Okay friends. We’re getting serious now, and I need you to know some things. Massage in the age of COVID-19 is not going to be the same as it was before we closed, changes are afoot. Things are going to be pretty different, and probably a pain in everyone’s butt.
But here’s the thing… I’m adjusting my mindset to think about these changes as adding to the existing culture of care at Birch Tree Wellness. This is about taking care of you. It’s about doing what I can to help you with your pain and stress, PLUS having you arrive healthy and leave healthier.
There Are No Guarantees
In lieu of a cure, vaccine, or other intervention for COVID-19, there is no way right now to reopen a massage practice without changes & protocols to protect all of us. Until that changes, there is no guarantee that that we will come away from our interactions unscathed. As I write this, COVID-19 cases in Orono & Old Town are estimated at 1-5 probable/confirmed cases. In Bangor, 43 probable/confirmed cases. In Penobscot County, 101 confirmed, 2 deaths. We’ve been pretty lucky so far, but it’s far from over.
What I’ve Been up to Recently
My previous newsletters/posts have been mostly about the supplies that I’ve been putting together in order to provide a safer massage experience. But let me tell you, that was just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve climbed out of my gardening cocoon and really started diving into all of the information out there.
I have taken two online continuing education courses outlining all that is entailed in creating a safer (note: not SAFE, just SAFER) massage practice. To give you an idea of what we’re working with here, here are some of the main sources I am referencing. I’ve also been reading numerous articles & books.
- State of Maine COVID-19 Prevention Checklist Industry Guidance
- Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) Guidelines
- Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) Guidelines
PPP: Protocols & Procedures in Progress
Information overload, right? Tell me about it! In a nutshell, this is what I’m doing to ensure your safety (and my own) while continuing to deliver the pain & stress relief you need. What I’m asking of all of you is to remember, I’m not doing it to be a pain in your ass.
We’re all in this together. I love you all, and I will be beyond heartbroken if any one of you contracts COVID-19 as a result of your visit to my office. So, please… brace yourselves for a new norm for a time. It’s not forever, it’s just for now. Here are a few of the protocols I’m working to put in place:
Before Your Appointment
- Update your online health intake form
- Health check in 3-7 days before your appointment
- Health check in 24-48 hours before your appointment
- Wait in your car or outside until 5-10 minutes before your appointment
At the Office
- Mandatory face masks worn for the entire time you’re in the office
- Hand sanitizer will be made available for use upon arrival and any time you need it during your appointment
- COVID-19 symptom screen upon arrival for appointment
- If you have ANY symptoms, or your temperature is over 100.4°, we will need to reschedule your appointment
- Signed informed consent about the risks associated with COVID-19
On My End
- I will be wearing a mask during your entire appointment
- Daily self-screening. I will have a white board posted with:
- My morning & afternoon temperature
- If I have any COVID-19 symptoms (even if it’s *just an allergy cough)
- How many people I have been in contact with, in the last 5-7 days
- Protocols for what to do if I or a client have been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19
- Closing protocol in the event of COVID-19 exposure
- Cleaning checklist for after every appointment
I’m pretty sure there’s more, but I think you get the idea! As the new policies are written, you’ll find them on my Policies Page. I know you’re probably freaking out about the face masks. There’s a way I can set up my face cradle so that you don’t have to wear the face mask when you’re face down. BUT you need to wear it the rest of the time. Also, yes, I will be using a touchless thermometer to check your temperature. Keep that in mind if you’re biking, walking, or running to the office.
I Repeat: We’re All In This Together
I know this is a lot of stuff. That’s why I wanted to get it out now, while I work on my end to make it all happen. On your end, it’s mostly just being patient with me, being willing to jump through a few hoops, and being willing to keep that mask on. Be honest with me about your health and your risk of exposure to COVID-19.
I also need you to weigh the risks for yourself before you schedule. Watch the numbers of cases in our community. Think about your own health risk or the risks to those you are caring for. As I said in the beginning, there are no guarantees, we can just do the best we can to try to be safe, and maybe get a little massage in the process.
I still don’t have a firm date that I’ll begin scheduling appointments. I’ll be starting with many of you I had to cancel over the last several months. Stay tuned for more details, information, and to get an idea of what the appointment schedule will be like. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Stay safe. Wash your hands. Be good.