Hi again from home. I hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe and are well.
I know that by now, many of you are seeing that some massage practitioners and offices in Lawrence and the surrounding area have plans to open on or around May 18th. They are working tirelessly to create new protocols and are doing their best to assure their clients that their sanitation efforts are up to CDC and Health Department standards.
You may even see that one or more practitioners at Kaw Valley Massage plan to return to work sooner rather than later.
I am deeply sorry to tell you that for me, this will not be the case.
I have spent the last two months trying to work out just what giving massage would look like for the duration of the coronavirus crisis. I looked for guidance from our professional associations, from health officials, from our government, and from our own massage community, and I felt that what I saw and am still seeing was woefully lacking in knowledge about these new risks in our profession.
I assessed the drastic changes I would need to make to my massage room, our waiting area, my practice protocols, scheduling, and dozens of other details that might help assure that nothing I or my clients did, breathed on, or touched would endanger their own or anyone else’s health.
I considered that every person who came in for a massage would be put into my “container of exposure” — and me into theirs — for at least 14 days after the visit. I even considered that the long contact time in a closed room with poor ventilation might increase transmission risks, especially if one of us was asymptomatic.
In considering all of these aspects, the lack of PPE that should rightfully go to health care workers rather than massage therapists, the intense financial and emotional costs of stripping the comforts from my massage room and turning it into a plasticized clinical setting, and the sheer monetary outlay that it would take to make such drastic changes right now, I found that I do not and will not have the physical, mental, or financial resources to open up again this early in the pandemic.
I also discovered that my liability insurance provider will not assure me coverage if my office becomes identified as a “coronavirus hot spot” and someone believes they fell ill from receiving a massage with me.
So, for now, my practice will remain closed.
Probably the saddest news I have to share with you is that I am moving out of the space at Kaw Valley Massage. I can no longer afford to rent a space that I cannot use for the foreseeable future.
My hope is that I’ll be able to re-open at a different location sometime after the next few waves of the virus have subsided. This might be in a separate home office that I am looking to build out in my garage over the summer and fall. It might also be doing home calls, if I can be assured that entering people’s homes and providing massage is safe as well as comfortable.
Rest assured that I will continue to educate myself, assess the risks, make my voice heard in the massage community, and continue to make the decisions that I believe are the most compassionate and correct to protect you and your loved ones — and me and mine. Though this long hiatus means harm to my income, it also brings me great relief to know that I am not putting any of you into harm’s way by relaxing my boundaries and vigilance too soon regarding the spread of the virus.
If you have an outstanding gift certificate with me, I have an offer for you. When I return to practice, whether that is doing home calls or eventually in a new office, I will double the value of the certificate, and the expiration date will be extended. You can also offer any amount of that doubled time to anyone you care about as a gift (e.g. if you have an hour, you can use both hours, or give one to someone else).
If you would rather redeem your gift certificate with another practitioner at another practice in the shorter term, please email or call me, and I will work that out with you and that practitioner.
In the meantime, I am taking a mindfulness meditation teacher training over the summer and am working on developing restorative yoga classes using normal “household objects” (pillows, blankets, ottomans, and even yoga props) taught via Zoom. If you would like to convert a gift certificate that you hold into some online yoga and/or meditation classes for yourself or someone else, I would be happy to work that out as well.
Thank you for your kind understanding and for reading this long letter. Again, I hope you’re doing all right during these weird times. I invite you call, text, or email me any time, even if it’s for no reason other than just to let me know how you’re doing. I miss you! I feel it’s important to share our stories and make connections with the people we care about, and who care about us, more than ever right now.
Be well, l and I look forward to connecting with you.