COVID-19 Office Protocols and Policies

(Updated 6/7/2021)

We have learned so much about how risk of transmission can be reduced for the massage therapy setting when precautions are taken by both client and practitioner, including risk mitigations like wearing high-quality masks, exposure/symptom screening, and HEPA air filtration and/or open windows. Despite these effective measures there is still an increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 via prolonged close contact exposure indoors. Massage therapy in my office likely remains somewhere in a ‘medium risk’ category as demonstrated in the image below (based on low occupancy, wearing face coverings, contact for prolonged time in a somewhat poorly ventilated setting (no outdoor airflow) while silent or speaking. This chart does not take into consideration the newly-emergent, highly-transmissible variants, which may further increase risk level even when these precautions are followed.
Image source.
 

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As your massage therapist, I very much wish to be able to provide much needed bodywork to you in these trying times, but safety remains my number one priority. Massage therapy in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic does not come without risks and in order to minimize these I will be using multiple interventions or “layers” of protection outside of just PPE to offer additional risk mitigation much like the wonderful swiss cheese model demonstrates below:
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With the many interventions of risk mitigation taken, I am striving to provide the safest environment that I am able to for both you and myself. Though please understand that in this pandemic our actions do impact others, I will need you to work with me to keep yourself, my other clients (as well as their families), and myself safe by being open and honest about any symptoms you might be experiencing and/or any exposures in the 14 days leading up to your session.
 
Please note that I have been fully vaccinated with Moderna as of 2/23/2021, but will continue to wear a mask and physically distance while indoors in public spaces and my office protocols will remain as such. Masks will continue to be required for your session despite vaccination status. At this time I am only seeing established clients and direct referrals.

Screening:
Clients are required to fill out an online screening questionnaire form the day before every appointment which can be filled out on a computer or mobile. All scheduled appointments are pending results of the screening questionnaire. Your session will be postponed and fees will be waived in the event of any related COVID-19 exposure or symptoms, even if mild. If I am experiencing any symptoms or exposure, I will contact you for rescheduling. I must be strict on this, even if you have already arrived at your appointment. 
If you or ANYONE in your household is exhibiting signs of illness, you have traveled recently by plane, train or bus in the 14 days prior to your appointment, I ask that you please hold off on scheduling a session until 10-14 days after or contact me to reschedule. If you believe there may be a risk of exposure, please inform me on the screening questionnaire. 
 
Outside of sessions, I have continued mask wearing and physical distancing while indoors in public spaces as well as avoiding large indoor gatherings, opting for take-out instead of dining indoors at restaurants, limiting my in person trips to the store, and avoiding travel by plane, train, or bus.

Physical Distance:
When arriving for your session please do not enter the waiting room and instead wait in your car or outside until your scheduled session. Please text me at (541) 400-0016 to let me know you have arrived. I will let you know when you can head inside for your session and meet you at the door. A brief intake may be done in the waiting area or treatment room depending on if other clients are in the waiting room. Please be aware that I share the waiting room and restroom with two other therapists and their clients may occasionally be coming and going in the waiting room. Masks are required for all inside the building and there is space to distance. I do my very best to limit overlap of clients in the waiting room but if you are not comfortable with this possibility, please let me know ahead of time so that I may try to accommodate.

Masks:
You are required to wear a mask that is fully covering both mouth and nose while you are inside the building and for the entirety of your massage session including face down. You are required to wear a mask for the entirety of your session even if you are fully vaccinated. I ask that you please not use a gaiter or bandana type face covering for your session as this is easily moved and is not secure for receiving close contact bodywork. I also ask that you please not use a mask with a valve as this type of mask does not prevent aerosols from being released during exhalation. If you do not have a non-bandana/valved type mask or a clean mask, a surgical mask will be provided to you before you enter the building.
I will be wearing a medical grade KN95/N95 for every session. 

Considerations for choosing a mask for your session:
Please note in the image above that massage therapy remains in a medium risk category by the close contact and prolonged time of exposure nature of the sessions. It is recommended that you choose a high quality mask and/or take measures to improve the fit of your mask. KN95 masks and surgical masks offer protection to both the wearer and others nearby. If wearing a surgical mask, consider knotting the ties near the mask and folding the mask in to create a better seal at the side of the mask as shown here. Due to the higher transmissibility of COVID-19 variants, you may consider wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask to provide a better seal and additional layer of protection. If choosing a cloth mask, opt for a mask with multiple layers and a nose wire that provides a tighter seal.

Ventilation:
I will have two HEPA filter air purifiers running in the room which are both rated to filter much larger rooms and provide more than adequate CADR (Clean air delivery rate) and ACH (Air changes per hour), which is recommended for ventilation of aerosols in closed spaces. The door to the massage room will also be left open during the session for extra air flow/ventilation with a partition for privacy. At this time I will only be seeing up to three clients per day to lessen exposure and allow for at least 30 minutes between sessions for HEPA filters to run as well as sanitation procedures. There will also be a HEPA filter in the waiting area.
 For more information and great visuals on how to best  prevent aerosolized transmission in indoor spaces.

Hand Hygiene:
Once you have entered the office, please wash hands with soap and water in the restroom or in the treatment room prior to your session. Hand sanitizer is available in the room for you to use as needed. As usual, I will thoroughly wash my hands/feet with soap and water up past my elbows/ankles right before and after your session.

Surface Cleaning:
All porous items, to the extent possible, have been removed from the room including the upholstered chair and rugs so that surfaces can be easily cleaned between sessions.  All equipment and anything touched by myself or clients (massage table, face cradle, door, chair etc.) will be cleaned and sanitized with an EPA registered disinfectant prior to and after the session. There will be a fresh blanket and sheets for each session. I will not be seeing clients back to back at this time so that I can change my smock/PPE between each session, fully sanitize all equipment and allow HEPA filters to run.

Final considerations:
To the extent possible please leave all non essential items in your car during the session. At this time I will not be providing water in the room so please bring a water bottle if needed to rehydrate after the session. Please wash your hands with soap and water directly before the session. Hot stone massage will not be offered at this time. In addition to limiting sessions to three clients per day max, I will also only be seeing established clients and direct referrals for now. We may reschedule your next appointment by phone/text/email if need be to limit the amount of time spent in the waiting room.
 
Venmo/credit card/cash/check are accepted at the time of your session for payment. 
 For more information on OHA guidelines for personal service providers.
 
Please understand that protocols/policies may change or be updated with little notice as more information becomes available. I continue to keep a close eye on cases locally and nationally as well as information on the new variants. If case numbers rise again locally I may temporarily further limit or pause my practice. Please contact me with any questions or concerns. Thank you so much for your patience, flexibility and willingness to work with me to keep our community safe. I am moving forward with an abundance of caution regarding treatments during this pandemic and while I truly hope that very soon some of these precautions may be excessive, until then I will continue to err on the side of caution. As the swiss cheese model shows, each intervention might offer a small additional layer of prevention and combining interventions decreases risk the most. So for now, I will be keeping things super cheesy. This is a learning experience for us all and I am honored that you trust me with your care.