Well, October wasn't a great month for us.
I got a cold and was out for almost a week. It wasn't Covid (I tested!); it was just a cold I often get in the fall, but I had to cancel massage because I didn't want to share. Then I was on vacation after a family wedding in D.C. We were masked the whole time in D.C. (with the exception of the wedding at the beginning of the week). We had a good time together seeing family and then some of the many great things there are in D.C. We even ate lunch at restaurants again—outside still, but yeah!
The Monday after we got back, John was feeling "puny," as they say in the south. Fortunately, he slept in the guest room the next two nights even though he tested negative for Covid early on (too early, it turns out). But then he tested positive Wednesday morning and moved to the basement where he's been for 9 days now. (It's a great basement, pretty much its own little apartment where he’s been working all week, so he’s ok.) Friday, October 28, will be day 10 when he can come out of quarantine. His is a mild case, thanks be to God and immunology! But it's a baffling one, because we were practically joined at the hip during vacation, and he got it, but I didn't. The only thing we can figure is that perhaps he picked it up at the Holocaust Museum on our last Friday because that's the only time we were separated that week. Even though he was masked, he was somehow exposed. Who knows? He could have walked through someone’s Covid-positive exhalation stream while walking on the Mall after he left the museum to come meet me at the National Gallery. It's a mystery.
Since I'd unknowingly been exposed through him, though, I immediately cancelled my life and holed up in quarantine. I was very tired a couple of days and did everything I could to boost my immunity--resting, cleaning, and cooking lots of soup. And somehow, I never got it. Other than the fatigue for a couple of days, which, face it, could have been stress, I experienced no symptoms. I've tested negative twice now in accordance with CDC standards for healthcare workers, so it looks like I wasn't exposed to enough of a viral load for it to have gotten past my boosted immune system. Again, thanks be to God!
So I could finally resume massage a few days ago. But I've waited a few more days to be sure. If you want to reschedule for your own feelings of safety, please do. If you were one of the ones whose massage got cancelled and are in pain, text me (513-909-4232) with times you CANNOT get a massage and let's get you scheduled asap. My schedule was already pretty full, so now it's a mess. Bear with me as I try to get everyone in. Let me know the level of pain you're in so I can prioritize, too.
Argh! I think this is just how life is going to be now. We will continue to mask and do all we've been doing to keep you and your loved ones safe during your massage. As I've always said, I'd rather give up my practice than inadvertently hurt someone or their loved ones with an illness of any kind, including the flu.
If you've not gotten the new bi-valent Covid booster, I encourage you to do so. And get your flu shot. The flu's been waiting for its comeback with a vengeance for a couple of years now. If you're interested in my immune-boosting protocol that may have worked (who knows?), here it is.
Now let's get back to work alleviating your pain!
In the paramount interest of safety, I’ve made the decision NOT to practice at least during the month of January, and possibly into February. Ohio is already one of the places where the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 is rampant, and holiday visits are probably going to result in a Covid surge in the upcoming weeks. Right now, there are over 189,000 new cases being reported in the United States each day, and who knows how many are not being reported. While all of my clients are vaccinated and most are boosted, each of us could become unwitting carriers of this strand of the virus that could kill someone with whom we come in contact who is not/cannot be vaccinated. We’ve all seen various people during the holidays, and I have a pregnant daughter whom I need to help move in the next couple weeks. I won't risk harm to her and my grandbaby, just as I won't risk harming you and yours.
My next door neighbor, whom I saw from a distance outside while walking the dog a few days ago, reported that she had Covid, which surprised her because “I’ve had much worse colds!” Omicron can be so mild for those of us who’ve been vaccinated that we can think we just had a bit of a scratchy throat and congestion, which, honestly, I’d think was due to eating something during this season that I was reacting to, which commonly happens for those with food sensitivities. Despite lesser symptoms that may occur for some, it’s not clear what the long-term effects will be even so. And we know that some people, even those who’ve been vaccinated and boosted, including those who’ve had COVID, can get a serious case of another variant. There is still too much we don’t know about this mysterious new disease that affects different people in seemingly random ways to take risks.
So in the interest of public health, I’m not doing massage in January. I’ll be contacting you to reschedule in February. In the meantime, here’s a reminder of what we do know that works to mitigate the disease, something we’ve been hearing over and over, but with some updates:
Thank you for the personal sacrifices you’re making to keep others safe. Meanwhile, you can find some tips for self-care during this month by clicking on the Self-Care category to the right on this blog, and here’s a pelvis reset that you can do on your own.
If you need to see another massage therapist, consider Medical Massage Associates. Avoid massage chains because of the number of people they serve. While there are good therapists there, it's just not as safe a setting, and the turnaround time can be a problem.
So until I see you again, stay safe and keep on your healing path. Just lying down and breathing deeply for 15 minutes can relax your muscles. And here are some guided meditations that you might find helpful. I look forward to meeting you there soon in the new year.
At this point, I’m waiting to see about what reliable studies say regarding the efficacy of the vaccines and boosters to quell the new omicron variant of SARS-CoV2 to decide about how best to practice massage during this winter. Although I’m booked well into January at this point, this is just a heads-up that there might have to be some closures this winter.
Thanks to the responsibility of such good clients, we’ve stayed safe so far, but more massage therapists are getting COVID despite being vaccinated. A few of you have had to cancel your massage due to the possibility of having been exposed to COVID, and you were so good to let me know. You’ve been willing to sacrifice your own comfort by foregoing a massage, and I applaud you for your care of others. .
I have to think about the little ones you’re all responsible for who can’t be vaccinated and for the immunocompromised, so I err on the side of caution always. I don’t see anyone who says they haven't been vaccinated, though I will be asking to see the card now, so bring it next time. I’m encouraging us to all get a booster after six months. Most of you have. Here’s proof of mine.
For Our Continued Safety:
I see no more than two people each day. We continue safe ventilation and filtration of the air, mask, and, of course, wipe everything down with sanitizing wipes and/or cleaners. After doing a bit more of the latest research, I’ll be working on getting the air exchange rate more safe.
If you don’t feel safe coming for massage, cancel without worry of ever being charged. If there’s even a slight possibility that you might have been exposed to COVID or anything else that’s contagious, let me know and we’ll reschedule your massage for when it’s safe.
For now, if you’ve done any air travel, wait two weeks before getting a massage. It sucks, but this may have to be our new normal for now. And if you spend the holidays with those who aren’t vaccinated, wait two weeks after parting from them before getting a massage.
“What if I can produce a negative test?” you might ask. I’m not relying on testing because the tests aren’t always reliable. We can be exposed and carry the virus and give it to others for three days before it shows up on a positive test. This nasty little fact is why this virus is so virulent. A negative COVID test isn’t that helpful for our purposes.
If you contract COVID, you may be waiting a long time before your next massage. Drs. and scientists are in disagreement over when, and even if, it’s safe to get a massage after COVID. Blood clots are a problem for a long time afterwards, and there’s a possibility that a deep tissue massage could dislodge them with dire consequences. It’s quite possible that you will need to be careful when getting a massage for the rest of your life, so be sure to tell any massage therapist that you’ve had COVID; it could save your life. If you get COVID, it doesn’t mean I won’t see you. It just means we’ll need to have some conversations about when it’s safe for not just you, but also for the most vulnerable of our population.
BOTTOM LINE: WE HAVE TO BE DOG HONEST WITH ONE ANOTHER DURING THIS TIME.
And speaking of dogs, you’ve been asking to see our new puppy, so let’s end on a happy note. Here’s Marty:
Folks have been asking me about CBD oil, which is now legal for massage in Ohio, so it's time to give you some information on where to find quality product.
Kygirlcbd.com is my recommendation for where to get quality CBD oil. It is locally sourced from northern Kentucky by an organic gardener who does healing rooftop gardens for hospitals. As a gardener who's suffered from chronic pain, she was always on the lookout for relief, and had amazing results with CBD oil. She went into business with a farmer who's been farming hemp in accord with practices from when Kentucky was a major producer of hemp during World War II.
After some research on essential oils that have proven antibiotic, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-microbial (parasites included) properties, I decided to mix up my own blend of oils to help mitigate against these nasties. Some of you have been asking what the blend was that I was using for massage before closing, so here’s the recipe. Is it effective? I honestly don’t know. But between this and using ViraClear (or V Clear EPS 7630, its new name) at the first inkling that I might be getting sick, I’ve cut the number of colds and flu I get to one a year. This blend cannot hurt you as long as you don’t drink it. Here’s the recipe I use, which includes the ingredients used in the Middle Ages to ward off the bubonic plague.
Well, here's some good news! Oxford has begun human trials of a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2. Researchers are 80% sure it will work and hope that it will be ready by September of 2020. You can read about it here.
We’re seeing the stirrings of people wanting to get back to work after our quarantine has flattened the curve in Ohio. While we may have helped health care workers not be overwhelmed by the number of cases they have to deal with at once, this virus is not going away any time soon. Some of my colleagues in massage therapy are talking about reopening and what measures they’ll be putting in place to sanitize their rooms between clients, which many of us were already doing anyway.
It is still too early for me to feel like I can reopen anytime soon. We are discovering that many people are carrying antibodies for this novel corona virus who were completely asymptomatic. They never knew they had the virus. Then again, questions remain whether or not these tests are accurate. It’s a mystery as to why some people exposed to the virus experience no symptoms, while others end up a few days after exposure fighting for their lives.
Implicit in the last blog post is an understanding that physical pain comes attached with certain emotions and thoughts that are unique to the individual, depending upon their past experiences and situations that are still affecting the present. Often, we are oblivious to these subconscious processes that keep us bound in the past with its pain.
The good news is that, with intentional work, we can uncover the thoughts and narratives we have surrounding our pain.
In the last blog post, we talked about the physical input of pain gathered from our tissues and how pain is not processed in the damaged or diseased tissue itself, but in the fascia where the receptors of the nervous system reside.
Input of pain from receptors of damaged tissue is also mixed with other input in our nervous system from our thoughts, emotions, and memories of past experiences. In fact, these are the filters through which we process the physical pain, which accounts for how widely we experience what should be the same amount of pain for the same physical injury
Teresa Eisenlohr is a licensed massage therapist who's also an ordained Presbyterian pastor with a Ph.D. in Christian theology. Needless to say, it's been a weird and interesting healing journey.