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 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.
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.
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.
Deep tissue massage not only feels fabulous, it can provide results. The massage technique targets deeper layers of muscle and your connective tissue. For its ability to stimulate those deeper muscles, deep tissue massage is commonly used during recuperation from sports-related and other injuries, according to the Mayo Clinic. Deep tissue massage has been proved to reduce high blood pressure and a range of other ailments. Deep tissue and other types of massage are frequently used for relieving stress, managing pain, breaking down scar tissue, relieving muscle tension and improving health. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health cites the following as health conditions for which that deep tissue massage can provide relief:
- Chronic low back pain, chronic neck pain, and osteoarthritis of the knee
- Labor pains
- Depression and anxiety
- Fibromyalgia pain and fatigue
The proper deep tissue massage may also benefit preterm infant health. Cancer patients may experience reduced pain, increased relaxation, and improved mood.
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.
As long as your prenatal care physician has cleared you for prenatal massage, it should be safe to indulge yourself in a Swedish massage during pregnancy. In fact, scheduling regular pregnancy massages can have wonderful health benefits for you and the baby. Swedish and other massages can feel great and also have a variety of health benefits, according to studies published by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Some of the benefits of pregnancy massage include reduction in leg and back pain, lower levels of anxiety and depression, and a better overall mood.
To find the right massage therapist for you, read the therapist’s online reviews and call to ask them about their experience with prenatal massage. Massage therapists who have been specially trained in prenatal massage techniques often advertise this area of expertise on their websites. Don’t hesitate to ask questions beforehand, and to communicate during the massage about what does and does not feel good.