What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a massage therapist during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Ask your massage therapist if they offer consultations over a video chat or phone call. If they do, ask them any questions you have about the upcoming appointment. For example, ask what precautions they're taking to keep both parties safe due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You might also want to ask if they offer gift cards that can be used at a later time, remote services or even virtual lessons for you or members in your household.
Also, ask how they plan to handle payments, and whether you can pay through an online or digital method instead of with physical cash or credit cards.
Because massage therapy requires person-to-person contact, social distancing is not possible. However, you can ask massage therapists near you if they can offer remote services instead, such as lessons for you and your partner.
If you don’t want to book an appointment with a massage therapist right now, but you will in the future when the pandemic subsides, consider paying your massage therapist in advance or tipping them anyway. You can also ask about buying a gift card for future work.
Many massage therapists operate their businesses out of their own homes, though some offer mobile massages and come to your home. You should ask the massage therapist where they typically operate and if they are making any special accommodations to better observe the CDC’s guidelines for social distancing.
If you must cancel or delay your massage therapy appointment due to COVID-19, consider asking the therapist if they can offer massage techniques or lessons via video chat, email or some other digital format. You can also ask if it's possible to buy gift cards that can be used at a later time.
Ask massage therapists near you about the possibility of remote services. You might come across profiles that state the therapist is offering remote services such as lessons and techniques you can do on your own, with a friend or with a partner.
Many massage therapists accept digital payments through Venmo, Apple Pay, PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash, Zelle and other online platforms. Even businesses that do not typically accept digital payments may be changing their methods to practice social distancing. Just check with your massage therapist before the appointment to see how they handle payments.
The definition of an essential COVID-19 service provider varies from state to state and city to city. To see which businesses are considered essential in your area, visit the official government website of your state or city.
You can also read CISA’s publication on identifying critical workers to find out more information on a national level. However, not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure.
Swedish massage is proven to lower blood pressure and reduce stress, according to the International Journal of Preventative Medicine, as well as to relieve depression and anxiety and aid in recuperation from chronic illness. Swedish massage is also referred to as classical massage, and — contrary to popular understanding — does not originate from Sweden. There are five main strokes, or movements, that make up a Swedish massage: effleurage, friction, petrissage, tapotement and vibration. Each technique was created to help soothe, stimulate, soften, and rejuvenate muscles and other soft tissue.
During a Swedish style massage, the client will lie on a massage table in a comfortable position — usually facedown to start. Clients can choose to be clothed or nude; if they are nude, the massage therapist will drape them with a cloth so they are never exposed. A Swedish massage typically lasts from 45 to 120 minutes, depending on client need and pricing agreement. During the massage, the therapist typically employs all of the stroke techniques as a way to ease any tension in the body. Swedish massage is one of the most gentle types of massage and is known for being soothing and relaxing.
Thai massage not only feels good, it has proven health benefits. In general, massage can reduce stress, relieve pain, decrease negative symptoms from chronic illness, and promote wellness. But Thai massage, in addition to all these health benefits, is especially wonderful for improving flexibility and can also be highly beneficial to athletes or anyone who has regular strain on their muscles. During a Thai massage, the massage therapist will move your body through a variety of yoga-like poses and postures, all with the intention of loosening your muscles, improving your circulation and promoting bodily wellness. A study by the Journal of Physical Therapy Science showed the benefits of Thai massage during and after athletic performance:
- Improved physical fitness and flexibility, attributed to reduced muscle tension and increased blood ﬂow to muscles.
- Increased muscle blood supply, which may allow the muscles to get more oxygen and nutrients from the blood, giving them more endurance and strength.
- Enhanced positive mood states and psychological well-being, both of which promote physical recovery.
Pregnancy massage is a therapeutic massage tailored specifically to the needs of a pregnant woman’s body. Before having a prenatal massage, always check in with your prenatal care provider and ask if massage therapy will be safe for you and your pregnancy. A pregnancy massage is much more than just an indulgence. The specialized strokes and techniques used to loosen tight muscles, reduce swelling, alleviate pressure, and ease tension provide positive health benefits for both you and your baby. Experts recommend finding a massage therapist who has received additional training on prenatal massage techniques. This is typically a certification above and beyond their standard massage therapy certification and training requirements. During the massage you will likely lie on your side or in a semi-reclined position; these supported poses keep you and the baby comfortable and free from strain or undue pressure. During the massage, the therapist will listen to what body challenges you are experiencing and work to release tension. The massage should be a relaxing and very soothing experience.
Not only can you have a massage while pregnant, multiple scientific studies published by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services demonstrate that pregnancy massages provide physical and mental benefits to pregnant women and women in labor. Always ask your OB-GYN about receiving massages before starting any massage therapy to make sure it is safe for your own pregnancy. Pregnancy massage can alleviate pain, improve mental health and feel great. According to the DHHS, the benefits can include:
- Decreased depression.
- Decreased anxiety.
- Decreased leg and back pain.
- Lower cortisol levels, which in turn lowers prematurity rates.
- Lessened labor pain (for women who received massage during labor).
- Labor time that is three hours shorter, on average, for women who receive massage during labor.