One of the big things to go by the wayside during this pandemic is healthy touch. No more hugs, not even a handshake. Massage, well, that definitely is not happening.

I’ve been a certified massage therapist since 1997; always working part time. However, there was a time when it was a major part of my income. Now the table is collecting dust. The health benefits of massage have been proven. I’m clearly an advocate for massage and all other forms of healthy touch.

Thoroughly cleaning the table in between clients is the norm, as is not reusing sheets. I would only reuse sheets for couples at their urging/insistence. What I didn’t do before is clean the legs of the massage table. With clients breathing through the head rest and possibly spraying germs that way, I can see that being something that will get cleaned every time going forward. Another change will be washing the blanket after each use.

There is no way for clients to be masked when on their stomach. It would be possible to have them on their sides and back, like what is done during a pregnancy massage. Still, it’s hard to imagine a mask would be relaxing during a massage. I’m guessing I’ll wear one for most clients even though massage is physical work. It certainly can’t hurt.

The California Massage Therapy Council, which regulates therapists in the state, told us in mid-March we can’t work. If we do, we could lose our certification.

This is an email CAMTC sent to members, “… until the risk of the crisis passes, we are in an historic situation and the risk of contagion—not only for the client and therapist, but for those with whom we subsequently come in contact—makes it necessary for massage to cease until safety can be guaranteed. Thousands are dying and millions are infected worldwide with COVID-19. It is not an exaggeration to say that this is a life or death situation. Therefore, if CAMTC receives notice that CAMTC certificate holders are continuing to provide massage services while the stay at home order is in place, we will report these businesses and individuals to the local law enforcement authorities with whom we collaborate statewide, and we will take steps to potentially revoke their CAMTC certification.”

I wonder what would happen if I were to massage my mom. After all, that was her main Mother’s Day gift. No one has been on my table since last fall, so I’m not worried about her being on a “contaminated” table. At some point we need to start thinking for ourselves, while being responsible to ourselves and those we come into contact with. The government doesn’t have all the answers, nor should it have all the power.

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