Firstly: Please don’t worry
By not worry, I mean about what you may have to do, what it will be like, will it be very different from what your last massage was like, is there adequate precautions and so forth.
I will leave all other information dating back to July 2020 in place for now. My protocol has served well this past year and I remain confident and relaxed regarding your safety and wellbeing while you are here with me. The only new update is that I will be taking personal advantage of the bi-weekly free lateral flow tests and will be receiving my second vaccine dose on 31st May. Otherwise for the time being everything remains the same)
I have since opening the first time back up in July found that it has been completely as I anticipated it would be. Some are anxious, others not at all. Some have hardly left their home in the past months, others have been out to work everyday. Some are thinking of older or vulnerable family members. My responsibility is to take into consideration the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of everyone as a collective whole. Additionally remember that I also have to feel comfortable and safe and at ease in my treatment space which I very much do!
So (with your co-operation) I will look after both of us to my very best ability, knowledge and personal integrity.
When the government announced we could open, it did not mean everything was different. Nothing had changed since March... However in my opinion, with the measures listed here The Quiet Space as a venue could have remained open throughout the entire lockdown period. These measures listed here had been thought through by me drawing on my experience with infection control in hospitals.
Aside from the mask and visor for me there is in reality no difference in the way I have always thought and what I have always done and what I have always known and understood about infection control long before the interim nursing experience.. I would say though that the nursing and operating theatre environment has left me with a deeply ingrained awareness and habits which I will admit had made it easier for me than perhaps other therapists. I am judging that by the advice and reassurance I found myself trying to dispense on various forums during the lockdown.
So regardless of the ‘next discovery’ or government announcement below is how we have pretty much always proceeded and this is how we are going to continue to proceed!
So in compliance with the guidelines here it all is all written down for you. .
Reflecting the latest news....Most of this was written in July before re-opening. I want that to be evident when your read SEE BELOW FOR SEPTEMBER UPDATE INSERTION. No doubt there will be more updates in the future.
VISORS FOR THERAPISTS
Back in July the government were recommending just a visor.. If we are considering the risk of direct interpersonal transmission: My decision on my mask visor set up was initiated right from re-opening. This is so that you can relax when face up and I can work freely on your neck and shoulders without your feeling any anxiety about our proximity.
I will be wearing what you see in the photos as then I am not breathing directly down over you. (In general for me it is a lot less cumbersome than what I have worn at times at the hospital so I will have no issues regarding my comfort and therefore no distraction and therefore for me a totally normal ability to focus on you during your appointment)
I wear the blue surgical mask when I meet you and for any social distanced chat time after your massage. During the massage I am wearing a different mask which has different properties and complies with EN149:2001 FFP3
The mask that I wear acts as a filter in both directions. From me to you and from you to me. So in addition to the visor and other measures listed we are in pretty good shape.
The average adult is obviously more than a metre in height... During your massage I will be mostly one metre plus away from your head and at least fifty percent of the time you will be face down.. Therefore with the mask and visor that is quite an obstacle course for an errant droplet of whatever size to navigate for either of us..
My room is big, it has two windows taller than you! It also has enough room for several people to maintain a distance from each other. This is not a multi room spa with a tiny dark air conditioned/filtered treatment room. I don't do back to back appointments; I never have. I like to give time to my clients and I have always liked the room to 'rest' and become neutral again in between appointments. So considering the direct ventilation, the fact that it is just us and that I have complete control over the internal environment, the timing of my appointments and who I choose to take an appointment with.... I am feeling ok in my treatment room and am confident that you will too!
in general while all of the published knowledge is so ‘variable according to the latest political announcement’ I am maintaining my room with the same level of care and ingrained habitual awareness that I would when working in an operating theatre. I have made some small adjustments to the treatment room and incorporated and drawn on my hospital experience to make those changes. The changes will not be intrusive to you and for example; I have upgraded my surface wipes to the exact same brand I used in the NHS and have waterproof pillowcase liners and other couch accessories under my normal linen. - You would not know unless I actually showed you. There is also a little more space for you to get changed and to place your watch and jewellery etc. OCTOBER UPDATE. There is now publicly available research indicating less of a risk from surfaces. However I will continue on with the Clinell and as already stated, therapists should always have been infection control conscious..
So between what I am wearing, the ability to utilise natural ventilation, a spacious room and whatever you will bring along if you wish (mask, visor, piece of material) I hope and anticipate you will be able to relax and enjoy your massage and not worry about breathing!
Some very simple information about different types of mask
Your fashion based mask:
When everyone wears one they give a mutually contributed to level of protection from coughs, sneezes, loud conversations, enclosed spaces. That is the basis of the government mask space dont touch your face and wash your hands advice. I wear one of these for the supermarket shop and commute etc.
They are to give some protection to the environment around you but depending on the actions of the wearer only provide a limited protection to the wearer. Together with a visor and a well ventilated low occupied room it could most likely according to current understanding provide a sufficient degree of protection at the barbers/salon etc regarding transmission in your direction and a degree of enhanced protection for the wearer via the visor. If you want to use them outside you should know that they are disposable for a reason..and not suitable for repeated use.
Masks with valves.
Different grades of filtration seen on people who are physically active as it is easier to breathe..but the valve allows your expelled air out into the air around you. Good for your protection as the wearer but not helpful to those around you.
Higher Filtration Masks (Respirators) with no valve:
Inhibit in both directions. Various types for various types for various activities. Highest tech has a shrouded filter combining comfort with high protection. Unless worn correctly they are ineffective and also not intended for general outside wear anyway. (This is the mask that I am wearing during your massage, It complies with EN149:2001 and has a FFP3 level of filtration).
I am not making any definitive statement about mask wearing. The truth is no one really knows the percentage generally of how much it helps. It works in a hospital/lab/industrial setting but they are controlled environments. I believe it works as optimally as possible at The Quiet Space because:
I consistently take all the precautionary steps available to me.
The level of filtration of the mask that I am wearing;
My background and therefore my consistent and methodical ability to perform infection control measures in a routine way and therefore proceed without complacency or lapses;
The fact that it is my space and not shared with anyone;
The whole collective combination with all the measures listed here on this page.
Regarding my private life perspective: My personal position is that if all of my ex colleagues at the hospital unit are wearing their blue surgicals all day removing only to eat then I can certainly wear one inside when I am in a public place. I am not defined as an individual by wearing one and then I can just get on with my daily life limited as it is right now.