In Which We Say No to Massage Requests

April 12, 2020  |  Comments are off

This week someone called to schedule a massage. I explained we were closed for their protection and ours, and that our state has barred massage therapy along with other nonessential in-person work.

That’s right: massage therapy is not essential, not in the way getting medical care and groceries are.


We understand wanting and needing a massage, especially in these times. Our hearts and hands yearn to offer this comfort.

But we will not.

When I asked the caller their goal for getting a massage, they said relaxation. They were not interested in my suggestions for safe ways to relax. They said they’d call someone else, even saying, “Plenty of people will defy that order to make some money right now.”

We are among those who suddenly have no income. We still say no.

Please don’t ask massage therapists and bodyworkers to treat you in this moment of our world. When requests for massage come—and they will—I dearly hope no massage therapist will agree. To do so would be unethical and potentially life-threatening.

Touch is essential, but not in the ways food, water, shelter, and medical care are. Just as we all, every being on earth, are adapting to enormous changes, so must we adapt and accept different ways to meet our wants and needs to be touched and to relax.

Lives depend on it.

If you are fortunate enough to live near trees: “When you hug [a tree], you feel it first in your toes and then up your legs and into your chest and then up into your head,” enthuses forest ranger Þór Þorfinnsson. “It’s such a wonderful feeling of relaxation and then you’re ready for a new day and new challenges.” Photo by Lamar Belina