How will Craniosacral Therapists come back into service within our communities with a degree of safety, cleanliness and sanitizing precautions that will keep everyone safe and make the client/patient confident that the service is helpful and not contagious? When we touch, will it be comforting or infectious?
Our first goal is to do no harm. You are loving your patients, the public and yourself when you wear a mask or shield and practice in the best sanitized environment that you can create. Face shields and masks preventing physical-moisture-filled breath distribution is the best way to prevent unknowingly spreading of disease and protecting your patient, your family and yourself. Full stop. This is and will be the new normal going forward. Opening is based on infection rate percentage and the voluntary willingness to participate by teacher, clinician, student and client and local government regulations.
Here are some ideas we have chosen to employ. The following applies to our clinic and classes going forward. The following are our plans and policies. Take what truth you find and leave the rest. You may want to set your own limits, precautions and strategies. Do what makes you and your clients feel comfortable, happy and in a safe, healing space. We all need that right now. Self-help strategies and exercises will be presented in upcoming essays that you can offer your clients, making them independent as much as possible. All of these changes are subject to change based on local infection rates, state and government regulations.
- Patients/clients/students are contacted prior to class or first clinical visit and asked about how they have fared so far; are they well? Have they been around anyone who has the virus? People engaged in touch therapy must be 14 days symptom free, cough free and without breathing difficulty. Those with symptoms may not continue and are encouraged to contact their primary care and self-isolate until cleared by primary care.
- Patients in our clinic are scheduled with 15 minutes open time space between appointments to sanitize clinic and office areas and to reduce exposure to others coming or going.
- Patients who arrive at their scheduled time must remain in their cars and call in to be sure we are ready to receive them.
- All patients/students must take a signed survey of several questions that ask if they have symptoms, been out of state, been around known covid patients or travelled more than 200 miles away. Some classes held in Maine may require each of us to get coronavirus tested prior to class in order to attend.
- All people (clients, students, staff) coming to clinic or class must wear face masks/shields --no exception.
- All people coming into the office or class must allow for touch-free temperature checks.
- All staff must wear a face mask or shield and wash and sanitize hands, as well as wipe all touched surfaces, treatment tables, chairs, pens, equipment, treatment/office touched surfaces between each patient.
- Air filters, uv light purification and circulation devices in operation at all times.
- Any signs of illness or respiratory difficulty may result in immediate discontinuance of treatment or temporary withdrawal/reschedule from clinic or class. Every patient and student must be willing to postpone and is urged seek urgent care followup.
- An effort to teach precautions and hygiene is covered in each session.
- We have an air ionizer going at all times and a small fan reflecting air away from both patient and therapist in the treatment room. We open windows and doors in AM and mid day to encourage air exchange. Windows are left open depending on season and temperature.
On a personal note I feel it is therapeutic for a patient to be lightly touched in a craniosacral way by a person whose face you can see. When I Google “face shield rationale protection,” a research study found red blood cells are 7 microns in size (a micron is one millionth of a meter), bacillus bacteria is approximately .5 microns. The coronavirus is about .06 to .14 microns. N95 masks filters to .3 microns. Virus particles riding on water droplets in the air come in sizes ranging from 1 to 100 microns, (Respiratory Research 20, Article No: 8, 2019 by B. Baker, P. Larsson.) Within these size parameters, N95 masks filter to .03 microns or >90 percent. Face shields are suggested during sustained close contact (as in a CST session) protecting 96 percent from immediate sneeze or cough. Persons actively coughing should wear mask and shield. Viruses live better on plastic so shields must be sanitized after each use.
I wash my hands going in and out of session and wipe all treatment surfaces, chairs, and touched surfaces after each session. I find shields protect my full face, forehead, eyes, nose ears and throat. I keep my posture with forward head as I sit, closing any gap of mask and chest. Often times I have struck the shield as I have inadvertently tried to rub my eye or scratch my nose in an hour session. Washing hands going in and out of session I refrain from touching anything but the patient and I sanitize my hands more than I would if I had gloves on. So I only wear gloves with modified mouth work.
In public as in food shopping, buying office supplies etc., I wear mask and gloves, dispose gloves before entering the car. I alcohol wipe all food and supplies when I bring them home. My dog Ruby walks me up on a local mountain almost every day. We practice social distancing, for both of us. In natural environments, beaches, lakes, mountain trails, who and what touches your dog may touch you when you get home.
In some ways this virus, being so impartial, pervasive and totally consuming has caused us all to reflect and evaluate what is important, essential and vital to our mutual survival and continuance as a family, community, nation and our place in the world. Essentially, we will need to reinvent ourselves and our relationships creating a new normal. We can find peace, joy and happiness in our work and lives by knowingly holding safe space in our own personal worlds. Love, kindness and compassion will lead the way.
Stand by, stay strong, stay smart, be kind, and tell the truth. Let us hold space for all of us to move forward together.
Towards a new happy day,