A friend who lives in Germany laughed at me this past week when I explained to him that the recommendation for Massage Therapists, to protect themselves and clients, is to wear full PPE. His comment was “that is like having to eat through a tube, the whole experience is missing.” I agree with him 100%. The experience itself becomes crinkly PPE gowns, face masks, difficulty breathing (for both of us), and attempting to drown out the awkwardness with music, since we shouldn’t talk.
I have been asked many times, “When will you reopen?” and I just have to say “I don’t know.” The image above, although of a doctor or nurse, is an image I cannot get out of my head as I struggle to decide when I will be back to work.
For me massage is the giving of Compassionate Touch. What I struggle with is the idea of being recommended to not give skin on skin TOUCH, the thing that defines my massage in so many ways. When I was in massage school I had the opportunity to write an essay on “why I want to be a massage therapist.” I enrolled in massage school overnight after listening to advertisements on Pandora for Cortiva Massage School. After a few weeks of being in school it became very evident to me that it was a calling. Pandora may have gotten me through the door, but I was meant to be there. I was there to become a servant. To serve those in need of compassionate touch. To help heal those who need healing, and to give touch to those who need intentional touch. The joy I receive from giving myself wholly and caring for one person completely is profound. You give me the gift of being able to do it throughout my day. The idea of wearing full PPE stands in the way of that gift.
I have seen many news reports and Facebook posts about our need for a hug and the struggle medical professionals are having working through full PPE. Here is my favorite so far. Although this is a great solution to getting a hug, it won’t work very well for giving and receiving a massage.
As I navigate the next few weeks, my goal is to find a way to be safe, for both you and me, and to navigate the necessary changes while maintaining the integrity of compassionate touch I give each one of you.
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