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15 Mar 2020

Corvid-19 and massage therapists

I know this is a stressful time at the moment for everyone. Hope you’re all ok – managing to stay calm and looking after yourselves?

Not that I have any more idea about all this than you, but I thought I would give some advice to my fellow therapists around how the Corvid19 virus is affecting our work at the moment, and what we can be doing about it. What might be a good idea to implement (if you haven’t already) to make sure we and our clients stay well.

We need to look at this in two ways – first that we need to make sure we keep ourselves healthy, and second that we must protect our clients from picking up the virus whilst with us.

So here’s some important steps to add to your existing treatments to make sure everyone is safe:


Start off with including some pre-screening questions before your client actually arrives – these should be:

Have you been in contact with anyone with flu-like symptoms in the last 14 days?
Are you currently experiencing any flu-like symptoms ie cough, fever or shortness of breath?

If the client is undergoing self-isolation as a contact of a confirmed case or because they have recently travelled from a high risk area, then wait until the 14 day quarantine period is over before you book them in.

It’s also important to let your clients know that you will waive your usual fees if they need to cancel.


When the client arrives, there are some procedures you might want to implement to keep your treatment area germ free:

If you have full control of the hygiene measures in your treatment space it is easier to implement these. If not – do as much as you can.

Ask the client to wash their hands on arrival – or give them hand sanitiser

Ask them to remove their shoes and coat and keep them by the door.

Make sure you clean your treatment room thoroughly between clients – this includes changing ALL bed linen (including the bed-cover). This applies even if you use paper roll. Apparently paper is not much of a barrier against the virus. Change pillow covers too. Wipe down the whole massage table, including face-hole and bolsters with disinfectant. The normal cleaning routine you do at the end of the day, should now be done between every client AND at the end of the day.

This clean will include wiping down light switches, furniture, sinks, toilets, your oil bottle and anything else you or the client might have touched during the treatment time. Don’t forget to wipe down the hand sanitiser bottle too!

If your treatment room is warm enough for you to have a window open and fresh air circulating during the treatment, the do it.

Wash your hands THOROUGHLY before and after the massage (obviously) and DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE during the massage.

Put paper towels or wash cloths for clients to use to dry their hands, so they each use a clean one. Make sure there is a lined bin for them to throw tissues etc.

You might want to see less clients each day, to make sure clients are not meeting/overlapping. This gives you time time to clean everything between clients and maintain good hygiene.

It’s a good idea to put a post on your website/facebook page, or send an email to all clients explaining what you procedures you are putting in place make sure they are safe.

Staying well for the therapist

As for making sure we stay well , I’m sure you know it all –  but here are some ideas.

Try to practice as much “social distancing” as possible when you are not working, to ensure that you are not inadvertently spreading the virus.

Another reason not to see too many clients in one day. You need to have energy and stay relaxed and rested. See enough clients to get by, but don’t over do it. Wealth is not important right now (is it ever?!), health, however, is.

Eat well – fresh fruit and veg, nuts, seeds  – as much as possible. Plenty of liquids, Get lots of rest and sleep. Vitamin c and B are supposed to help immune system, but I’m not a nutritionist, so do your own research on that.

Yoga, meditation, deep breathing, walks in nature – anything that helps you to feel calm and relaxed (that doesn’t involve mixing with too many people)

Also – be wary of reading the news too much! Don’t get hooked into the 24 hour news cycle. This (currently) is a slow-moving story and nothing much is changing hour by hour. For your own mental and emotional health, don’t feel as though you have to be checking the news all the time – once or twice a day will do fine. Don’t become obsessed with it! And don’t believe the hype on social media either, get your news from a reliable source.

What if we can’t work?

And finally, there has been a lot of discussion as to whether we should stop treating clients altogether. I can’t answer that for you, and of course some people can’t afford to not be working. However the further we go with this, the more likely it looks that there will come a point where we won’t be giving treatments. We can’t bury our heads in the sand about this, as it is very likely to happen and we need to be prepared. So that means you might want to look at how you can make money or how best you can be spending your time if you can’t work.

In terms of making money, you need to be thinking about what will people need and want at the moment?

That answer has two parts – first of all, people will definitely want ways to relax, to reduce anxiety and to boost their immune system. Think about your qualifications (and your insurance) and see if there is anything you can offer remotely. For example – if you practice reiki you can offer healings by skype or phone. If you do aromatherapy, you can do phone consultations and create bespoke essential oil blends.

Secondly, if people are stuck at home, they will want ways to be amused, entertained or to be learning something. Maybe you could offer to teach them reflexology or massage to practice on themselves or their family. Or you could teach basic aromatherapy so they can make their own blends – this can be done as an online course, or simply as skype sessions. Check your insurance for this of course.

And even if you can’t find way of making money – it is definitely worth starting regularly posting on social media or regularly emailing your clients -even if it’s just something educational about wellbeing or something uplifting and positive, people will be getting very bored and you will stay front of mind for them. Always important for when we get back to work again!

Finally, you could just take this as a welcome break to get up to speed with all the things you’ve not had time for in your own business – do you need to learn about marketing or how to do your accounts? Maybe you have been meaning to learn some more about your current modalities. Now’s the time to look at some online courses for yourself to up-level your skills. Spend the time getting to grips with your website, writing your leaflets and business card starting that blog you always meant to!

I hope this helps a little bit. If you have any other ideas or advice let us know –  We’re all in this together!

Love to you all

Nikki x

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