What to Expect During COVID-19 Massage?

How are you guys doing after the craziness we face during 2020.  COVID-19 has made many businesses have to temporarily close or permanently close due to economic reasons.  Some of us lost our jobs and must find new jobs while others were on the front line trying to put a stop to the spread of the virus.  No matter where you fall in the spectrum of people the fear of catching the virus or transmitting the virus to others is strong even with those of us that don’t usually worry much.  As a massage therapist, I wondered what our standards would be to return to work and when.  Some spa locations have chosen to not open yet due to the strict guidelines we must follow.  This blog will cover the guideline and how Balm & Fizz adapted to the guideline to meet our clients’ needs.

Let’s just plunge into what is expected from both clients and therapists in a massage location health-wise.  If either clients or therapists have any of these symptoms they should not work or keep their appointment, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain from illness, headache from illness, sore throat, loss of taste or smell. Diarrhea, fever, or contact with a COVID-19 positive person in the last 14 days.   All clients upon arriving at my massage location will be asked all these questions.  Their fever will be taken with a touchless thermometer.  The client will be asked to wear a face mask while in the establishment.  The massage therapist also wears a mask while in the business.  Clients will be asked to wash their hands before the massage and after the massage with soap and water and use disposable towels. 

We are asked to schedule clients so that no clients are waiting in the waiting area and any walk-ins are asked to wait in the car until they are called into for their appointment.  Balm & Fizz doesn’t offer walk-in appointments; however, we are putting 45 mins-hour between clients to ensure me enough time to disinfect between clients. I ask that clients not be offended that I don’t shake hands and keep contact very minimum as possible and still give an awesome massage.   Currently, I am not offering facials, body scrubs, or body wraps until things are in control.  I am also not offering the use of the shower until we return to our normal protocol.   Clients are not allowed to bring any extra people with them to the appointment, such as children.  Clients need to be taken back to the massage room as soon as they fill out paperwork.  I have removed all unnecessary decorations and put all equipment away making my massage room feel very sparse to allow me to disinfect the surface easily and completely.   If a client is ill they will be asked to leave and reschedule their appointment.  I have face masks that is disposable if the client doesn’t have one to wear.

As a massage establishment, we are asked to keep all our supplies where clients can not touch or handle them.  Clients need to wash their hands upon entering the salon and before leaving the salon.  We are asked to ensure that clients to not have opportunities to interact while in the salon.   At Balm and Fizz, this is not an issue since I am the only therapist and only take one client at a time.  All clients and therapist need to wear a mask while in the salon. 

We are asked as establishments to wash out hands before entering the room and after leaving the room.  We need to wash our hands after touching any surface that is not sanitized.  We are asked to use disposable supplies to keep areas sanitized.   We also need to use disposable towels.    If, gloves are worn with a service we need to remove them immediately after service is complete.  Wipe down all surfaces including phones, computers, doorknobs, counters, pens, chairs after a client leaves with sanitizer.  Clean and sanitize all multi-use equipment between clients and discard single-use items after use.  Wipe and clean all electrical equipment.  Store all items in dust free and clean area away from clients.   Each day the floor needs to be sweep and disinfected, trash cans emptied, and either disinfected or new liners.  All, towels and sheets from each service need to be removed to a single-use trash sack until washed.  All linens need to be washed in hot water and chlorine bleach, only use clean linens with clients.  Wash hands before handling clean linens.  Fully sanitize all on-site laundry rooms and laundry storage rooms daily.

Finally, if anyone does test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of visiting a salon they should notify the salon and the local health authorities.   

Bam & Fizz is working hard to keep all our clients safe as well as myself.  Thank you for understanding that we are following the minimum standards of health protocols for massage establishments.   I look forward to seeing you on my massage table.  Find all information to book with me at balmfizz.com. 

EEK!! Did A Client Just Say That?

Yes, our mom’s would stop and say what the hell child did you just say in that text or email? Manners are often forgotten when a client sends us a message. I will attempt to point out things that annoy me in a massage, are just plain odd, or just inappropriate to send a massage therapist.

I love clients that come from all walks of life from the rich and famous to the hard working class. They all bring interesting factors to my life with their life experiences or work adventures. The most important thing about them is they remember this is a business, I run from my home.

Let’s just dive right into things that should not appear in your text or emails.

1: Pictures of your body parts. I do not need to see your body parts to decide if you can be my client. I see nude bodies every day of the week. I know what they look like. I do not choose clients based on how their body parts look. I do however reject clients that send me pictures of body parts.

2: Asking if I perform sexual acts from point blank asking or using innuendos. Nowhere in my ads does it say I perform or wish to perform any sexual acts. I advertise massage in no shape or form as a sexual act.

3: Wanting to know what I wear in the massage. First off I decide what to wear each morning based on my mood, not what a client wishes for during the massage. I dress for my comfort level and coolness level. I do try to look nice but this again is just because I don’t want to look dumpy. I can assure you I wear clothes of some kind. Usually jeans or short with a tank top.

4: I enjoy getting to know my clients when they visit however, I do not need to know your age, marital status or body build (unless it has to do with the type of massage). As long as you are over 18 years of age I will do your massage.

So with this being said what needs to appear in your text or emails?

1: Your name is very important. I only need your first name but last is also fine if you choose to share it.

2: Date you are looking at to get a massage.

3: Time of day that works best for you.

4: Length of massage you are looking to receive.

I understand that there are lonely people in the world, however, this is our business and more than the basic text or emails does cut into our personal and business time. I don’t mind being friendly but more than a hand full of text or emails is all that is required to book a massage. I do talk with my clients during their massage to learn more about their lives and interests. Before the massage begins we cover problem areas, type of pressure and what you do not like to be massaged.

Next time you book a massage remember: respect the therapist’s boundaries and time by sticking to the important information and not send inappropriate pictures or information. I look forward to meeting you on my table. If you enjoy speaking with me please book a massage to have more time to speak with me.

Should I Cancel Or Keep My Appointment?

Clients often do not know the reasons they should cancel an appointment. I find that clients will at times skip a booked appointment rather than call to cancel or reschedule their appointment. There is are a boat load of reasons and I will try to touch on some of the reasons I feel contribute to this issue.

The five very basic reasons clients miss an appointment are as follows:
1. Their calendar or life kept them from keeping the appointment. For example transportation, family issues, schedule conflicts
2. Massage Therapist has too long of a waiting list and no reminder system in place.
3. Not providing the client with a clear description of how your services will help them.
4. Making the client feel like they do not matter, showing disrespect or just not be present during the massage.
5. Clients are often embarrassed or forgetful about the appointment time or location.

The above reasons are all very good reasons for a client to feel uncomfortable with a massage therapist. In my business, I have a calendar that sends a reminder 24 hours before the appointment with an address and phone number so clients have the opportunity to cancel or remember the address without having to ask for it again. Sorry to say since I work alone, clients often have to wait to see me for several days or until they return to town. If a client has a work conflict, personal issue or just can’t afford the massage, please never feel bad about canceling, I will always be understanding of this. However, if you just don’t show I will not book you again since I usually have to turn down clients for your time slot. During my massages you are the center of my attention. I do not take phone calls and schedule my clients 30 mins apart to ensure I have time to let my clients dress and leave at a leisure pace. I also do not charge my clients for canceled appointments or missed appointments, all I ask is that you let me know.

Reasons to cancel an appointment are just a few and as follows.

1. Cash flow issues. I don’t take checks making it hard for some people to keep a booking when unexpected expenses arise after booking. If this is the case please call and let me know. Life happens to all of us.
2. Family or Work Crisis. These things happen to everyone including me. I do not judge what other consider a crisis situation. You are welcome to call and cancel or rebook.
3. Poison Ivy or Ring Worm. If you have either of these conditions please call me to cancel your appointment until you are well. I can not do your massage until it is gone.
4. Cold or Flu. Please cancel your appointment. I do not want to catch what you have or give it to other clients. Thank you for being considerate in this situation.
5. Anything anyone one can transmit to others. Please cancel your appointment until well. I do massage on people that have low immunity and do not need to get sick. Thank you for understanding.

In conclusion, I am very understanding of a call, text or email stating that you are unable to keep your appointment. I do not charge and put black marks on your name. However, if you choose to book and not show you will not be rebooked to receive an amazing massage. Your muscles will not be happy with you. Hope to see you soon.

Why Oh Why Do I Want or Need A…

As a massage therapist, I get asked daily if I give prostate massages. The answer is NO I do not! Why? Well because they should only be performed by a doctor that has the correct training to invade your body. In this blog, I will pull together information benefits, reason, issues and problems with prostate massage.

What is a prostate massage?

Medical News Today gives a great description of what it is and what happens during a prostate massage. “A digital rectal exam is used to check the overall size and condition of the prostate gland. During the procedure, a doctor will check for lumps and other changes that may be signs of health issues. A doctor wearing a lubricated glove performs the test by inserting a finger into the patient’s rectum and pressing the sides of the prostate nearby. If the symptoms suggest an infection, the doctor may massage, or rub, the prostate to obtain fluid for later study. The fluid released by the prostate is called expressed prostatic secretion. Doctors will analyze it for signs of inflammation or infection.” After, reading what is involved in a prostate massage I can tell you that massage therapist DO NOT have the training to do any of the above-listed procedures.

Types of prostate massage

Medical News Today goes on to explain the types of prostate massage. “A doctor may use a prostate massage technique to diagnose prostate problems but not to treat them. Some individuals use prostate massage regularly to deal with the symptoms of their prostate problems. This may be done manually, or with a prostate massaging device. Prostate massage can be slightly painful. Some people report an increased burning sensation after drainage, due to the nature of the fluids that are released. External prostate massage may involve exerting pressure on the perineum, the area about halfway between the anus and the scrotum. It can also be done by gently rubbing the belly between the pubic bone and the belly button. There are also devices to assist with external prostate massage.” None of these sound very relaxing to me and shouldn’t be done to a client without a doctor’s guidance.

Risks of prostate massage

Medical News Today lists several risks of getting a prostate massage.
“These include:
Worsening of acute prostatitis and potential blood poisoning, due to a risk of spreading infection
Bleeding around the prostate
Cellulitis, a serious skin infection
Hemorrhoids flare-ups
Spreading of prostate cancer, if present
Damage to the rectal lining.

Individuals with epididymitis, an inflammation of the tube connecting the testicle to the vas deferens, should avoid prostate massage. Due to the potential for damage to the rectal lining, the pressure used on the prostate must be minimal. The area is very sensitive, so any intervention must be carried out with caution and proper hygiene.
Physicians generally recommend that only trained healthcare professionals treat the prostate, and that they do so with great care and gentleness. As a general rule, physicians do not recommend prostate massage.” This being said as a massage therapist doing prostate massage can open you up to harming your client. I feel that this out weights the benefits.

Benefits of prostate massage

“Potential benefits of prostate massage
Supporters claim that prostate massage:
Prevents the buildup of prostatic fluid in the prostate
Improves the effectiveness of antibiotics against prostatitis
Supports healthy prostate functioning
Heightens sexual experience
Reduces the pain and discomfort of an inflamed prostate.
External prostate massage is said to reduce pain, improve erection, and ease urination.

There is little medical evidence to support these claims.”

As stated above there is little medical evidence to support that prostate massage is good for a client. That being said I do not offer prostate massage in any form or fashion. I think it would be wise to avoid going to a person that claims to do prostate massage unless they are a doctor.

Make Time For Boob Massage! Tried & Proven!

While becoming a massage therapist I was introduced to breast massage. Being an active hater of bras and other confining breast wear I was all in for breast massage. Having spent a great portion of my life with very small breast, I was not happy to have my second daughter change my breast size by several sizes due to breast feeding and weight gain. So, I had done research that stated that not wear bras would build my pectoral muscles and keep them from sagging. My massage therapist did pectoral muscles releases that hurt like hell but made my 38D breast nice and perky. So, ladies, I say suck it up and get your boobs perky. I am happy to say I may have 52-year-old boobs but they do not look it. I rarely wear a bra and love that the sag is no worst than a 20-year-old’s that has my breast size.

Fear is often the reason we do not have the breast massage done. There is nothing sexual about a breast massage. It does hurt and you can get bruises from it if you bruise easy. However, the end results totally make it worth your time to have it done.

Honey Colony breaks down the top 6 benefits of breast massage:

“1. Breast Massage Reduces The Risk Of Breast Cancer: Scientific research shows that massaging your breasts helps fight cancer. In fact, “nipple stimulation encourages blood flow and promotes the production of a useful female hormone, which encourages cells to expel cancer-causing chemicals from breast ducts,”says Professor Tim Murrell, of the Department of Community Medicine, at the University of Adelaide. Regular breast massage can also alert you of changes in your breast tissue so you can take quick measures to heal.
2. Increases Breast Size: When the breast tissue is stimulated by educated massage, the body secretes the hormone prolactin which slightly enlarges the breasts. Many women love this perk.
3. Prevents Sagging: Breast Massage lifts the breasts by tightening and toning the tendons and muscles responsible for breast length. Goodbye gravity, hello breast massage!
4. Helps You Look Younger: Breast Massage stimulates the endocrine system to secrete a powerful cocktail of youthful hormones. Prolactin, oxytocin, and estrogen are three powerhouse anti-aging hormones known to be produced during breast massage. Many women take pharmaceutical hormones to stay young. With skilled breast massage, your own body will be your anti-aging pharmacy!
5. Increases Pleasure: Increased sensitivity is a pleasing result of Taoist Breast Massage. As you become more aware of your own sensations and loving touch, you create new pathways in your brain for sensitivity. Some women even develop the ability to orgasm from this increased connection.
6. Lifts Stress and Depression: The “love hormone”, oxytocin is produced through breast and nipple massage and is scientifically proven to decrease stress and depression. Why wait for love? This is reason enough to massage our breasts!”

Find the right massage therapist that you feel comfortable with and knows what they are doing. Make sure they have the training to do this for you. Then ladies, say hello to perky breast and goodbye to hot and uncomfortable bras.

Why Not Just Get A Massage in The Buff?

There are many schools of thought on why a client should or should not drape. Some have to do with state laws, if your state requires draping then the massage therapist must drape with at least a towel or sheet to fulfill the letter of the law. Other states laws, say that you drape to the comfort level of both the therapist and client, this means that both have to be comfortable with no draping to not be covered with a sheet or towel. While still, other states have no laws concerning draping, I feel that it is still important that we respect the comfort level of both the therapist and client in these states also.

What is draping? This is when the client is on the table they are covered with some form of cloth, which can be a sheet, blanket or towel. The client and therapist can choose one or all three during the massage to cover the client.

Why should I drape or not drape? Draping, in reality, is to either preserve the modesty of the client and therapist, cut down on sensual thoughts and actions or keep the client warm. Not draping is for clients and therapist that are comfortable with the human body. Not draping also gives the therapist more time to work on your muscles during the massage instead of moving draping around to reach the muscles. If you are wishing to have full body massage strokes then you will need to not drape. Some clients like to use no draping while face down but have a towel across them face up. This is totally fine, as well.

Do I need to wear any type of clothing on the massage table while I am draped or not draped? This once again is up to the therapist and client’s level of comfort. I recommend that you do not wear any type of clothing, you should be in the buff. This allows me to work on your glutes and lower back to relieve back and leg pain. This can not be done with any type of clothing on. Since massage is a very personal experience, you will need to feel comfortable with your therapist to be able to relax in the buff whether you choose to drape or not.

Does draping matter if you are male or female? No, whether you drape or not should not be based on your sex. Draping is a personal choice and doesn’t depend on gender.

In conclusion, I prefer to not have my clients drape but understand when a client prefers to be draped. I also ask that clients remove all clothing before getting on the table. My massage is not sensual or ever meant to be sensual. I just enjoy relieving the client’s muscle pain. See you soon on my table for a massage in the buff!