Episode 315

Sep 25, 2020

Allissa discusses what we need to know now as massage therapists operating in the middle of a pandemic.

Listen to "E315: Massage Business Safety Notes from the Middle of Pandemic" on Spreaker.
Image for E315: Massage Business Safety Notes from the Middle of Pandemic


Weekly Roundup

Discussion Topic

Quick Tips



Sponsor message This episode is sponsored by Pure Pro massage products. Since 1992, Pure Pro has distinguished itself by adhering to the values of quality, purity, efficacy, and education. And now the company that you trust is making hand sanitizer we all need to operate safely in a COVID-19 world. Pure Pro's hand sanitizer spray meets the strictest sanitizer criteria from the World Health Organization. It contains 80% ethyl alcohol, and all of that alcohol is naturally derived from corn. I've learned that sprays are far superior to gels. Gels don't meet that 80% criteria, and they leave a weird sticky, slimy, tacky feeling on your hands. Pure Pro spray does the job and then dissipates quickly with no residual slimy or tacky feeling and no residual scent. You can buy in bulk. The gallon size comes with a pump. And you can get 8-oz bottles to refill and keep in your massage room and at your front door and desk and anywhere else you want to be extra safe. Our listeners can get $10 off your next hand sanitizer purchase of $40 or more using the code BLUE10 at checkout. So go to massagebusinessblueprint.com/purepro and use code BLUE10 for $10 off your next sanitizer purchase of $40 or more.

Michael Reynolds Hey, everyone. And welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we help you attract more clients, make more money, and improve your quality of life. I'm Michael Reynolds.

Allissa Haines I'm Allissa Haines.

MR We're your hosts. Glad you've joined us today. Welcome. Allissa --

AH Thank you. Hi.

MR [Laughing] Hi. What're you reading?

AH I --

MR Sorry. Okay, I got to tell you, I'm distracted because you've always told me not to worry about it because it's a family-oriented kind of podcast, and Eli, my five-year-old, just walked up to my office door and has a whole bunch of necklaces on and bling everywhere, and he wants to show me. So that's why I got distracted and I paused for a minute. [Laughing] So I thought I'd tell our audience why I paused for a minute. [Laughing]

AH Oh, that's hilarious. It's all good. It's all good.

MR Yeah.

AH What am I reading? So I --

MR Now he's banging on the office door, so (indiscernible) we do that as well.

AH [Laughing]

MR [Laughing] So I'm going to mute myself while you tell me what you're reading.

AH Okay.

MR Just tell me when to unmute and I will jump in.

AH You got it. So I have been reading some very light things that I feel really good about, a silly, little cheesy romance novel called Ghosting by an author named Tash Skilton. And I am now knee-deep into a book called Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout. And she's also the author who wrote Olive Kitteridge and Olive, Again and that whole -- I don't want to say it's a series, but it's very interesting because it's a whole -- the bulk of her books connect to each other in that one character from one book may have known another, and -- another character from another book, and it's -- they're more character studies, I feel, than novels. There's so many weird little stories intertwined. So anyhow, I'm reading Anything Is Possible. It's fiction, and I'm on the waitlist for a few non-fiction books, so I expect I'll be diving into some more business- and personal growth-oriented stuff again.

And that's all I have. Michael, if you want to unmute yourself now so we can hear the pitter patter of those little feet and all about what you're reading.

MR I think he's gone elsewhere, so no pitter patter at the moment, so.

AH He's bored with you.

MR [Laughing] I can't blame him. All right. I noticed this was a pandemic-themed episode, so I think it's appropriate. I was reading this article recently from The Atlantic called "America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral." So I'm reading depressing stuff lately. I'm reading about horribly our country is managing this pandemic. [Laughing] So it's kind of what I was feeling in my gut. I think all of us are feeling this in our gut. And this article kind of -- it elegantly outlines the articulated form of what we're feeling in our gut, which is that there's just this spiral of stuff happening in our country that is just not making things better, just this -- a lack of focus on real solutions, kind of the going from one thing to another and trends up and down, the false dichotomies that we're seeing with different groups in the country, the blame going around, the theatrical comfort measures that aren't really effective necessarily, the -- like I said, just all of the push to return to "normal," which is also dangerous -- this whole -- the whole thing we're doing in this country.

So the article is a nice, sort of, validation that that dread we're feeling in our gut that we're just not handling this well is just very true and gives some validity to what we're feeling. So that's what I'm reading right now. I wish I had more positive stuff to share, but that's what I'm reading.

AH Yeah. I can only agree. [Laughing]

MR [Laughing]

AH And it's so hard too. I know you've -- you're sending your kid back to school. My kids are both back in school. One's in a hybrid situation, so she's in two days and home -- remote learning the other three. And then the little guy, he's in four days because he's in the autistic program, so he's in four days and remotes half-days on Wednesdays. And it's terrifying what we have to do, and it's terrifying how we just -- every day is so deeply uncertain. And even as I'm starting this new office, I'm like, as soon as I get my state inspection, I bet we'll have a spike and I'll get shut down, or I'll choose to stop working because of a spike even if the government doesn't shut me down. Word. So thanks for sharing that.

MR Yeah. I will say I'm encouraged that masking seems to be finally being accepted by most people. Masking seems to be the norm, so.

AH Yeah.

MR At least in my area, so at least there's that.

AH Yeah. We're getting there. I'm going to suggest that maybe you read some light fiction next. Maybe you could pick up a sci-fi story or something in the next week and just zone out to some fiction. That's my suggestion for you, Michael, not that you asked for suggestions.

MR That's a good suggestion. It probably won't happen because I just gravitate toward deep non-fiction stuff, but. [Laughing]

AH At least you watch entertaining stuff on TV though, right?

MR That's true.

AH Okay.

MR TV is like my mindless escape.

AH And let's share with everybody, since we're just huge dorks at this point, I was so excited last night to send Michael a message to tell him that the Calm app, the Calm medication app, now has a Thomas & Friends-themed meditation series for kids.

MR I saw that. Saw that.

AH [Laughing] And I've been doing that at night with the little guy, and he's super into Thomas. And even still, all day Saturday he had a Thomas-themed day. He needed a veg day, and he just watched all of his Thomas movies and read all of his Thomas books.

MR Nice.

AH The entire living room was just covered in Thomas & Friends paraphernalia and literature and such. So yeah. Everyone, if you have a kid, especially if you have a kid who's into the Thomas the Tank Engine stuff, the Calm app has a meditation -- even if you're not, if you just want some fun, chill, cheesy meditations, rock out to that.

MR So many good life lessons with Thomas & Friends.

AH So many. This is a really important podcast we're doing. [Laughing] Michael, who's our first sponsor?

MR Jojoba!

AH Yay, Jojoba! Thanks so much for being our sponsor, Jojoba.

Sponsor message The Original Jojoba Company is indeed a sponsor of this episode. I use jojoba because I think I want the highest quality products soaking into my body for several hours every week, and our clients deserve it too. It is the only company in the world that carries 100% pure, first-pressed quality jojoba. It is nonallergenic, so you can use it on any client without being concerned about some kind of allergic reaction. And I want to note that The Original Jojoba Company actually has a line of somewhat different stuff now. They've expanded out a little bit. And they've got this amazing chamomile-infused jojoba that they sent me a sample of a while back, and I finally just got a chance to start using it. They sent me a couple of different -- they sent me a few different things that they were sampling out and starting. And I used the balsam hand salve, and they have a non-balsam salve that I cannot remember the name of, of course, because I'm terrible, but the jojoba-infused oil is a delight. And we got some winter dry skin happening, and I just wanted to make sure everybody knew that they were expanding out a little bit. So you can check out their whole line of products at massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba. You can get 20% off when you shop through that link, massagebusinessblueprint.com/jojoba.

AH And that's all I've got. You should go check that out. It's really cool.

MR Good stuff. All right. I know you have a flurry of pandemic-related stuff to talk about today.

AH I do. So I said to Michael -- we were trying to figure out the title of this episode -- I'm like, well, it's just pretty much stuff that I've seen people say online and they're wrong, and he's like, okay, so every other episode -- but this is actually slightly more important than my usual rants, so I wanted to share that.

So the first thing is that in the last day or two, the CDC has officially acknowledged aerosolized spread of the coronavirus. So they have acknowledged what many experts have been saying for several months, but they needed to wait and get the data, and they have acknowledged that it can indeed spread via aerosolized droplets in the air. And I might not be using the exact correct wording of that, but I will link to the CDC statement.

MR So I thought we all knew this. Maybe I missed --

AH We did. We did, but we -- the CDC doesn't say these things out loud until they have data to link to that shows it.

MR Gotcha. Okay.

AH And I don't want to use the word "proof," but they need to have more information that this is true. They're pretty stringent about what they do and don't say. So it was interesting because then I was looking around, and I also saw an article from Nature magazine back a couple months ago that talks about a study that was published in May. I'm just going to quote it here: "A study published in May used laser-light scattering to detect droplets emitted by healthy volunteers when speaking. The study authors calculated that for SARS-CoV-2, one minute of loud speaking generates upwards of 1,000 small, virus-laden aerosols that are four micrometers in diameter that remain airborne for at least eight minutes." And that's the important stuff. So one minute of loud speaking is going to result in at least 1,000 aerosolized particles that will remain in the air for eight minutes. So with that information, they concluded that "there is a substantial probability that normal speaking causes airborne virus transmission in confined environments."

And yes, we have known a lot of this, and we've known that if we're doing massage, we should probably discourage unnecessary talking from our clients. All of us have had clients who were chatty and maybe even a little loud and chatty and really project their voice. I am someone who is a little loud and tends to project my voice, which means I'm throwing more aerosolized particles or more particles into the air, and it's hanging there for at least eight minutes. So with that foundation of knowledge that we have and we can acknowledge as truth, we need to be extra mindful.

And there's a few things I've seen online that have made me concerned that people don't quite realize certain factors. So you should be wearing a mask when you work, and you should be leaving that mask on even after your client leaves. I am seeing people talk about how they can't wait to get the mask off, so as soon as their client steps out the door, they take their mask off. And then they go into the massage room where that client and they have been breathing for an hour or more, and they're lifting up the linens and packing them up, which is going to throw more particles into the air. And those aerosols are hanging in the air for a minimum of eight minutes, so if you go right back into that massage room, there's stuff in the air. And you're moving the linens around and you're touching things, and if you don't have your mask on, that is almost as dangerous as if you were giving a massage in there without a mask at all or without your client masked at all.

So you got to keep your mask on for the cleaning. And that cleaning needs to involve folding up your linens the right way so that you're not throwing particles all over the place, opening windows, running a fan at the door, getting a whole blast of fresh air into your room. And you need to leave your mask on for all of that to be safe. At that point, you might be like, well, my client's not here, so it's fine. It's not. You're exposing yourself. You've taken all these precautions: You're using all these cleaners, you're concerned about dwell time and wiping down surfaces, and you're running your air filter. But if you're taking your mask off before you clean and change over the air in that room, you are exposing yourself. And when you expose yourself, you are exposing every client that you see after that and every person you have contact with after that. So please leave your mask on.

The only safe time that it's okay to take that mask off is if you go outside. And I know that that seems like a very strict approach, but it really matters. So be mindful of that. Consult authorities that are more intelligent than I regarding mask safety like Healwell and ABMP. But please don't take your mask off the second a client leaves the office. That's -- you're going to -- that's not good, man.

Okay. And the second part of this mask thing is that masks with valves are not okay. So if I'm wearing a mask that has a valve on it, what happens is it filters air that comes in, but then when I breathe out, that air can leave through that valve. So yeah, masks with valves are more comfortable for the wearer, but they don't do anything to protect the other people around you. They will protect you, but they won't protect the other people around you. And I'm seeing a lot of people with masks with valves.

Now, you can put a filter in that valve, but that means you got to really get to know that mask. You got to read all the manufacture instructions. You got to find out what kind of filter is going to work for that valve. And you might get a little more, I don't know, ventilation. The mask might not be as hot because it is going to let out a little bit more of the moisture from you breathing out, but it's going to filter it, so it's safer for the people around you. But if you've got a mask with a valve, you need to be super expert about that valve and what you can do to keep protecting all the other people around you. So heads up. Don't be picking out a mask with a valve unless you're willing to get super educated about it to keep other people safe. Okay. That's my mask-y, aerosolized stuff.

The second portion of this here is I'm seeing a lot of people in both national and some local discussion groups for massage therapists who get online in a panic and ask the community, oh, my God, my client from three days ago just called me and told me they got sick and tested positive. What do I do? Or oh, my God, my husband was exposed at work, so he's been told to quarantine for 14 days. What do I do? Can I go to work? Or oh, my God, my kid was exposed, or oh, my God, whatever.

You shouldn't be back to work until you have a plan for what happens because this will inevitably happen. You have to have a plan, and I mean pre-written script for phone calls, pre-written email to send your clients and talk to your clients if something like this happens. If a client calls and says they were -- they have tested positive or they were exposed, what do you do? You shouldn't be working unless you have planned for this contingency because it will likely happen to all of us over the next 6 to 12 months.

You already have to know what to do. This is like going outside using a chainsaw for the first time and not reading the manual or not -- or starting a controlled fire in your backyard and not having a fire hose -- or a garden hose ready. You have to know what you're going to do before you step foot back in that office or schedule a client. To not know what you're going to do if this very likely thing happens is just all kinds of negligence.

Anyhow, what do you do? I'm not going to tell you specifically. We will link -- there is a great ABMP blog post where they consulted an epidemiologist with the question, "I May Have Been Exposed. Now What?" And there are -- there's option one and option two. It's a very conservative measure and a less conservative precautions, and you get to decide what your protocol's going to be. I'm going to strongly suggest that you look into some information from your local health department to see what they would suggest in such a situation. But I know most people aren't going to make the effort to do that, so go to this ABMP blog post. Read it.

And then they've got a little sample language in there. But create some sample language for what you're going to say to a client and what you're going to do if a client calls and says, I just tested positive. What's your plan, and how are you going to tell clients about that? How are you -- what are the words you're going to use to say, essentially, hi, I've got to cancel your appointment for tomorrow. I'm canceling all my appointments for the next two weeks. I have a client who I saw three days ago that has just tested positive, so I'm going to take two weeks at home just to be sure that I am not infected or contagious. Great.

What are you going to say to the clients you've seen in the interim? You saw this infected client on Monday; what're you going to say to your clients you saw on Tuesday and Wednesday? And how are you going to guide them? What're you going to tell them to do? Are you going to tell them to call their local health department or have them call their health care provider to get guidance? Probably, but you want to know what you're going to say to people that you may have exposed and to people who you don't want to expose, and so you're canceling their appointments. So you shouldn't be back to work until you have this plan in place and you know what you're going to say. And I've created it for myself in the last few days because I'm going back to full-on work. And I'm kicking myself for not having that already in place because I have done a handful of home visits before I've gotten this office set up.

It's also really helpful to know the difference between isolation and quarantine. There's a really great video from a doctor in Alaska, and I am going to link to that video. It's three minutes; it's worth your time; it's going to help you understand the verbiage so that you can better create a language to talk to your own clients should you need to.

And that is it. That is my lecture. I know we don't dive into hands-on stuff or treatment-related stuff, but I felt like it was important to enter the massage room and maybe let go of some of the business stuff because this is really important. Leave your mask on when you're cleaning your room. Don't have a mask with valve; you're just asking for trouble for your clients. And have your verbiage in place if you have to isolate or quarantine or just warn people that you may have been exposed.

I'm done, Michael. What do you got to add? Anything?

MR Just that I think this fits squarely into business stuff.

AH Yeah, it does. I thought about that too.

MR Absolutely. [Laughing]

AH That occurred to me after I said it. It's communication.

MR It's all stuff that keeps your business running well.

AH Yeah. And do you want to be -- I don't want to be the massage therapist in the news that got COVID and spread it to 3 or to 5 to 12 clients. I don't want to be that person, so we got to take these things seriously.

MR Right on. All right. Thanks for that. All righty, before we move on to quick tips, let's show some love to our sponsor, Acuity.

AH Yay. Thanks, Acuity.

Sponsor message They're our software of choice. Acuity is the scheduling assistant that makes it easy for traditional businesses to also expand to become virtual businesses, if that's part of your plan. It is the business suite that takes hours of work off your plate, gives you the freedom to focus on all the other important aspects of your business or even your side hustle. From the moment clients book with you, Acuity is there to automatically send booking confirmations with your branding and messaging, deliver text reminders, let clients reschedule, pay ahead of their appointment so you're not touching their credit cards or their cash, and it makes everything run smoother. You never have to ask, what time works for you? again. Clients can just look at your schedule and book it. You can get a special 45-day free offer when you sign up today. You can use the link massagebusinessblueprint.com/acuity.

MR Thanks, Acuity.

AH Yay.

MR All right. Quick tips. Yes.

AH So my quick tip is related -- sorry, I forgot my quick tip was for a second. It is related to kind of what we've been talking about, and that is we need to avoid a twin pandemic situation, which would be massive flu infections along with coronavirus infections. That would be very bad, so get your flu shot. The best time to get your flu shot seasonally is between right now towards the end of September through the end of October. The flu shots tend to start waning in efficiency after about six months, so if you get your shot too early, it could leave you a little vulnerable in February -- at the end of January into February, so I'm going to strongly suggest that you get your flu shot if you haven't already. And if you're anti-vax, probably not the best podcast for you because we're realists here. So get your flu shot.

And also, I was reading that the best time to get your flu shot is in the morning. Your immune system has the best reaction to it in the morning. And also, I was thinking that I try to make any and all appointments where I have to go somewhere for first thing in the morning because it means less people have passed through that space. I want to be the first appointment in my dentist or doctor's office because then no one else has been there before me contaminating the air or the surfaces even though they're ventilating and cleaning surfaces really well -- anyhow, multiple reasons to make all your appointments first thing in the morning right now.

MR Great advice.

AH And I'm done with that. What do you got? Oh, I'm excited about yours. Go ahead, Michael.

MR [Laughing] Mine is pretty simple. So I have been with the big cell phone providers for a while, like AT&T and Verizon, etcetera, and they're fine, but they're expensive. And for so long, I've been thinking, well, I need to try out one of these newer, kind of budget mobile providers. There's Cricket, there's Mint Mobile, there's, I think, PureTalk. There's a bunch of them out there that basically use the same network, but they're often half the cost of the big providers. And I've never done this before because I'm always like, eh, are they really -- do they really work as well? I don't know. And so enough of my -- you -- I think you have Cricket, right, Allissa? Or one of the -- yeah.

AH Yeah, and I've been telling you about it since like a year and a half ago when I switched because they --

MR Yeah. So you've been telling me --

AH -- cut my -- more than in half.

MR Yeah. So you've been telling me about it. Some other friends have been telling me. So finally, I'm like, okay. I'm going to just finally get around to doing this. It wasn't really a high priority. So I switched to Mint Mobile over the weekend. It's a newer one. It's at mintmobile.com. I'm not endorsing them or anything. It's just one of the providers I picked. And so far, it's working really well. They have 8GB plans for $20 a month if you buy a yearly -- if you pay for it a year in advance. It's a fraction of what I was paying with AT&T, so I'm like, this is kind of an easy thing to do to help save money like a lot of us are trying to do right now, and myself included. We're trying to cut costs and keep expenses under control and be reasonable. So it's good to consider that, good to think about, hey, do you -- could you be paying less for the same service because it uses the AT&T network, or at least mine does. So yeah. So I finally made the switch, and I wanted to share that it really works. It works fine. There are some good alternatives out there to the big expensive providers that Allissa has been telling me about for two years.

AH Yeah. So you could have saved a bunch money if you listened to me a while back.

MR I could've.

AH Michael needs to hear things from me seven times and from someone else at least twice before he does it, which I respect because I just jump into things willy-nilly, and I appreciate his approach. But yeah. No, my -- I went from -- and it's just me, one line -- I went from AT&T, I was paying like $95 a month, and when I went to Cricket, it went to $35 a month. And now I actually just upgraded a little bit to do -- to be able to hotspot, and it's still only $50 a month.

MR Yeah.

AH It's bonkers how much less it is, and it's exactly the same level of service. I have not had any weirdness or trouble in a cell -- with a cell signal anywhere. So yay, I'm so glad. Welcome.

MR [Laughing] Thanks.

AH What're you going to do with that extra 50-or-whatever bucks a month, man?

MR I haven't analyzed my budget to know yet, but I don't know, so it'll go somewhere sensible, I'm sure.

AH I'll tell ya. You're going to buy me sushi. That's whatcha you're going to do with it.

MR Well, that was a given.

AH Yeah. There you go.

MR I owe you so much sushi.

AH Okay. Are we done?

MR I think we're done. [Laughing] With that, thanks for sticking with us with this episode today. We're glad you are a listener. And as always, our website is massagebusinessblueprint.com. And if you're not a member of our premium community, we really encourage you to check that out. We're getting new members joining every day, and there's a lot of really good stuff happening there.

In fact, a lot of our members are -- have been there for months, and they're just realizing, hey, we give a free blog post every month that you can use on your own website. It's completely free, so if you want to be a blogger and actually put great content on your blog for search engines and for your clients, we give you an awesome, professionally written, free blog post every month. We give you stock photos that you can use in your marketing. We give you office hours for peer mentoring and assistance and help in a community where you can post all the time and get lots of great feedback from others. It's amazing. It's really, really amazing. So if you haven't joined, check it out, massagebusinessblueprint.com. Click on Community. You can join for 30 days free to just try it out and kind of get to know people and see what you think.

So that's what I got. Thanks so much for joining us today. We appreciate you being here. Have a great day. We will see you next time.

AH Bye. 

Logo for Happyface
Logo for ABMP
Logo for Jojoba
Logo for Pure Pro Massage Products