At this time of this article, the COVID-19 coronavirus has changed the landscape of the massage therapy industry. We are navigating through uncharted water as some state boards, including California and Colorado, are disallowing massage practice in their states. Soon, other states may follow suit as massage organization leadership is discouraging massage practice for the next several weeks to months.
The call to social distancing is promoted as the most effective means at curtailing COVID-19. Social distancing aids to ensure our health care system (with finite resources) does not become overwhelmed with an extraordinary amount of cases.
There will be individuals who acquire COVID-19 over the next several months. We as a nation will be hard pressed to serve appropriately if too many patients enter hospitals and clinics already operating beyond capacity.
Considering the gravity of these circumstances, conducting business operations online, offering virtual therapy and learning options, will be imperative.
7 Tips to Help You Navigate These Uncharted Waters
- Know your state laws and definitions of massage. It is important to review your state laws and definitions of massage. This includes reading if your state has language involving public health risks with massage. Should a mandated state or national shutdown occur, it is important to know what constitutes massage therapy practice.
- Know your business talents. Take an assessment of your training and continuing education. Are there any services you have learned that do not necessitate physical touch? Are there activities such as yoga, breathing exercises and meditations you could offer online? If current distancing measures expand for several months, look into an alternative job to make ends meet. An honest assessment of your skills, which can be done as you prepare a resume, will help guide you in seeking alternative jobs.
- Know your personal talents. Examine your personal talents. What are your hobbies, interests and activities you enjoy doing? Could you share these talents with others? You may be surprised how many people may want to learn new activities you find fun.
- Learn teleconferencing programs. Programs such as Zoom, Skype for Business, WebEx Meeting Center, ezTalks Meetings and GoToMeeting are designed to facilitate either one-on-one or group meetings. These can become effective tools to facilitate online healing and teaching options. All will offer a tutorial to become acquainted with the program before utilizing fully. (1)
- Selling gift certificates and gift cards. Consider selling gift certificates and gift cards to the general public at this point. Be sure to ensure you use a proper tracking system while collecting funds for these items. This short-term infusion of money can help one manage a difficult month ahead.
- Create a budget and commit to what you create. If you haven’t created a family or personal budget yet, now is the time to create this valuable tool. Budget how much money you plan on spending on discretionary items such as entertainment, non-essential food stock and paid television options.
- Expand your scope. Consider looking beyond your clientele for monetary options. Are there neighbors who need assistance? Can you identify an unfulfilled need of the community? Are there ways to serve your community and neighbors in ways to help ease concerns over basic life needs?
Social distancing may create great strain mentally and financially for massage therapists. This short-term impact will sting. If more people participate in social distancing, the time duration of distancing will decrease. Everyone does affect each other at this point. We are more connected than ever in our field.
Our clientele may also be experiencing great strain mentally and physically. Reaching out to your clients periodically during this time frame can be key to maintaining your therapeutic relationship. Clients can be offered a healthy tip, exercise or activity daily to help them manage their stress. Maintaining healthy communication with clients is an excellent way to continue serving them.
“This too shall pass” is a phrase heard often these days. As massage therapists continue to maintain healthy hygienic practices at home, honor social distancing and prepare for their future business endeavors, there will need to be concerned efforts to curtail exposure to ensure these circumstances remain temporary.