Massage and Viruses: How Your Session is Affected

woman in robe blowing nose

It doesn’t matter who has a fever, cough, runny nose, headache – any virus: giving or receiving a Massage Therapy session is not safe. In fact, it is a contraindication for several reasons, not the least being the transmission of a virus from the infected person to a healthy person. Another not-so-obvious reason is that – when massage is applied to a person feeling under the weather – symptoms can actually be elevated in severity or frequency. Finally, most people feeling blah and fog-headed won’t particularly enjoy the massage.

The developing, novel viral outbreak in the U.S., Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an emerging concern for world health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), and, in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Right Now…and Always: It is a very real concern for people that are worried about acquiring the virus – no one wants to be sick or pass it on to another high-risk person they come in contact with while they themselves are showing or not showing any symptoms. With symptoms and outcomes similar to seasonal influenza, people in the U.S. and abroad are reminded of sanitation procedures that have always been effective at preventing the spread and contraction of a virus.

Awareness is key, and being aware of your own health status is paramount during a pandemic. Early detection can be live-saving – there is no biological cure except, as with traditional influenza, through your body’s natural defenses. Populations at high-risk should be ultra-aware regarding their own health status and coming in physical contact (by touching mucous-membranes or breathing [aerosol] space) with others and seek medical advice and assistance, when appropriate. If you believe you may be exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, do a CDC-mediated Coronavirus Self-Assessment.

Prevention is the area in which Hands In Motion is and always has been committed to employing all the best practices for avoiding passing along a virus. Although massage therapists are not universally considered or perceived as healthcare workers, there are many assurances, mandated by Nevada law presently and in perpetuity, that assure the safety of the public – especially when it comes to sanitation and prevention of transmitting viruses and bacteria.

Hands In Motion’s/David’s Responsibility: In an asymptomatic world, health-safety practices during an awareness campaign as we’re experiencing (as of February 2020) are reinforced, so listing Hands In Motion’s professionally-mandated and personal health-safety practices are:


  • Body Hygiene –
    • fingers – regularly keeps nails short and clean of debris under the nail-tips, per CDC Nail Hygiene guidelines,
    • hands – hand-washes with client-supplied soap in water, before and after each client-session, in this fashion,
    • body – showers, daily;
  • Clothing – wears clean clothing washed in hot water w/ sulfate-free, fragrance-free laundry detergent;


  • Linens – have a one-time use (per client) lifespan before (for re-use) they are washed in hot water w/ sulfate-free, fragrance-free laundry detergent, and transported pursuant to my profession’s Nevada Administrative Code (NACs 640C);
  • Equipment – table/chair are of high-quality design and materials, diverse Specifications, and kept in excellent repair to avoid aggregation of bacteria or viruses, pursuant to my profession’s Nevada Administrative Code (NACs 640C);
  • Cleaners – uses an EPA-approved Disinfectant (EPA# 5813-100) : 10% Clorox Bleach & water for cleaning surfaces with which clients and David come in contact. Recently, the EPA has expanded the list of Disinfectants rated to eliminate COVID-19 in anywhere from 1-10 minutes Time, including this 10% bleach solution. The availability of [updated] Disinfectants effective again COVID-19 on this list is based on a similar virus, SARS COV-2.
  • Watch a video-demonstration of Hands In Motion’s Sanitization Protocol.
What to expect from HIM when David comes to you for your massage therapy session

But…is David sick? Without precise testing, no one can say definitively whether a person has a virus or not. David is super-vigilant when it comes to my being in contact with other people when David has symptoms of being ill [with a virus]. Viruses typically are accompanied by our body’s defense-response of a fever. David has always tried to keep his immune system best-prepared for any viral invaders, and the initial feelings of unexplained grogginess or crappiness, especially that affect his ability to concentrate, are dealt with swiftly to assure a [perceived, anyway] shortened period of anticipated or real sickness – David’s clients are rescheduled as soon as possible when this is the situation, so if you are within his physical proximity: No, David is not sick.

My Client’s Responsibility: You are an important source of health-safety for receiving therapeutic massage from David/HIM – the cleanliness of your own home, office, or hotel a super-important factor in the transmission of viruses – please check the CDC’s recommendations for keeping your home as bacteria- and virus-free as possible.

Also, and until Nevada’s State Of Emergency is terminated, David will be requiring his clients be educated through an Addendum to his base-Client Intake Form – you may review it here.

Since HIM Is A Mobile Service: This does beg the question of letting David into your home – As always, I will never come to your home with a suspected, transmittable virus or bacteria…and I am certainly hyper-conscious during this unsure time in our state. It all comes down to whether 1) you trust me to be virus-free, and 2) I trust you and your home to be virus-free. I choose to trust your knowledge, awareness, and actions in keeping yourself and your family healthy and your home a healthy environment.

Clients With Symptoms: Reschedule your appointment with HIM – if you are flu- or other virus-symptomatic, your consideration for your own recovery and prevention of communicating that potential virus is seriously appreciated. Plus, getting a massage while your not well can make you feel worse (symptoms heighten), not to mention may just not feel all that great. Letting HIM know as soon as possible (even at the last minute) is greatly respected and appreciated – rescheduling is easy.

Cancellation policies – Hands In Motion has always been sensitive to reasons clients may cancel their massages ‘at the last minute’ – David does not want to be exposed to a potential virus that a client may be carrying, so he encourages clients to be as vigilant as he is when determining, as soon as possible (preferably outside the immediate 24 hours preceding a massage appointment), and SUPER-appreciates that clients canceling due to sickness are communicating that situation – and although David hopes to be asymptomatic if he comes in contact with a virus-infected person (knowingly or unknowingly), he also does not want to transmit that virus to another person. David has always and will continue to contact his clients and cancel outside 24 hours of their appointments because of his potential contagiousness – with any ‘under 24-hour cancellations’ he initiates, David upholds his policy of your rescheduled massage therapy session being free – David respects your time, as well.

physio scapular work

Bottom Line: Massage Therapy employs physical touch and close social interaction as its functional, therapeutic nature and essence. The benefits of massage therapy in a low-risk environment is what Hands In Motion, for the past 18 years and continuously, strives to facilitate with every client-interaction. Awareness and respect for you and your health are always paramount at Hands In Motion.
If the positive effects of touch and the employ of massage therapy techniques to get you healthier are what you want or need, David looks forward to working with you to achieve your health and wellness goals!