Healing work in the time of COVID-19

I am, at present, working my way through a major overhaul of my practice space, policies, and procedures, with COVID-19 as my muse. As I write this I am not really sure when I will be allowed to return to “non-essential” practice, but I am sure that it will be before we have really brought this virus to heel.

Because this particular virus is able to hang out in some bodies without incident and in others with huge consequence, I have to treat everyone as though they could be unknowingly carrying some amount of viral load (including myself) and act accordingly. So far, that has meant staying home, but as we move towards engaging with each other in physical space again I am taking extra precautions as recommended by the FSMTB, the WSMTA, and the ABMP, who of course are getting their recommendations from the CDC and state and county health departments, among other reputable sources.

Here are some things you should know:

Your appointment times may have changed. If you booked your appointments before mid-April I may have had to nudge your appointment by up to 45 minutes to make it possible to thoroughly clean and sterilize between appointments. Please double check by logging on on MassageBook.com to see your appointments or pay close attention to the reminders you are sent by their system for the start times of your sessions.

I will be doing more intake. I have updated my online intake form and you will need to look it over and “sign” it before you come in. I will call you the day before your appointment to run you through a short checklist of screening questions, and if there is any question about your health we will reschedule with no cancellation fee.

At the building, I will absolutely need you to wait until at least 10 minutes before your appointment to call up, as I will be disinfecting everything and it takes time. If you are on foot/bike, you can still enter the lobby with code 07743; if you are driving, please wait in your car until the designated time (within 10 minutes of your scheduled appointment start). When you get off the elevator I need you to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer at the door of my office.

At my door we will repeat those screening questions, take your temperature and blood oxygen level to make sure you have a high probability of health before we begin. And if you do, I will have you remove your shoes there before you enter the office.

I will be screening myself daily. Using the same questions I ask you, and the temperature and blood oxygen readings, I will make sure I have a high probability of health before I work with you.

We will both wear masks. Building management asks that we wear masks in common areas of the building, and we will wear them during your session. I will be changing out my PPE between clients. There is a nifty workaround for face-down droplet capture if wearing a mask in the face cradle seems suffocating.

My office will look different. I have swapped out upholstered chairs and wooden or porous surfaces for things that can be easily cleaned and disinfected. I have put things away and purged. It’s a bit more echoey. I have lots of hand sanitizer!

There will be specific places for your stuff, and you need to bring your own water now. It feels very weird to be so directive about things, but I think it will become an easy enough habit for us once we get going.

I make this agreement with you, and ask that you make it with me:

I am practicing social distancing as requested by our state and local officials and wearing a mask when in public spaces indoors or within 6′ of those outside my “quaranteam”. I wash or sanitize my hands frequently when outside my own home.

Within 14 days of your appointment I will not have been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by a doctor or local public health official, nor will I have experienced any of the common symptoms of COVID-19 or knowingly come into prolonged contact with anyone who has.

These statements are also true for people who are in my “quaranteam”.

It is my hope that with all of these precautions in place I won’t ever have to give your information to a contact tracing team, but if it comes to that, I will, and I expect you will do the same for me.

I am keeping a document to track office changes, new policies, and resources which you are welcome to check out, and I am happy to answer any questions you may have before you book an appointment. Additionally, here’s my COVID-19 Exposure Control, Mitigation and Recovery Plan. It will be available in my office and is here online to review anytime. Please be in touch, stay safe, and I hope I can see you in person soon.