Coronavirus (or COVID19) has changed the way people, businesses and whole industries operate, if only temporarily. This article is a pot-pourri of news from around the world, in which we can see how coronavirus has affected our industry and the way people engage with massage. There’s the heart-warming, the sensible and the downright bizarre.

Whilst it’s interesting in itself, it also allows us to track what’s happening around the world. We’re watching the situation closely in case there is more that we need to do to protect our masseurs and clients (and yes, we will close down temporarily if it comes to that). Currently, we have had no issues and our masseurs are taking additional measures, such as disinfecting their work area and places that are touched often (e.g. door handles) more frequently. Just in case.

United States: woman refused massage

Amid coronavirus fears, a woman in California was refused a massage because she had previously been on a cruise ship where some people had been infected. Even though she has been tested and found not to have the virus, she is now shunned from places like her gym and her request for a massage appointment was denied.

Asian-owned businesses in the U.S. are suffering as their customers are not visiting due to misdirected fear. A San Diego massage parlour chain told its customers that none of its employees have recently visited China and that they can wear masks during the appointment if preferred. [San Diego Union Tribune]

Bali: unemployed masseurs in ‘ghost town’

After the COVID19 outbreak, Bali lost a huge number of their Chinese tourists. While tourism from other countries remains stable, this means that some call the island a ‘ghost town’. Scores of masseurs, mostly operating from thatched huts and hotels, were left out of work. [The Straits Times]

China: free massage chairs for Wuhan doctors

In China, the masseurs might be unable to work, but not even coronavirus will stop the people from getting their massage. Even if they’ll have to do it themselves.

As many Chinese self-isolate, they’re foregoing their usual massage appointments. But hand-washing is not all that’s on their mind. Many choose to have a DIY massage at home and the sales of massage chairs rose by 436% [South China Morning Post].

In an article about what young Chinese creatives are doing in self-isolation, Ning, a model and producer, told the journalists that he likes to watch TV whilst performing a full body massage. He has also made a statue of his penis. [i-D]

Another Chinese resident, a man in Hangzhou, has started a trend of indoors jogging by running 50km in his living room whilst circling two massage tables. This took 6,250 laps. Since the runner posted about his achievement on social media, more people have admitted to doing the same. [Malay Mail]

Ogawa Group, parent company of the American massage chair company Cozzia, has bought and donated a lot of supplies to the fight against the virus. It will also give massage chairs to hospitals in Wuhan, so doctors working under difficult conditions could take the time out to relax. [Furniture Today]

India: Ayurvedic doctor suggests self-massage

Whilst we don’t have a vaccine for COVID19, various ideas about combatting the virus float about. Ayurveda is big in India, and Dr. Vishakha Mahindroo suggests ayurvedic self-massage as a way to support the immune system. [Times of India]

Hong Kong: anti-viral essential oils could be helpful

A clinical aromatherapist and massage therapist suggested that some essential oils could help as part of a coronavirus prevention strategy. She explained that since we don’t know what works, oils that are anti-viral could be a good bet. The therapist uses tea tree, eucalyptus, lemon, rosemary and clove oils. [Green Queen]

Macau: massage parlours closed by government

young male walking in Macau

A young male in Macau wearing a face mask. Macau has seen many of its leisure and entertainment venues closed due to coronavirus. Photo by Macau Photo Agency.

The government has placed a temporary suspension on the activities of massage parlours, as well as bars, cinemas, gyms, karaokes, nightclubs, beauty salons and spas. For now, there’s no fun in Macau. Unless you’re a gambler: gambling ban has been lifted, and residents eagerly wait until the back rubs are back on the menu, too. [Macau Business]

New Zealand: an outbreak could take massage off the menu

Although New Zealand has only five confirmed cases of coronavirus, businesses are thinking ahead. In the case of an outbreak, many are prepared to take drastic measures. A gym owner said he would stop offering massage altogether, and many could follow suit. [1 News]

Singapore: no massage if you’re returning from China

A recent return from China could be a barrier to obtaining a massage in many places. A Singapore spa said they would not offer massage to customers who have been to China within a 14-day period or who are feeling under the weather. They expect that they will lose some earnings, but also hope that these measures won’t be needed for too much longer. [CNA Luxury]

Thailand: masked massage therapists and free massages

Masseurs in Thailand also rely heavily on the tourism industry. In a country with 59 confirmed cases of infection, many massage therapists wear face masks and gloves to work. A massage parlour owner complained about the mask prices, which have jumped by 50-100%. [Business Insider]

Another parlour in Bangkok, which lost all of its Chinese customers, is offering free massages. The owner said that they started by offering free massages to tour guides who were out of work, and then decided to extend the offer to all of their customers so the massage therapists could at least earn some tips. [Bangkok Post]