COVID-19 Office Protocols and Policies
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 followed.
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:
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 (and mine) safe by being open and honest about any symptoms you might be experiencing and/or any higher risk interactions/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 follow CDC guidelines and my office protocols will remain as such at this time. At this time I am only seeing established clients and direct referrals.
Clients are required to fill out a digital screening questionnaire within 24 hours of each appointment which can be filled out on a computer or mobile. 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. This includes symptoms of allergies, now is the time to be extra cautious and please reschedule until symptoms resolve.
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 over the phone or in the waiting area depending on if other clients or office mates are using the waiting room.
Outside of sessions, I have practiced all CDC guidance on mask wearing and physical distancing when in public as well as avoiding large indoor gatherings, and avoiding travel by plane, train or bus. I ask that if you have not been able to follow mask wearing guidance when around others outside of your household/bubble or traveled by plane, train or bus in the last 14 days, please hold off on scheduling a session until 14 days after. I ask that if you have had any possible exposure prior to your session that you please notify me on the COVID-19 screening questionnaire.
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. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask, I am unable to treat you at this time. 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 new disposable surgical mask will be provided to you before you enter the building.
I will be wearing a medical grade KN95/N95 for every session. All PPE (masks, eye protection, face shield, smocks etc.) will be changed or disinfected between each 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.
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 two clients per day to lessen exposure and allow for at least one hour between sessions for HEPA filters to run as well as sanitation procedures. There will also be a HEPA filter in the waiting area.
Considerations during the session: Even though I would love to catch up with everyone, to limit aerosol concentration in the small treatment room I ask that we limit conversation as best we can to what directly pertains to treatment. I would be so happy to catch up outside of the treatment room when the session is over. In addition to decreasing the aerosols in the room from talking this will also double as providing a quiet space for your nervous system during your session. For more information and great visuals on how to best prevent aerosolized transmission in indoor spaces.
Once you have entered the office, please wash hands with soap and water in the restroom 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.
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.
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 to rehydrate after the session. Please wash your hands with soap and water directly before the session. Hot stone massage and cupping therapy will not be offered at this time. In addition to limiting sessions to two clients per day max, I will also only be seeing established clients and direct referrals for now. All appointment rescheduling will be done by phone/text/email 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. Contactless payment by card can also be arranged prior to your session via square email invoice if preferred with payment due the day of your session. 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.