Hand Hygiene for Massage Therapists in Times of COVID-19

Hand Hygiene for Massage Therapists in Times of COVID-19

Author:  Selena Belisle, Founder/Instructor, CE Institute LLC, Miami FL

Here are Five Steps from the CDC on how to Properly Wash Your Hands [i]

Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.

Follow these five steps every time:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Here/below is a diagram that shows areas that are commonly missed when using hand sanitizer, and areas that should receive extra attention when handwashing:


Use Hand Sanitizer When You Cannot Wash with Soap and Water

You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.  

Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. However:

  • Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
  • Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
  • Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.

How to use hand sanitizer:

  • Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. Use plentiful product – your hands should remain wet for at least 20 seconds until they are dry.


In addition to regular hand hygiene practices, during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should also clean hands:

  • After you have been in a public place and touched an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cashier registers/screens, etc.
  • Before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth because that’s how germs enter our bodies.

Sometimes massage therapists use their forearms and elbows in massage.  Any area of a therapist's body that is used during massage should be washed or sanitized before and after working on each client.

Hand hygiene is critical during this COVID-19 pandemic, where commonly spread respiratory droplets can cause serious disease.  Massage Therapists should take heed with more frequent hygiene habits to protect themselves, and to protect the health and safety of their clients as well.  The best method to prevent transmission of COVID-19 is to self-isolate and avoid contact with others, which would not allow for work as a massage therapist.  However, if you find yourself at work, or you must work, which is ill-advised, be sure to practice superior personal hygiene, take steps to improve your air quality at work and wear your PPE (personal protective equipment).  Please stay safe during these challenging times. 

To learn more, please register for quality, affordable, professional training at: https://ceinstitute.com/

Author Selena Belisle is the Founder of CE Institute LLC in Miami FL.  She is a retired professional athlete and has been practicing massage therapy for over 30 years.  Selena is an approved CE Provider with NCBTMB & the Florida Board of Massage.  She now teaches full time for the Complementary and Alternative Health Care Industries. You can learn more about Selena’s training and CE classes at www.CeInstitute.com


[i] “When and How to Wash Your Hands.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 Apr. 2020, Found online: July 4, 2020, www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html.

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