As an Complementary Healthcare Provider I'm becoming increasingly concerned, angry, frustrated and more about how mainstream medicine and the mainstream media are dealing with the coronavirus epidemic.
Although not much is known about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, that is causing havoc around the world, the one thing that is very clear is that if someone has a healthy immune system, it is not a serious threat. So why is it that the only advice being offered is "wash your hands" and "stay away from sick people"?
As all alternative healthcare practitioners know, there are many ways to boost the immune system, including getting more sleep, meditation and relaxation, a healthy diet, optimizing vitamin D levels, supplementing with other nutrients and herbs, acupuncture, homeopathy and more.
See this blog for immune-boosting recommendations:
So why aren't people being told this? Maybe it's because the pharmaceutical companies and conventional medical doctors don't make any money on these natural preventive and treatment strategies. They're waiting for a medical treatment breakthrough or a vaccine they can cash in on, and it doesn't matter to them how many people get sick or die in the meantime.
They've been doing the same thing with treatments for chronic pain for decades. Mainstream medicine has pushed dangerous drugs (opioids, NSAIDs, gabapentinoids) and unnecessary and risky surgeries instead of safe, effective treatment options that have a better chance of getting people better. The tens of thousands of opioid overdose deaths per year and the millions addicted are only the tip of the iceberg of the harm and suffering caused by their malfeasance.
So if we don't speak up, who will? Isn't it time for all alternative, integrative, holistic practitioners to become more vocal and more visible? To get on talk shows on the radio, write articles, increase our visibility on the internet, do more educational events, etc?
Safety Procedures: 5 Things
This list of five safety procedures to put in place immediately was provided to MASSAGE Magazine by Werner, author of A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology, 7th ed.
1. Handwashing is the first, foremost and fiercest protection from spreading this infection. As massage therapists, we probably wash our hands more than most people. Doesn’t matter, do it more. Step up your handwashing game, and you’ll have the added benefit of limiting COVID-19, flu and other hand-borne cooties in your world. (Read “Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus & Other Pathogens.”)
2. COVID-19 typically is easily spread through airborne particles as well as can be transmitted through touching contaminated surfaces, several days after initial contamination and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
What this means is we can demonstrate our dedication to hygiene and safety by cleaning not only our table and massage equipment, but also our doorknobs, light switches, cellphones, keyboards and anything else we or our clients touch. (Maybe do it so that clients can see you in action. This not only shows them you know how to take care of your environment, it may also prompt them to take similar actions with their own environments.)
3. COVID-19 does not appear to cause serious disease in most younger people who are fundamentally healthy. For people with autoimmune or chronic lung problems, this is a different situation.
The best option for now is to ask clients to reschedule if they or anyone in their circle of acquaintance are sick. Consider not charging for this rescheduling—that is just a disincentive for people to tell you the truth.
4. Take excellent care of your own health. This is not the time to push your limits for getting enough sleep or eating healthy food. Invest in your own wellbeing so you can be the resource your clients need.
Avoid panicking, and get your information from credible sources. The World Health Organization and the CDC are good sources for up-to-date information.
What Not to Do: 3 Things
According to Werner, this is what not to do:
1. Don’t panic. It doesn’t help anyone, least of all your clients.
2. Don’t use face masks, they don’t help, unless you’re sick already. And if you are, stay home and away from others.
3. Don’t neglect your own health and self-care.
According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and may appear two to 14 days after exposure.
Effective Cleaning Procedures
Properly cleaning your treatment room can make a significant difference in the health and safety of your clients, said Hastings.
“In addition to standard between-client cleaning tasks such as providing fresh linens and blankets, wiping your table and appropriate tools,” she said, the following areas should also be included in your sanitizing procedures:
• Door handles inside and out; toilet handle; faucet
• Hot towel cabinet door
• Product containers
• Massage stool
• Light switches
• Cell phone/iPad/computer
“In addition to thorough hand washing between clients, it is a great idea to ‘gel-in’ upon entering your treatment room and prior to placing your hands on the client,” Hastings said. “Clients will appreciate this extra step and will be encouraged to ‘gel-out’ before leaving.”
The CDC’s guide, “Protect Yourself and Your Family”
Article on effective handwashing: “Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus & Other Pathogens”
World Health Organization’s “Coronavirus disease (COVID-19 Outbreak” guide, with information on self-protection, travel advice and more.
The CDC’s guide, “Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities”
California Massage Council’s “What You Need to Know about Coronavirus” and list of recommendations.
Environmental Protection Agency’s list of approved sanitizers to use against coronavirus.
Ultimately, your health and well-being are paramount. Follow safety procedures to keep your physical massage practice free of viruses. Determine if clients have symptoms, or if their acquaintances do. Importantly, as well: Communicate directly and frequently with clients.
“You can be sure clients are thinking about these things,” said Sohnen-Moe. “When you are transparent and proactive with your communications, your clients will feel more at ease with continuing their regular schedules. Also, remind them that stress affects health, so getting a massage is actually a proactive step to take right now.”
Yours in Wellness,
Andre' Cross LMT CNMT