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In this Post: As we begin to carefully reopen it is important to think about what to do if you or a massage client is exposed to COVID.
Before reopening your massage practice, it is crucial to think about what you will do in the event you or one of your clients is exposed to the virus. By thinking through various scenarios, you will be able to respond quickly, ethically, and with more ease.
I have heard conflicting takes on how to react should you be exposed. As I’m sure you have too. Which is why it is so important to clearly define your plans BEFORE potential exposure! It is easy to waiver in indecision and “what ifs” when you haven’t clearly defined your boundaries and policies ahead of time.
Before you develop a strategy around creating your COVID boundaries and policies, I want to talk a little about mindset. Establishing boundaries as massage therapists is an important thing. Vital really. Yet so many therapists struggle in this area!
The Mindset of Boundaries
The ability to have boundaries and say “no” is probably one of the most important things you can learn as a massage therapist. So often in life, we feel bad setting limits or feel like we are letting someone down when we don’t agree to do something they have asked. This leads us to say “yes” when we don’t really mean it.
Choosing to say “yes” when we mean “no” is bad for our health and well-being and in our current culture, the health and well-being of our clients.
My mom’s warcry growing up was, “Don’t say yes, if you can’t say no, don’t say okay if it really ain’t so.”.
I have tried my whole life to live by these words. At times it has been much easier than others. Truth is, your “yes” carries a whole lot more weight if you are able to say it only when you genuinely mean it.
Being caretakers, we, as massage therapists, often have a tough time with this. We want to do everything in our power to make sure our client’s needs are being addressed. It’s our nature. But remember, you can only take care of others when you first take care of yourself!
WHY IS IT SO HARD TO HAVE CLEAR BOUNDARIES AS MASSAGE THERAPISTS?
The simple answer, fear.
We fear rejection. The fear of rejection is a powerful human motivator! We want people to like us, and when we say “no,” we think people may not like us anymore. The truth is, people respect someone who is clear about what is and what is not acceptable in their life.
We fear poverty or loss of income. The economic ramifications of this virus are real. It is scary to think about losing income or a practice you have spent years building!
We fear losing our job. Maybe your boss expects a lot from you. But I’m going to be blunt, now is not the time to work for a boss who doesn’t respect you or the virus. And the truth is, your boss probably expects you to say “no” at times.
If you find that your boss is continually pushing your boundaries, have a frank conversation with them about their expectations and your comfort level. A good boss will tell you that they only want you to say “yes” when you really mean it!
Establishing Clear Boundaries
The first step to establishing boundaries is to get clear with yourself about what works for you. Once you have worked through these things in your mind, you can start to reach out to clients or your employer with your newfound limits.
Don’t be afraid to reassess your boundaries from time to time. Things change. COVID numbers may rise in your area, and what you were comfortable with one day you no longer are. That’s okay!
Sometimes it is important to be flexible, but other times you need to set limits. Know the difference.
Maybe you have a boss who asks too much of you. Unless you are able to say “no” to them, perhaps this environment isn’t the best for you.
Sometimes you may need to fire a client. Not an easy task, but sometimes a necessary one!
Learning how to mean what you say will serve you well in the years to come. People will learn that you have standards, boundaries, and priorities.
Now let’s talk about various scenarios you may encounter. Carefully take a moment to play out each of these scenarios in your mind. Think about not only what you would do, but also what you would want a therapist who was working on you or a loved one to do.
You have a client who came to see you for a massage. Two days later, they test positive for the virus. What do you do?
You send your child to school. One of the other children tests positive for the virus. What do you do?
A co-worker tests positive. You haven’t had too close of contact with them in the past couple of days, but you have worked in the same treatment room recently. What do you do?
You start to feel sick. What do you do?
What To Do If You Or A Massage Client Is Exposed To COVID
Some Questions to Consider:
- Do you or CAN you get tested easily?
- Will you wait 14 days to resume practicing massage?
- Will you self isolate?
- How and when do you contact clients to let them know the specifics of your level of exposure?
- Who do you need to alert in your personal life? Daycares, friends, lovers…
Take some time really thinking about these questions. How do you ethically deal with all of the considerations?
By having walked through these various scenarios, you will be much more prepared in the event you are exposed to the virus. It will be easier to act quickly and communicate effectively. And by communicating how you will handle various scenarios ahead of time with clients, you can reduce anxiety and confusion in the event you need to cancel an appointment unexpectedly.
Stay healthy out there!
- Boulder College of Massage Therapy Graduate
- Nationally Certified through NCBTMB
- Colorado Licensed Massage Therapist
- Certified CranialSacral Level 1 through Upledger
- Certified Herbal Therapist through Nutrition Therapy Institute
- Certified Fujian Massage through Barefoot Masters
- Fort Lewis College - Majored in Art, Minored in Business Administration
- 6 Year Winner of Best Massage Therapist for "Best of The Boat" Competition
- Massage Business Owner Since 2008