I’ve been a leader in the massage field in our local community for awhile now. I’ve been loud and assertive in regards to ethical business practices. In the beginning, I set my company up to be ethical, legal, and just. This may be surprising but a lot of companies are not set up properly. It’s been a guiding principle as my company has changed and grown over the years.
Today, there are a lot of polarizing views about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) within the massage community, which make it difficult to know which way to go. Some people believe this is all a hoax by big Pharma and some people can’t see a way to practice safely and protect their clients.
I think I’ve gone down every rabbit hole of theories to see what feels right for myself.
I’m still not sure what the right thing to do is and there are a lot of factors to consider.
I know that we must consider Legal, Sanitation, Health, & Business. And not particularly in that order.
Somatic Sole Barefoot Massage is currently unable to practice if there is a “shelter at home” order placed by anyone.. city, county, state, or national. Our liability insurance will not support that. This is important because a few clients have asked to go around that. This is not an option. Operating in the most honorable and ethical way possible is a top priority. Through this pandemic, and regardless of how much we wish to work or worried about finances, we must remain ethical.
The new sanitation protocols widely vary, from the same as we were doing before the pandemic to some really unreasonable requests. An unreasonable request skirt the line of ethics regarding your personal information. For example, I cannot and will not ask anyone to take a specific medication if they are exhibiting signs of allergies. (This is what some massage therapists are asking. This is an extreme version and violating our scope of practice but it’s illustrating my point) On the flip side, pre-pandemic, we were already having a difficult time with clients coming in when they were sick despite many attempts to explain why this is not an acceptable practice. The new sanitation protocols may effect our ability to schedule the way that we were pre-covid19. At this time, I’m not sure what that will look like when we reopen. I’m trying to balance the most reasonable and safe practices so that everyone remains safe.
As a nation, we see conflicting credible sources that suggest we don’t know enough about the virus yet. As someone with an auto-immune condition, I am keenly aware of how our medical system works. And I know my own experience getting a diagnosis was a long road and that tells me there are probably a lot of people walking around with underlying conditions they don’t know about. That’s why social distancing has been a value I support. The highly contagious nature of this virus combined with asymptomatic carriers is enough to keep me at home.
Then we come to the fact that we are an operating business and we have a bottom line and expenses to meet. We also have clients and members that have lost their jobs as well. And I’m sensitive to that struggle. The state of the economy is also being closely monitored. I’m worried but I also feel hopeful. The 2008 recession was awful but a lot of businesses rose because of a need. I’m curious what we’ll see as a need on the other side of this. I’m remaining open and curious so that we can see where massage therapy will be on the other side.
All of these factors are just the tip of the ice berg. Nothing about this situation seems easy. And no one is spared the difficulty of this virus to one extent or another. It’s been hard for everyone. I realize that we (massage therapists) are needed more now than ever because we drastically help with this stress. But I also think that it’s important to keep all of us safe.
I was really hoping we would have been back to work by now but I think it’s important we keep everyone safe and take this time to develop the best practices for everyone when we return. In the meantime, we are doing what we can to provide the best stress relief including a YouTube channel with free videos, a subscription service with specific self-care (also to assist in paying expenses), and courses designed to teach you to work with your stress.
And coming soon, online appointments. You may ask, how can you massage someone online? This is an assessment tool. I’m actually really loving this work and find it so awesome I’m considering bringing it with me on the other side of this. This online work is actually so valuable and key to your wellbeing and something I’ve been so desperately trying to teach my clients over the years. This forced distance might just be what we needed to learn about tapping into our own needs and I’ll guide you to find a way to create your own adjustments in your self-care.
I hope you and your family are safe and well. Please reach out to us with any specific questions or concerns you may have.
Sara Newberry, LMT