We catch up with Anne-Marie to see how she is getting on with the new COVID rules and regulations

Friday 2nd October

Storm Alex arrives; it’s wet and windy outside, I am preparing my clinic ready for my first client today, a carer who is treating herself to some relaxing reflexology. I then get another enquiry from one of my clients wanting to book a reflexology session later today, which is great, as I do have the availability.

Monday 5th October

Today one of my clients used the QR code to check in on arrival.  However, the code didn’t scan so I don’t think it is possible to keep the code in the window – instead, I have moved it to inside the premises in the main entrance hall, and this worked well.  I am definitely getting more used to working in the ‘new way’; I am quicker with all my procedures and cleaning and it isn’t feeling as daunting as it felt when I opened my clinic a month ago.

It does concern me that the R rate is rising though, and that there are still local lockdowns around the country. The future feels quite uncertain, however, I am grateful for the bookings that I have and for the clients that are keeping in touch with me during this uncertain time. I feel that the next couple of months are going to be difficult as we approach winter, with the usual cold and flu bugs, plus now the virus to take into account.

Thursday 8th October

Two new clients booked for this afternoon, both found out about my clinic online (through Google and nextdoor.co.uk) which is great! They completed all forms when booking so I can read the medical history in advance, and also check the COVID Screening Form, so today I am ready to go; the room is set up, cleaned and the paperwork is done, I just need to take payment on arrival, which is so easy with the contactless card reader. It is definitely feeling easier now with the new processes and I am happy with how things are progressing. Ideally, I would like more bookings, but understand that some clients may feel concerned about returning for treatments at the moment especially with the news coverage that cases are increasing. However, I do know that the situation is changing daily and this won’t be forever and am doing my best to stay positive.

Friday 9th October

Some of my clients are struggling to be face down on the massage couch as it can feel claustrophobic, so I am thinking of ways to change round the sessions to avoid this feeling. Again, this is something that we didn’t have to think about pre-COVID, so a discussion with my client was needed and we agreed that reflexology with a shorter massage session would be preferable for the next session, to avoid longer periods with the client’s face in the face cradle/pillowcase set up.

Having had a massage myself using my own couch, I was ok with my set up as I had my eyes closed throughout, but I can see that a client who is prone to anxiety may find the set up difficult. I also realised that when clients change position from having reflexology to then having a back massage, just having couch roll on the couch is not enough – it moves when the client turns over and therefore the normal fabric couch cover is best used for these sessions. Couch roll direct onto the PVC couch over is fine for sessions where clients do not need to move position during their session.

Tues 13th October
More restrictions were announced last night. This is a concern and I know that this will affect many therapists, especially those with stricter restrictions to follow.

The government have also outlined more information about local COVID alert levels and what the differences are.  Businesses must operate in a COVID secure way, social distancing wil continue to be enforced as will the wearing of face coverings.

The government have also updated their info on vulnerable people and shielding although it doesn’t appear as restrictive as it was during the initial lockdown.

I am still running my clinic, but the numbers of clients are noticeably lower than last year. I see lots of elderly clients or carers and with the rate of the COVID infections increasing on a daily basis I know that my clients would rather wait until things have settled down, which I understand.

Friday 16th October
The COVID alert levels are concerning – cases in my area are rapidly increasing, I am getting very few enquiries now for massage and this is a really difficult time for therapists everywhere. Some areas of the country are on very high alert and although I am in a medium alert area, I feel that this could change at any moment. I don’t have a plan B here. I have signed up for a workshop about taking your therapy practice online so maybe that is something that might be an option in the future, should we go into a further lockdown. The future suddenly seems more uncertain.

As we follow Anne-Marie’s journey, we would love to hear your stories, too. Can you relate to Anne-Marie’s experience? Have you felt overwhelmed by the information available? What have you struggled with/? Please share in the comments and please sign up to become a member of PPH to receive industry news and updates.

We would like to stress that all information given in our COVID series is not exhaustive and while we have tried to ensure that the information provided in this document is accurate, PPH cannot be held liable for any errors or omissions. The COVID situation is constantly evolving and the information is changing on a daily basis. We urge you to closely follow your government, professional association and insurance company’s latest guidelines and updates, taking precedence over any recommendations communicated by PPH.