The pandemic has understandably put undue stress on everyone. It may seem like those knots in your shoulders or lower back have established permanent residence, causing stiffness, tension, and reduced mobility. For muscle relaxation, we commonly encourage people to get massages from skilled massage therapists, but is this therapy safe during the era of COVID-19?
Massages are essential, but they are unfortunately not essential businesses. Depending on the state in which you live, massage places may or may not be open. Most states have given the “okay” for doors to reopen, so long as proper sanitary measures are in place. As per normal massage practices, the sheets must be changed after each patient. Depending on the business, massage tables will be sanitized between each use and massage therapists and patients must wear masks. Some massage therapists are even wearing gloves to avoid skin to skin contact.
What Do The Experts Say?
The reopening of more and more businesses led to a rise in COVID-19 cases. This makes health experts wary about coming in close contact with people, for example, during a massage. Many health experts advise that you do not run out to get a massage, no matter how much you may need it. The biggest concern is that most massage rooms have limited ventilation. Additionally, massage places tend to be warm and involve close contact, making infectious disease specialists vote “no” on massage treatments at the moment.
The Risk Of Getting A Massage
The massage itself is generally safe, but the biggest risk is being in an enclosed, compact space with another individual. If massage therapists and their patients wear masks, however, it decreases the risk of transmission via respiratory droplets. As always, the risk of infection increases when you have close contact with a stranger. And your personal risk will depend on how high-risk you are. So long as you and the massage therapist practice proper mask wearing and sanitation measures, you should be safe. That doesn’t mean that massages are the safest things to do right now, though.
What Do Massage Companies Need To Do To Ensure Customer Safety?
The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) issued guidelines for masseurs to follow when their businesses were allowed to reopen. The biggest recommendation for all masseurs was to thoroughly clean and disinfect massage rooms and equipment between each patient. Additionally, disinfecting the common areas (like waiting rooms) is also recommended. Further recommendations indicate that all employees wear masks, take temperature checks for every incoming patient, and require all patients to wear masks before, during, and after the session.
Proper hand hygiene and spacing out appointments are two other measures that the AMTA recommends. This allows time for proper deep cleaning and spacing out patients provides the ability to maintain physical distancing. The AMTA also encouraged masseurs to allow cancellation without charging the clients if they feel sick within 24 hours of the appointment time. Massage studios should also send out newsletters to inform customers of their safety protocols, sanitation methods, and information about booking appointments
Even with the necessary precautions in place, getting a massage during the pandemic can be risky. How willing are you to take risks and are you practicing safe, sanitary practices in other areas of your life? If you feel that getting a massage is too risky, you can relieve muscle tension and stress in other ways. Try foam rolling, stretching, or simply order an electric massager from an online retailer. There are so many affordable options for people to use. We know an electric massager is not the same as a skilled masseuse, but it does provide muscle relief. Just be careful not to overwork the same area with the massager because that can cause bruising or unnecessary pain. Lastly, alternate between ice and heat application. You can’t go wrong by using that tried and true combo for pain relief.