The year 2020 was a year unlike any other in our lifetimes. Massage, and the health care industry as a whole, has been challenged like never before.
One major discussion regarding the work of massage therapists has involved how we can maintain our massage practices. Part of this involves keeping a strong, healthy immune system.
The purpose of this article is to describe many ways massage therapists can bolster their immunity, thus allowing them to work with greater confidence in their ability to stay healthy during this time.
COVID-19 is present and will remain so for our lifetimes. Vaccinations for this viral disease will soon become as commonplace in medicine as MMR and Influenza shots.
The average person, uneducated in health and pathology, may think vaccination is all one needs to prevent from acquiring pathologic diseases. However, we must educate the general public that keeping a robust immune system also curtails the likelihood of disease manifestation upon acquisition.
Boosting White Blood Cell Count
Boosting white blood cell count is a key component of bolstering one’s immune system. A normal white blood cell count is possessing 5,000-10,000 white blood cells per microliter of blood. (1) The number varies because, when someone is ill, the number of white blood cells naturally increases in response to an antigen (anything that elicits an immune response) or pathogen (a microorganism causing disease within the body).
Exercise & Immunity
Exercise has long been heralded to increase immunity. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science confirms that “acute exercise,” which is moderate to vigorous activity of less than an hour, was shown to increase white blood cell count. (2)
Physical therapists and related professionals have encouraged many clients to improve exercise routines to stay healthy.
Below you will find many alternative methods for boosting immunity, including herbs, foods, essential oils, and vitamins.
Be empowered to look into any of these items. Consult your medical team before employing or altering existing your medication schedule. Consult a naturopath or similar practitioner for ways to utilize these items.
Not every item is right for everyone. Hold awareness within your body to see how you respond. Change efforts when you feel appropriate. Find what works for you.
Information presented is never intended to replace advice from a medical professional. Please honor requests of one’s physician and complimentary practitioners in the care of one’s health condition.
9 Classic Herbs to Aid Immunity
- Lemon Balm
Eight other herbs with known benefits to boosting immunity, include:
- Gingko Leaves
- Schisandra Berries
- Milk Thistle
- Vervain (3)
These holistic aids have been used by indigenous cultures for centuries:
- Colloidal Silver
- Olive Leaf
- Pau D’Arco
- St. John’s Wort
Healing Foods for Your Respiratory System
Foods to help heal respiratory system dysfunctions include:
- red and green hot chili
- citrus fruits
- red cabbage
- honey (4)
These have been professed in Ayurvedic treatments for centuries.
12 Essential Oils for Respiratory Health
The Journal of Natural Medicine recommends these essential oils for respiratory health:
- Juniper Berry
- Tea Tree
- Lemon (5)
Homeopathic based suggestions means to managing respiratory conditions include the usage of Oregano, Cannabis, Elecampane, Chaparral, Gingko and Mullein. (6)
Vitamins for Strong Immunity
Many doctors, naturopaths and other health professionals discuss the role of vitamin D in immune modulation including its anti-inflammatory roles, which may limit COVID and other viral infectious conditions.
Vitamins A, C and E also have proven effectiveness in boosting immunity.
Zinc, Selenium, Manganese, Black Elderberry and Acerola are minerals to aid immunity as well. (7)
12 Healthy Reminders for Massage Therapists
Finally, here are 12 healthy reminders that massage therapists can use to ensure their workplaces and treatment rooms remain hygienic to fend off pathogens and antigens.
1. UV Light-Emitting Diodes
Using UV light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have been proven scientifically to kill viruses. Investing in these devices will surely create a safer, germ-free environment. (8)
2. Diet, Exercise, Sleep
Practice being healthier regarding diet, exercise and sleep. Make these three a priority!
3. Stress Management
Managing stress well also aids in keeping immunity strong. Be aware if you have a subconscious habit of touching your face. Slowing down in life, taking a moment to consciously breath helps us manage stress.
Stocking up on sanitizing agents (for surfaces) and soaps (for our hands) will be beneficial. Washing hands with soap and warm water is more effective than merely using hand sanitizer.
5. Reevaluate Hygienic Practices
This is a great time to reevaluate hygienic practices of one’s business. Ensure cleanliness of all potential fomites (anything that could convey pathogens such as door handles, keys, YOUR PHONE, anything touched often). Ensure plenty of time between sessions and after your work shift to clean thoroughly. Do an additional sweep of your massage space to avoid missing a spot. Read labels on products as some may indicate a longer time frame than anticipated to be effective.
If anyone used equipment such as cups, scraping tools or similar massage tools, be sure to thoroughly sanitize after each usage. If you use foam rollers, consider wrapping it a pillowcase when used on a client.
Zinc lozenges can be a great option to use if fatigue is setting in while working. Coffee, either regular or decaffeinated, can neutralize zinc so curtail coffee intake in this case. (9)
8. Air Purifier
Using an air purifier will help keep viruses less potent and lessen disease transmission. Negative ionizers can also accomplish this same goal. (10)
9. Greeting Clients
Consider another greeting than shaking hands or touching hands in any way. Touching elbows, kicking feet together, bowing, or nodding head respectfully are all good ideas to implement.
10. Nitrile Gloves
Nitrile gloves can be a good option to use if you anticipate touching items such as gas station pumps, ATM, and grocery store checkout machines, or any front desk items at your establishment touched daily by many people. Nitrile is preferred over latex or vinyl in medical settings. (11)
11. Clean Fingernails
Keep fingernails trimmed since nails can harbor plenty of bacteria. If you work with the general public, you might want to consider removing your acrylic nails.
12. Disposable Wipes
Have disposable wipes handy with you at all times for those moments for “spot” cleaning treatments.