Safe Massage Policies and Protocols – What you need to know

Our Safe Massage Policies and Protocols are designed to help you understand the practices we take to minimise the risk of acquiring a healthcare-associated infection and to assist you in making informed decisions. 

Latest update – 1o May 2021

Best practice

Re: Vaccine rollout – Massage is contra-indicated (not to be applied) if a prospective recipient has received a vaccination within the 3 days prior to our visit.

Flu jabs – Ok to massage unless recipient feels unwell. Practitioners simply avoid the penetrated area.

At the time of writing, state and territory government information across Australia states professional massage therapy can be conducted with appropriate risk management measures in place.

Seated Massage is staying informed via government and professional industry bodies regarding the general provision of massage therapy.

Seated Massage and the therapists representing them adhere to the Association of Massage Therapists (AMT) Massage Therapy Code of Conduct, including guidelines surrounding Infection Control and Hygiene. Seated Massage is also informed by the Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS) updates on current state and territory government policy regarding the current practice of massage therapy and infection control.

All representing Seated Massage therapist partners must complete the Australian Government’s recommended COVID-19 Infection Control Training for Healthcare Workers.

Seated Massage requires every representing therapist to hold current professional indemnity insurance, a police check and first-aid certification.

Seated Massage therapists will temperature check each morning prior to leaving their residence. If at or above 37.5°c, the therapist will retest after 30 minutes. If still above 37.5ºc, the therapist will immediately self isolate.

Further helpful info

The Association of Massage Therapists Vaccination Fact Sheet provides useful information on the available vaccines and the do’s and don’ts regarding massage therapy and therapists.

The Association of Massage Therapists Covid-19 Risk Assessment examples chart. An excellent way to self assess the current risks.

Assumption of risk

The basis of safe massage protocols is to assume that everyone is potentially infectious (asymptomatic). Proper procedures including strict risk management are to be followed at all times.

Therapist testing for COVID-19 as an applied risk management measure is not required unless the therapist is showing symptoms or government requirements change in this regard or clients request testing.

Seated Massage therapists agree to be temperature checked upon arrival at each client site visit if required by the client.

Seated Massage requires their clients to ensure the safety of visiting practitioners.

Standard precautions

Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene is considered one of the primary control measures for reducing the spread of infection.

Hand hygiene is essential before and after contact with each client. To further promote hand hygiene, we encourage our therapists to keep their natural nails short and clean.

Seated Massage requires all therapists and wherever possible, all recipients to perform hand hygiene using the correct hand hygiene technique. Hand hygiene refers to any action of hand cleansing, such as handwashing with soap or hand rubbing with alcohol-based sanitiser.

Handwashing – Hands must be washed with soap and water when visibly dirty or visibly soiled and after using the toilet.

Hand rubbing – Use of an alcohol-based hand rub is the preferred means for routine hand sterilisation in situations where hands are not visibly soiled. If alcohol-based hand rub is not readily accessible, hands must be washed with soap and water.

Social distancing

Seated Massage is provided in workplaces only if recipients and the visiting therapist report as healthy and can positively answer the standard Covid-19 questions.

Maintaining physical distancing of 1.5m is not applicable due to the nature of massage therapy however as stated in this document, risk management by both parties should be strictly followed.

Safe Work Australia current information on social distancing can be viewed here.

Face masks

Adhering to the World Health Organisation recommendations and the Association of Massage Therapists guidelines, Seated Massage recommends the wearing of face masks for therapist and recipient.

Seated Massage therapists must carry and may wear cloth (highly recommended – you can purchase here) or disposable face masks. This will be determined on a client by client basis and whilst recommended, are optional.

The onus of responsibility is on the client contact, the visiting practitioner and each massage recipient on each visit day to determine if wearing a mask is applicable for both the practitioner and/or each recipient.

Multi-layered cloth masks are suitable for the allied health professional who has close contact with others, exposure to body fluids/aerosols, and is primarily an asymptomatic safety measure. Masks for therapists will be provided by the therapist and/or the client.

For fantastic info on the benefits of wearing cloth face masks, please visit this page.

Stay informed: View (and download) an A3 poster from the Association of Massage Therapists – “My mask protects you, your mask protects me”.

Handling of Used Linen

A potential risk exists for microorganism transmission through exposure to contaminated linen. Therapists are required to handle linen in a manner that minimises the transfer of microorganisms to other individuals and the environment. Linen used where direct exposure has taken place during traditional (table) massage is changed with clean linen after each single use.

‘Single-use’ items (e.g. tissues) are disposed of in a manner that minimises the transfer of microorganisms to other individuals and the environment.

No cloth linen is used for any chair massage or roving/at-desk massage sessions. Tissues/disposable covers are used, placed over the sterilised face cushion and are disposed of after each massage.

Helpful informationLaundry disinfection protocols

Equipment Cleanliness

When equipment is required to perform our service, Seated Massage therapists bear the responsibility of equipment cleanliness and sterilisation. This includes attention to the cleaning of shared reusable equipment and ensuring suitable protection where required.

Therapists are requested to routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces using cleaning and sterilising agents (alcohol-based). Disposable alcohol-based wipes or liquid steriliser  (min 70% alcohol/ethanol) should be used to clean any equipment surfaces before and during daily use.

Seated Massage agree to accommodate any reasonable equipment cleanliness requirements of the individual client as required such as the regular cleaning of door handles and other ‘touch-points’.

Acute Respiratory Hygiene

Standard practice is to cover nose and mouth with an unused tissue when coughing or sneezing. If a tissue is not readily accessible, an elbow or shoulder should be used. As mentioned, masks may be used by therapists and are also recommended for use by recipients.

To minimise the risk of transmission of infection to others, any therapist with the signs and symptoms of an acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, shortness of breath) is required to notify Seated Massage immediately. The therapists will not attend work/client sites until they are free of fever (37.5° C or greater), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines.

Therapists who become unwell, or present with the signs and symptoms of acute respiratory infection during any client site visit will separate themselves from other individuals immediately.

Therapists with an unwell family member or house-mate are required to notify Seated Massage immediately and will require a risk assessment/testing prior to returning to work.

Skin-to-Skin Contact

As stated under Hand Hygiene above, all care is taken by attending therapists to ensure their hands are kept sanitised.

Skin to skin contact occurs with permission from the recipient and can include rear of neck, scalp/head and arms. No hand massage will be conducted for the foreseeable future.

Seated Massage therapists will carry latex gloves for use only at the rare request of a recipient.

Therapists with any cuts or abrasions will cover them with a waterproof dressing in order to create a barrier to pathogens.

Presenting skin conditions: Therapists will not provide massage with any presenting skin conditions of the hands. Clients/recipients with skin conditions are requested to inform their attending therapist and generally the area affected is avoided.

Therapist personal safety

Seated Massage therapists reserve the right to refuse massage provision to any and all individuals after communication with recipients, the client contact and Seated Massage head office.

Seated Massage will only visit client sites that have infection controls in place. Other personal safety measures are listed in the information provided above.

Changes to our infection control policy

Seated Massage reserves the right to change this policy at any time. We will notify you of significant changes to our Infection Control Policy by sending a notice to your primary email address. You should periodically check this page for updates.

As the originator, this information is published expressly for our clients and therapists. Copyright Seated Massage Pty Ltd March 2020. Use without permission is strictly forbidden.

Covid related booking cancellations

Seated Massage client partners reserve the right to cancel any and all bookings made up to the day of their initial visit date as a result of lockdowns and/or border closures only. This does not include change of mind.  Covid related cancellations do not incur any financial penalty and any monies paid are refunded. For all other date change and/or cancellation information, client partners can refer to our Terms and Conditions within their booking confirmation.

Please contact us with your questions

This information was last updated on 10 May 2021