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Frequently asked questions

The Réseau has created a FAQ section to answer key questions they have received, in relation to the protocol for health standards in massage therapy and the measures for COVID-19. We invite you to read the questions below to find answers to your questions.

If you can’t find the answer to your question, please contact us by email at info@rmpq.ca, call 1-800-461-1312, or chat through our website.

You can also join our private Facebook group to talk to other members of the association and the Réseau about resuming activities.

As the situation continues to evolve, the Réseau is continually working to provide you with information from official sources.

Who is at risk of complications from COVID-19 infection?

According to Québec.ca, “the risk of serious complications for people with COVID-19 increases with age, but it is present even in young adults. The risk of death from severe respiratory complications (pneumonia or acute respiratory syndrome) due to COVID-19 is particularly high in:

  • People aged 70 and over;
  • People with weakened immune systems;
  • People with chronic diseases such as:
    • Diabetes
    • Heart disease
    • Lung disease
    • Kidney disease.”

In case of doubt, we recommend that you request a note from your client’s doctor to ensure that his or her condition does not put him or her at risk.

Are pregnant women at higher risk of contracting COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization,

“Research is currently underway to understand the impacts of COVID 19 infection on pregnant women. Data are limited, but at present there is no evidence that they are at higher risk of severe illness than the general population.

However, due to changes in their bodies and immune systems, we know that pregnant women can be badly affected by some respiratory infections. It is therefore important that they take precautions to protect themselves against COVID-19, and report possible symptoms (including fever, cough or difficulty breathing) to their healthcare provider.”

The Réseau therefore recommends that you ask your client for a doctor’s note to ensure that no specific complications related to pregnancy put her at risk of a COVID-19 infection.

I am a person at risk of developing a severe form of infection with COVID-19. Can I start working again?

If you are at risk of developing COVID-19 complications, we encourage you to consult your doctor to assess your situation and follow their recommendations.

If my client is one of those at risk of developing a severe form of COVID-19, can I massage him?

If your client is one of those at high risk of complications from a COVID-19 infection, we recommend that you seek the advice of your client’s doctor. Otherwise, we invite you to postpone the massage to a later date.

Do I have to wear an overgarment and change it between clients?

As of June 8, 2020, the Institut National de la Santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) has made changes to its interim recommendations for private practice therapeutic care.*

Overgarment are no longer mandatory. In addition, if it is worn, it is no longer necessary to change it between clients, just like the other clothing worn.

*Note that the English version of the Interim Recommendations for Private Practice Therapeutic Care do not appear to have been updated yet. We invite you to refer to the French version.

As a therapist, do I absolutely have to wear a procedure mask?

According to public health authorities, to date, the therapist who performs a task within 2 meters of the client must wear a procedure mask.

As of July 6, the Réseau obtained information from public health that it is not required to change procedure masks between clients.

According to the INSPQ, the mask can be worn for a maximum of 4 hours without removing it for care given to several users within a cohort/unit. However, it must be discarded if it is visibly soiled, damaged or if breathing becomes difficult.

It is not recommended that the mask be removed and reused, but rather that the mask be worn for extended periods of time. If you need to remove the mask between clients, for example to drink water or eat, remove the mask according to the removal instructions as illustrated by ASSTSAS, fold the mask so that the outside of the mask is folded over and place it on a clean, disinfected surface or in a container or bag. After putting your mask back on, remember to disinfect the surface that has been in contact with the mask.

We remind you not to touch your mask while wearing it. Make sure it fits properly from the start of your massage. If you need to touch your mask, wash your hands before and after handling it.

What is a procedure mask?

The procedure mask recommended for the practice of massage therapy is a level 1 disposable mask with a bacterial filtration rate of 95% or more according to the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). There are 3 classifications under the ASTM F2100 standard: level 1, 2 and 3. The N95 mask is not recommended for your practice; it is reserved for the medical field.

Source: 3rd question – What are ASTM standards for medical face masks?, Primed.ca, [Online], consult on May 27, 2020.

Does my client have to wear a mask?

In accordance with the government decree on the wearing of masks or face covering in enclosed public places, which came into force on July 18, the client must wear the mask or face covering at all times, except during the period of the massage that requires it. The government decree, for as long as it is in force, takes precedence over the interim recommendations which, as of June 8, made the wearing of the mask or face shield optional for the client.

When can my clients remove their mask or face covering?

The Public Health Department of the Ministry of Health and Social Services confirmed that the mask could be removed for the duration of the massage that required it. The mask or face covering can be removed when:

  • you massage the face;
  • the client is lying on his stomach.

We encourage you to continue to exercise your professional judgment to determine if the mask or face covering needs to be removed during certain maneuvers.

Who can be exempt from wearing the mask or face covering?

Some people are not required to wear the mask or face covering, such as:

  • « children under the age of 12. However, wearing a mask or face covering is recommended for children between 2 and 11 years of age. It is not recommended for those under age 2;
  • people whose particular medical condition prevents them from wearing a mask or face covering:
    • people who are unable to put it on or take it off by themselves due to a physical disability,
    • people with facial deformities,
    • peoples who, due to cognitive impairment, an intellectual disability, an autism spectrum disorder, an addiction problem or a severe mental health problem, are unable to understand the requirement or for whom wearing a mask or face covering causes significant disorganization or distress,
    • people who have a severe skin condition on the face or ears that is significantly aggravated by wearing a mask or face covering. »*

« In addition, people with a chronic condition, including cardiovascular diseases and lung diseases, are not exempted from wearing a mask or face covering. Whenever possible, they should use a procedure mask, since it offers better protection against the virus. »*

To read the full information regarding the wearing of masks or face coverings required in enclosed public places, we invite you to visit the website of the government of Quebec.

*Source: Wearing a mask or a face covering in public settings in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, government’s website

If my client has contracted COVID-19 and has now recovered, can I massage him?

We invite you to validate with your client that he has complied with the INSPQ’s recommendations for the lifting of segregation measures that apply to case and contact management in the community.

You may refer to the following INSPQ documents (in French only):

What are the guidelines for using air conditioning or a portable ventilation system?

According to the INSPQ, “when conditions require it, floor-mounted air conditioners and fans can be used with caution by respecting certain measures outlined in the following sheet.” (Free translation by the Réseau)

Public Health has also created a question and answer document on ventilation systems in an indoor environment.

Can I use a hydrocollator or a table warming pad?

According to public health, “if possible, examine the possibility of using alternative heat sources (e.g. moist heat towels – which would be changed between each customer). If this is not possible, and the heating blanket [or the hydrocollator] is used, it should be ensured that the sheet or towel separating it from the client is in good condition, properly positioned and replaced between each client”. (Free translation from the Réseau)

Make sure that equipment that cannot be disinfected or changed between clients does not directly touch your client. The use of a protective cover is strongly recommended. If this is not possible, we recommend that you do not use it.

As a precautionary measure, check with the supplier of your heated mattress cover to ensure that there is no risk of damage or even fire if it is covered. We also invite you to be well informed about the cover you choose to cover your mattress cover.

Is it me or my employer who has to provide the personal protective equipment?

We invite you to read the section on legal obligations in the Workplace Sanitary Standards Guide for the Therapeutic Care Sector. For more information, contact CNESST directly to ask any questions you may have regarding the relationship between employee and employer in the context of the resumption of activities.

Do I have to comply with the public health guidelines, the CNESST guide, and the health standards protocol?

The Réseau aligns its guidelines and recommendations with those of the Public Health and CNESST. Its role is to transmit to its members the prevention measures implemented by the authorities concerned. The member has a legal obligation to comply with public health guidelines and also has an ethical obligation to comply with the measures implemented for the reopening of therapeutic care in private practice. Article 2.1.2. of the Code of Ethics states, “The Member must protect in his exercise, the health and well-being of the individuals he serves; on the individual and collective.”