Chief Medical Officer of Health – Directive for Healthcare Providers
On March 16, 2020, our regulatory body, the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) strongly recommended that Massage Therapists shut down our clinics. Yesterday, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health issued a formal directive to healthcare providers pursuant to the Health Protection and Promotion Act ordering that all non-essential and elective services be ceased or reduced to minimal levels until further notice, Given the increased risk of contracting and transmitting Covid-19, a potentially life threatening virus, I made the painful decision to shut down my clinic until the government says it is again safe to provide massage therapy. All March appointments were rescheduled to April. For those of you who have upcoming appointments in April I will be calling you closer to your appointment time to either confirm your appointments or reschedule depending on if the Chief Medical Officer of Ontario directive is still in force.
What is Essential Massage Treatment
The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario defines essential massage treatment as "the rare case where the client’s health or function would considerably decline if treatment were not provided. The Chief Medical Officer of Health in Ontario has directed that the only allowable exceptions are for time sensitive circumstances to avert or avoid negative client outcomes or situations that would have a direct impact on the safety of clients." If you feel that this circumstance applies to you, please call me at (905) 616-7588 to discuss if I can safely provide you with massage treatment.
When is it not safe to have a massage even if it is Essential Massage Treatment
If you do need essential massage treatment, I will call you before your appointment to ask you if in the last 14 days you have had:
- fever (over 38 degrees Celcius)
- runny nose
- shortness of breath
- travel outside of Canada or contact with anyone who has travelled outside of Canada
- contact with anyone diagnosed with Covid-19
If the answer is "yes" to any of the above then I will not be able to give you a massage even if it is essential massage treatment. Please contact your doctor.
Coping with stress and anxiety
On a more positive note I would like to share strategies to help manage your stress and anxiety. These tips are reprinted from part of a CAMH article at http://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-health-and-covid-19#coping. Please visit this site for additional strategies.
The COVID-19 pandemic can cause stress and anxiety because it is disrupting normal life for many people all at once. While it is important to be informed and to take action to limit the spread of infection, the amount of information and attention on this topic can increase stress and anxiety.
Strategies to maintain your mental wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic
What has worked for you before that helps manage your stress and anxiety? Many of those strategies you can still rely on. One challenge is that the response to pandemics can disrupt routines; people may stop the activities they use to keep well (e.g., exercise) and engage in activities that can make things worse (e.g., drink more alcohol).
Here are some ideas that might be helpful. Some might apply to you and some might not – or they may need to be adapted to suit you personally, your personality, where and with whom you live, or your culture. Please be creative and experiment with these ideas and strategies.
Accept that some anxiety and fear is normal
COVID-19 is a new virus and we are still learning about it. The uncertainty about the virus and the changes that are unfolding can make most people feel a bit anxious. This is normal, and it actually can help motivate us to take action to protect ourselves and others, and to learn more about the pandemic.
Seek credible information
Stay informed by checking information provided by experts and credible sources. A lot of information is disseminated about COVID-19 every day, but not all of it is accurate. Some reliable sources include:
Avoid unfamiliar websites, or online discussion groups where people post information from non-credible sources or share stories which may or may not be true. Be wary of what is posted on social media, and always consider the reliability of information you see on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Bring an intentional mindset to unplugging
Set aside some time to unplug from all electronics, including phone, tablets and computers. Disconnect for a while from social media outlets. You may need to schedule this to make sure it happens.
Do something fun and healthy for yourself instead (e.g., read, work, exercise).
Deal with problems in a structured way
All the issues you might need to address during this pandemic situation may feel overwhelming. It can be useful to identify which things are actually problems that need to be solved or addressed, and which are just worries that are not necessarily grounded in reality. Click here for some steps you can take to resolve issues that come up for you.
Remember that you are resilient and be careful with the "What ifs"
Our stress and anxiety generally cause us to focus on negatives and trigger “What if” questions, such as “How will I cope if I get sick?” or “How will I manage if I have to self-isolate?” They can also drive us to think about worst case scenarios.
In stressful situations, people often overestimate how bad the situation can get, but underestimate how well they will be able to cope. People are resilient and have coping skills they use every day.
Think of difficult or challenging situations you have an encountered that you were able to manage. Even if things weren’t perfect, what did you do to cope with the situation?
Remind yourself that you can handle stress and that if you feel you need support, you can reach out to family, friends, colleagues or professionals.
Remember our collective resources – from excellent health care and public health response systems to strong and resilient communities. Try to replace catastrophic thoughts with something like, "This is definitely a difficult time, but we will get through it together."
Don’t underestimate what you are able to do when faced with challenges.
Get proper rest and sleep
Getting enough sleep can both help reduce the amount of stress we experience and prepare us to better manage stress. Here are some quick strategies to help you get a good night’s sleep.
Keep a consistent sleep schedule. This means going to bed and getting up at the same time each day (including weekends).
Practice relaxation or meditation before bedtime.
Schedule physical activity for earlier in the day.
Practice sleep hygiene: keep your bedroom cool, avoid any light in your room, use your bed for sleep (not reading, watching TV, using your phone, etc.), and get out of bed if you don’t fall asleep after half an hour).
Talk to your doctor if these strategies don’t work — there may be other issues affecting your sleep.
If you drink caffeine or alcohol, avoid them late in the day.
Avoid naps during the day if these interrupt your sleep at night.
Be kind to yourself
The strategies mentioned here can take some time to work. We need to practise them regularly and in different situations. Don’t be hard on yourself if you forget to do something or if you are not feeling better right away.