Massage therapy is one of many close-contact professions that were forced to change the traditional way they operate due to COVID-19. However, even during the height of the pandemic, many massage therapists have been able to find safe, alternative ways to continue working and bring in needed income.
Massage therapists not only provide relaxation during these stressful times, they also provide necessary pain relief and other health-related benefits. For example, studies have found that massage therapy can be useful for treating anxiety, digestive disorders, fibromyalgia, headaches and insomnia on top of soft tissue strains and joint pain. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these chronic health issues have not gone away. In order to ensure their clients still have access to their care, massage therapists have been utilizing various technology and distancing measures.
Here are some creative ways massage therapists have been adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Virtual one-on-one appointments
In addition to business meetings and doctor’s appointments, massage therapists have been meeting with their clients via live video platforms like Zoom and Skype. While massage therapists are not able to have physical contact with clients, they are using these video meetings to instruct their clients how to apply massage techniques themselves.
YoMassage, a training program that combines massage therapy with yoga techniques, offers these step-by-step instructions on how to host virtual massage therapy meetings with clients. Some services that can be offered are postural analysis, guided stretches and self-massage.
Like regular massage, self-massage has many benefits. Individualized techniques provided by a skilled massage therapist who already knows their clients’ trouble areas, can ensure they are using the most effective techniques. Just as an in-person massage therapy session, a self-massage can help relieve muscle strain and increase blood circulation to various parts of the body. Even as little as 30-seconds of massage can be effective in relieving tension. While this method might not be as relaxing as a regular massage, it certainly provides temporary relief.
In-person instructional meetings (6-feet-apart)
As COVID-19 cases in some areas begin to slow, some massage therapists have started meeting with clients in person while keeping a distance of at least 6-feet away. Like video meetings, massage therapists are able to instruct clients on how to massage themselves. They can also show their clients how to perform more complicated stretching and exercise techniques that help relieve tension too.
Even at a distance, having an in-person meeting with a massage therapist can be effective. They can help ensure that you’re massaging the right places and that you’re staying away from tender areas like the spine. For hard to reach areas, a roller and even a tennis ball is useful and widely available.
Offering online group classes on massage therapy and other topics
To help bridge any income gaps, some massage therapists have began hosting online classes about overall wellness. In video format, massage therapists are showcasing their expertise not only in massage techniques but in various other specialties.
During these challenging times, mediation, stretching, yoga, guided imagery and other relaxation techniques have become particularly helpful. Since these techniques are often paired with massage, many massage therapists are already skilled in them.
One massage therapist, Tim Grae, who’s based in New York City hosts Monday Mobility, regular yoga, meditation, wellness and fitness classes for a monthly subscription fee. Available via Zoom, these types of videos can be an additional revenue source for many massage therapists. It’s also a great way for massage therapists to keep in touch with clients.
Now that people are adapting to various changes like working from home and home schooling, the need for stress relief has become even more vital. These temporary measures have helped massage therapists continue to utilize their expertise in easing strain and other health-related symptoms. It’s no surprise that even during social distancing measures, the unique skill set of massage therapists continue to be in demand.
The need for the medical and stress-relieving benefits of massage therapy is not expected to go away anytime soon. Increasingly utilized at hospitals and recommended by many doctors, massage therapy remains a vital part of the health care profession. Like many other industries, the $18 billion massage therapy industry is expected to bounce back strong. Until then, massage therapists continue to spread the benefits of touch in new and creative ways.