Update June 1, 2020 - The Ministry of Health (MOH), Ontario Government, and College of Massage Therapist of Ontario (CMTO) has cleared RMTs to resume work gradually to treat patients in Phase 1 Ontario reopening, with suggestion to prioritize emergency and essential patients. Decisions to return to practice are the RMTs to decide, after carefully analyzing whether the benefits of administering treatments outweighs the risk of contracting COVID-19 for both patients and the RMT. Thus, it will vary from one RMT to the next given their own circumstances (e.g., whether they/their family are high-risk individual, COVID-19 cases in their community, whether they can fulfill all the requirements placed by MOH and CMTO before resuming work (e.g., PPE and sanitation procurement and procedures, patient screening procedures, preparing clinic space, etc.).
After carefully analyzing those, I decided the time is not right yet for me to resume practice. For one, I am a high-risk individual, and it will jeopardize my family should I contract the disease (Allah forbids). Second, the number and growth of cases in GTA--Toronto in particular--is still high, and we have yet to flatten the curve. It will be too great of a risk to both you, the patient, and me than the benefit you will get from getting a massage therapy treatment :(. And since many of you, my dear patients are in their prenatal stage, trying your best to carry your baby safely to the world, it's better to be safe.
Recently after Phase 1 reopening, we've also been seeing an increase in case growth also. The work of massage therapy requires a prolonged time exposure between therapist and patient (often more than 45 min), in a closed space, without physical distancing possible during hands-on treatment. Whereas it is known that COVID-19 exposure is affected by the distance, how long the person is exposed, and whether it is a closed or open space.
It really saddens me to have to stop my practice, to stop doing something I feel very passionate about, to stop helping people alleviate their pain. But, I strongly believe there is a greater positive outcome at the end, for Allah never give a trial without it bringing a better change at the end of it.
I will reassess again every month, so stay tuned for more updates! If you are a current patient, please feel free to contact me should you have any questions about your care, or what you can do at home to help your condition or pain. Or, should you decided to get a massage therapy treatment and wonder who you should go to, also feel free to ask me, as I have great colleagues who may be able to help you.
In the meantime, stay safe, stay positive. Til we meet again. May peace be with you :) - Sulma-
Update March 24, 2020 - The College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (CMTO) expressed their position re: COVID-19 pandemic that Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) should not practice because the practice of Massage Therapy is not emergency/urgent care, as aligned by the Government of Ontario order to close all non-essential businesses and services as of 11:59 pm on Tuesday March 24, 2020 until further notice.
Dear valued patients, starting March 16, both of my clinic locations in Toronto (Acutoronto and West End Mamas) are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We decided to follow the recommendations by Public Health authorities to flatten the curve and optimize social distancing.
This means, unfortunately all booked appointments from that date on will be cancelled. In the meantime, please refer to the Ontario Government website for ongoing updates on COVID-19.
I hope everyone stay safe and diligently wash your hands and follow the updates and guides from Public Health Canada on COVID-19.
I know it's really challenging and hard when you need regular massage treatments, for your aches and pain, but hang in there. Keep doing your homecares that we discussed. We all need to commit together to fight this pandemic to flatten the curve. So know that your patience and sacrifices means a lot for the health of the community :)!
But know you are not alone :)! I will try regularly post on my social medias on health tips inshaAllah especially on what you can do at home to alleviate soft tissue (muscle, joints) pain. So stay tuned! We can do this!
Until we meet again, may peace be upon you.