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.
There are many reasons to get a deep tissue massage. A deep tissue massage can release adhesions — also known as knots — that are causing painful tension in your muscles. Deep tissue massage can promote healing and ease discomfort related to illnesses such as cancer, chronic headaches, osteoarthritis of the knee, chronic neck or back pain, depression, and more, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. If you have an old sports injury such as shin splints, or a bad back from an old car accident, deep tissue massage can promote healing in your traumatized and scarred soft tissues and get you on the road to recovery. The strokes and techniques used in deep tissue massage work to lengthen soft tissue structures that have stiffened and hardened into knotty adhesions that allow minimal movement. Deep tissue massage can loosen these adhesions so that long-standing scar tissue releases and you can gain more mobility and more freedom from stiffness and pain. And it just feels good. The national average cost of a deep tissue massage is between $70 and $90.
Deep tissue massage and Swedish massage are both forms of therapeutic bodywork. In both modalities, a licensed massage therapist uses strokes administered with their hands or forearms to loosen and relax your muscles and other soft tissue. These releases can promote relaxation, pain relief and wellness.
Deep tissue massage may be an excellent therapeutic choice for people with chronic pain or severe tension in their muscles. The deep tissue massage technique moves below the top layer of muscle and soft tissue to release adhesions in your core muscles. In comparison, the strokes used in Swedish massage focus on loosening and relaxing the top layer of your soft tissues. Swedish massage produces relaxation and well-being, but if you have a long-term injury or back pain that won’t seem to go away, deep tissue massage may be a better option for you. The systematic deep tissue strokes will work to break down any scar tissue or stiff tissues and create ease in your body again.
Traditional Thai massage is a different experience if you’ve only ever had a Swedish or deep tissue massage. In Thai massage, you wear loose-fitting clothing (often provided by the massage therapist) and start by lying on a mat. Throughout the massage, the therapist moves your body into various seated and prone positions, which stretch and release your muscles and soft tissue. Although your body is moving, the therapist is doing all the work, making it feel similar to supported yoga. The massage therapist will bend, stretch, and compress and lengthen your body using their hands, forearms, elbows and even feet. Don’t be alarmed by the feet! Many studios have overhead supports that allow the practitioners to safely walk on your back, releasing tight adhesions and promoting ease. Thai massage can be both invigorating and relaxing. It is an excellent option for keeping your muscles in good health if you regularly work out, or if you want to overcome a lack of flexibility. Studies show that Thai massage can increase blood circulation, improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension and enhance mental well-being.
There are five main techniques in Swedish massage: effleurage, friction, petrissage, tapotement and vibration. Within each category there are various movements, all intended to ease muscle tension and pain. Each movement has a specific purpose for loosening, warming, soothing or stimulating your muscles during your massage. Here is a breakdown of each of the five Swedish massage techniques:
- Effleurage: Sweeping, gliding, smooth long strokes done with the hands or forearms. These strokes can loosen and warm the body and are said to help stimulate blood flow.
- Friction: These circular or transverse rubbing strokes are also warming and can get deeper into the muscle tissue. They should be avoided on injured or inflamed areas or areas.
- Petrissage: Lifting, kneading, skin rolling, muscle rolling and wringing. These movements help with circulation, which stimulates cell regeneration, and aid in loosening tense muscles.
- Tapotement: Tapping, plucking, cupping and pounding. Tapotement movements can help improve blood circulation and cell rejuvenation, and also relax and release tight muscles.
- Vibration: Rocking, shaking and trembling movements. These motions can help muscles release.