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For Massage Therapists, Pandemic Measures Cause Unrest

Used with permission from smithbodymind.com

Some businesses are certainly more “hands on” than others, and therefore stand to suffer the most during the COVID-19 pandemic. As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, that especially applies to massage therapists.

Becky Smith has worked for 34 years in massage therapy. She’s a bit surprised to find herself “retired” so soon.

“There is a little silver lining to that. But it’s also stressful, most of us being self-employed, we have no income right now.”

For many massage therapists across Oregon and elsewhere, the stay-at-home directive and social distancing measures are important in curbing the spread of COVID-19, but also detrimental to their industry.

Credit NIH / Flickr.com
Chair massage therapists at work during a 2010 event, The Heart Truth.

Smith says there’s guidance from the state and Oregon Board of Massage Therapists, but essentially: licensed practitioners are restricted to possible medical massage during the pandemic.

"Like lymphatic drainage or post recovery from a motor vehicle accident, or conditions like fibromyalgia," explains Smith. 

"People just have to figure out: can they provide a safe environment for themselves and their clients to administer that?”

Smith’s done telehealth counseling to teach clients relaxation and self-massage techniques. And one client has stocked up on gift certificates for when Smith’s able to open her doors again. 

The need for relaxation and therapy is probably at an all-time high given the anxiety and stress over the global pandemic.  But for now, people worked up over the situation will need to focus on meditation, deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, and other alternate forms of stress relief.

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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