Working During the Second National Lockdown
I spent the weeks after the announcement of the second national lockdown in various meetings with my Massage School (Jing Advanced Massage & Training), representatives of various Professional Associations, the CNHC (Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council) and my Insurance Company (Balens Ltd) to clarify my position as a massage therapist.
Under the first lockdown it was simple – as a close contact worker I could not work. However, under this second lockdown some professions are considered allied healthcare workers (dentists, opticians, physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, chiropodists, podiatrists etc) and can work to treat minor but urgent clinical cases to ease the burden on the NHS.
The confusion was that massage therapists were not specifically referred to in the initial Government legislation. Instead, the only reference to massage was the outdated and somewhat ambiguous term “massage parlours” required to be closed. However, these have nothing to do with professional and clinical massage therapists, we don’t run “parlours”. They clearly refer to a completely different industry that we are not associated with.
The government’s strange insistence on using this term was cleared up for us in the first few days of the second national lockdown by Yvonne Blake of the Association of Soft Tissue Therapists (formally the Sports Massage Association). It appears that the legislation had been based on the trading professions categorised by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) from the 1980s – and back then clinical massage as a degree level profession did not exist. Massage therapists tended to be in the beauty industry with training provided up to level 3 for relaxation treatments. This can, of course, play a massive part in a client’s well-being, but was not part of treatment for clinical reasons.
As a Jing Method Therapist I work to reduce chronic pain and stress, and increase range of motion and my client’s well-being as part of a biopsychosocial model of pain and modern neuroscience
Since then a lot has changed with massage therapists now able to train over many years to degree level with professional standards, CPD and regulation. We treat clients for a wide range of physical, mental heath and psychological conditions, injuries and illnesses. As a Jing Method Therapist I work to reduce chronic pain and stress, and increase range of motion and my client’s well-being as part of a biopsychosocial model of pain and modern neuroscience. We work alongside fellow healthcare professionals such as physiotherapists and are recognised as a vital part of supporting the national healthcare system. In my career I have worked in several physiotherapy and osteopathy clinics before setting up my private practice. I also work with charities and the NHS to provide treatment for clients with conditions as wide ranging as rotator cuff injuries to depression and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
So I’m very happy to say that due to some amazing behind-the-scenes work and lobbying of the ONS by Yvonne and the CNHC, clinical massage therapists qualified to part or full degree level (Levels 4, 5 & 6) have been recategorised and are now recognised as able to treat clients during lockdown as qualified healthcare practitioners.
Levels of Massage Therapy
Just to clarify what the levels of Massage Therapy are, as it’s useful to know:
Level 2: equivalent to school GCSE and offered for beauty therapy massage
Level 3: equivalent to a school ‘A’ Level, this teaches you to give a routine massage treatment for sport, relaxation, beauty or similar
Level 4: equivalent to a BTEC Professional Diploma level or University Entry standard, this teaches some more advanced techniques which can help in the recovery of common injuries
Level 5: equivalent to a University Undergraduate, on this level will you learn how to assess, treat and rehabilitate a wide range of injuries. You can also work in hospitals, for the NHS and GP surgeries depending on your level of experience
Level 6 BTEC: equivalent to University degree level and currently only offered by Jing Advanced Massage & Training. This is highest level of training, 4 years of study at degree level and the same as physiotherapists etc
Face To Face Treatments
As a Level 5 Clinical Massage Therapist I’m qualified to treat a wide range of injuries and conditions and am currently working with the NHS for online self care therapy. I am also able to see clients for face-to-face treatments if there is a clinical physical or mental health need as per the latest Government Guidance on Personal Care facilities and close contact services.
As we are in the middle of a pandemic and lockdown my main aim as both a caring and professional therapist is that you are all as safe as possible. As such any treatments during lockdown can be can be face-to-face if following the Government Guidance:
- Clinical massage therapy only (not relaxation etc)
- Clients must have a clear, clinical physical or mental health need (not just want) for treatment
e.g. injury, acute pain/pain relief, serious mental health requirement etc
- Treatment is required during lockdown and the client is unable to wait until it is lifted
- Other treatment types are unsuitable e.g. online self care therapy
- Full covid screening and protocols will apply as usual including online consultation and aftercare
- Treatment time: maximum of 45 minutes
- Full PPE to be worn: for me KN95 mask, visor, apron and gloves, and a mask worn by the client
- Access: clients will need to enter/leave via the front door and go straight to the treatment room without going through the house
If during lockdown you would like to see me or have any queries about having a face-to-face treatment please
Online Self Care Therapy
Choosing to have Online Self Care Therapy is an effective and Covid-safe way to receive treatment from me during lockdown. I am already offering online self care sessions for physical conditions and mental health issues for the NHS (North Kensington GP and Community Living Well) and am happy to do so for you too.
This method was developed and pioneered during the Covid pandemic for those restricted by lockdowns, shielding, at a distance or unable to visit in person. Self Care Therapy empowers clients to help themselves with expert guidance using specific online methods and techniques to allow relief from acute or chronic pain, improve mobility and assist with reducing stress or promoting relaxation. My online wellness sessions offer a full consultation to focus on your specific needs, and can include range of motion and orthopaedic testing if required. Sessions can include:
- self-care advice
- hot/cold therapy
- how to find and treat trigger points
- mindfulness and meditation practices
- breath work
These specialised online treatments draw on my advanced clinical massage, anatomy and physio knowledge and are designed to work over a series of sessions. Through these I can help you to achieve lasting results and put together a self-care practice for you to follow. Please contact me to book or ask any questions
Working After the Lockdown – Booking in December
I anticipate being back to full time work as soon as I can and am already taking bookings in December. Please note that compared to my pre-covid practice I will now be working on specific days and times to stagger client booking, allow time for proper ventilation between treatments and days in between face-to-face treatments for full laundering and online consultations/aftercare. If you would like to book a treatment, or have any questions, please contact me – I am here to help and support you as much as I can.