What to consider if you want to get a massage amid COVID-19

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Studies have shown that the changes experienced during the coronavirus pandemic has led to stress and anxiety among the general public. In usual times, a massage would be one of the ways people may seek to relieve some tension.

But the pandemic isn’t showing signs of slowing down.

Researchers have said it could take up to two years to subside but as people resume normal activities with health and safety in mind, what ways could you safely get a massage?

HuffPost reported that when considering whether or not to take part in any activity, experts advise considering the risk. Certain individuals have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. If you fall into that category, it’s best to minimize close contact with others.

However, if you decide a massage is the best way for you to ease your mind and body, experts say you can take precautions to lower your chances of infection. Still, the risk remains.

“You can minimize risk so it’s relatively safe, but you can never drive risk down to zero,” he says. “Everyone has to be wearing masks—good masks—and wearing them properly," Dr. Thomas Russo, a professor and chief of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo told Health. "That’s an absolute mandatory aspect of this or any sort of indoor activity.”

Here’s how you can get a massage while keeping your health and safety in mind, according to HuffPost.

Always wear a face mask

The coronavirus is spread through respiratory droplets expelled when talking, coughing or sneezing, for example. If someone is close to you during a massage, it’s possible to come in contact with those droplets.

“If someone who was infected with COVID-19 left respiratory droplets on the massage table an hour or two before your massage, you could theoretically catch it if the table was not cleaned in between clients,” Dr. Michelle L. Dossett, MPH, an assistant professor of general internal medicine at UC Davis Health, told Healthline. “That said, professional societies and public health guidelines are recommending that massage therapists and acupuncturists do clean table surfaces between clients.”

Any services that require you to remove your mask should be skipped, too.

Choose a location that decreases exposure

Typically, you may visit a spa to get a massage, but experts say if you can have the massage therapist come to your home, it would be a better option.

“Corporate massage chains have put in place a lot of different measures that are not going to be present if you’re getting a home massage,” infectious disease expert and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security Dr. Amesh A. Adalja told Health. “But having a massage at home means you won’t have to be in a waiting room, around other people.”

If you can have your appointment in the open air, even better.

Noted Dr. Richard Watkins, an infectious disease physician in Akron, Ohio, and a professor of internal medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University, “[i]deally, have it done outdoors."

Think about avoiding essential oils

Deep breathing with essential oils can help calm you, but that’s not advisable amid the pandemic. Since respiratory droplets one of the main ways the coronavirus spreads, inhaling isn’t advisable.

Feeling sick? Skip a massage

Symptoms are not always present if you have the coronavirus, but if you are feeling under the weather — from the cold, flu coronavirus or any illness — you should not get a massage.

“As tempting as it is to seek out things that make you feel better when you’re sick, the definite answer is to completely avoid going for a massage—or any other personal care treatments (i.e., hair salon, nail salon, physical therapy, etc.)—when you’re sick,” Dr. Maya Heinert, Sacramento, California-based pediatric emergency medicine physician and spokesperson for RxSaver told Shape.