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Your governor is not a massage therapist.

April 21, 20202 min read

Hello, my massage therapist friends.

This is so, so hard.

You want to work again.

You miss your clients.

You're worried about making ends meet.

These things are true.

Another thing that's true is that your governor is not a massage therapist. Your governor doesn't know what you know about how you work and how you can't possibly do your job while keeping social distance.

Your governor doesn't know that you can't reasonably screen your clients to prevent the spread of infection. It's actually your job to know these things. 

Your governor's "okay" to return to work is the equivalent of a doctors' scrip that says "massage is okay" (and yes, we've all received "prescriptions" like this) for a patient/client with a circulatory condition or cancer or multiple sclerosis or any of a hundred other conditions for which you cannot ethically abdicate your responsibility to do what is safest.

Your personal financial need and broken heart do not change the very contagious and very unknown realities of COVID-19.

Please care enough about your clients to not be another source of possible infection for them while we still don't fully understand what there is to be understood about this new virus.

If you need money, do something else for work until you can safely massage again. Then? When it's safe? Come back and do it with a clean conscience and some money in the bank. Don't let your personal stress and financial need compromise what you know is right. Listen to the internal stories about how you can't be anything but a massage therapist or about how "I'm not a receptionist" or "I'm not a copyeditor" or "I'm not a remote bank teller." and then hear the wiser, deeper voice that says, "I'm a deeply caring person who wants, more than anything, to be part of the solution."

Do. No. Harm.

This is a truly sacred oath, my friends. Please take it seriously. We are resourceful and creative. We can make money and we can make a difference in many ways until it's time to safely go back to massage.

Private practice and spa and clinic therapists would be classified by OSHA as "medium risk" and our hospital-based friends would be classified as "high risk." We can't just "go back" to work. There's a serious burden of hygiene and client protection that was not there before. 

None of us are up to it yet. Trust me.

If you think you're ready to go back to work, read these OSHA guidelines.

When you're done reading, search your conscience and then ask yourself, "Is this worth a human life?" Better yet, ask each and every person you massage if that person is willing to die for this massage. 

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Cal Cates

Cal is one of Healwell’s founders and its Executive Director. Cal speaks around the world on a variety of topics related to integrative medicine, emotional self-care for practitioners and the mechanics and politics of introducing massage therapy into clinical settings. They have been participating in research, teaching and developing curriculum for massage therapy courses focused on hospital-based practice, oncology massage and end of life care since 2007. Cal is passionate about elevating the profession of massage therapy and also about broader and more seamless integration of massage therapists into mainstream healthcare.

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