is by social distancing. Since many people are unwilling to do that or take other precautions to protect themselves and others and because this disease can be spread asymptomatically it is difficult to determine if someone has potentially been exposed.
This is entirely new territory for everyone and as a former medical research lab technician I tend to err on the side of caution. I would like to see more numbers and information from states that have already reopened to see how the precautions they have put in place are working. I am unwilling for you and I to be the guinea pigs in this experiment.
I know these choices may not be the answers you wish to hear, and I know we all could use some comforting touch right now. However, I feel it would be unethical, irresponsible and hasty for me to open my practice without more information, proper supplies, and the assurance that the new sanitation regulations will be effective. I am trying to remain optimistic but am not scheduling any appointments just yet. Hopefully we will know more in the next few weeks. My greatest concern is your safety, please be patient with me as I continue to monitor the progress of the disease as businesses reopen and work to obtain the things I need to ensure I can get back to massage while keeping you healthy.
If you have any concerns or questions please don't hesitate to reach out.
Many small businesses are continuing to suffer due to this outbreak. Unfortunately I can't do my job remotely but some local restaurants and retail businesses are offering delivery or car pickup at the door to remain open and take care of their employees. Please support those you can.