Debbie Peeples — Board Member
I wanted to let you know how things are going here in Houston five months since COVID-19 turned the whole world upside down. We in the massage industry were growing antsy during the lockdown. We didn’t know how Covid-19 was going to affect a profession where our job is providing touch, and being 6 feet away from the client isn’t possible. Yet, we found ourselves being mandated by the governor telling us we couldn’t work. We understood. But we wondered how the bills would be paid, how would I keep my business open, what will this do to the industry, and how long will this last? Some were fortunate and were able to file for temporary unemployment benefits, receiving a forgivable small business loan, or other assistance. For some, it meant re-strategizing their entire way of supporting themselves and their loved ones. Because we knew one thing about this pandemic, and that was that nothing would be the same and that we didn’t know anything.
We sat and waited. We took online CEUs even though TDLR said they’d waive them. We sought out solace in a world where you had to stand 6 feet away from each other, where everyone’s face is hiding behind a mask, and we learned how to navigate in this brave, new world.
Now here we are. Our doors have reopened. Our clients hesitantly returned. Some very eagerly. Some needed coaxing. But all of them needed reassurance that we were coming back the right way. The right way meaning we were prepared for the stringent standards of cleaning, and providing a safe space to receive treatment. People need massage now more than ever. The world needs touch therapy. But we needed to be safe about it. We need to learn how to give people what they need from a profession that we chose to enter because we are passionate about it and believe in it. Thankfully, the massage community has always been about helping one another. Leaders in the industry shared their knowledge of how to safely provide our clients with the care they need. In a way, it brought us all closer together.
We’re all still learning how to not just survive, but also thrive, in these strange and interesting times. That is one thing every person on the planet has in common. As massage therapists and body workers, it’s in our nature to comfort and care. We’ll keep learning the best ways to care for our clients and each other in these strange days.
Strange days indeed.
Debbie I. Peeples, LMT
Texas Licensed Massage Therapy Instructor
Board Member, Texas Chapter, American Massage Therapy Association