Coronavirus (Covid-19) Restart:

Hands-on bodywork available from Tues 14th July 2020

Information last updated : Sunday 13th September //

morning sunlight

I am pleased to announce that (under new Government guildeines) I am now providing treatments at both the Exchange Street clinic in Norwich (The Complementary Health Care Clinic) and Rowan House clinic in Hethersett as from Thursday 14th July 2020. Please see the Contact page for booking details, days, etc.

I intend to do my best to continue to provide help and support throughout this period of transition and beyond to whoever needs it; and to apply appropriate measures to ensure your safety (i.e. the safety of everyone visiting the clinic) so far as possible.

The simple version : what you really need to know

The Covid-19 situation can very easily lead to lots of complexity and detail. This is a basic checklist for anyone wanting to receive hands-on treatment :

  1. It is impossible to guarantee that Covid-19 will not transfer during a hands-on ("Close Contact") treatment. You will therefore need to sign a legal disclaimer, which includes saying you understand the risks. This can be downloaded from HERE - please read it and bring page 5 (signed and dated) in to your first appointment. If you can't print it, I can always supply a form when you arrive.
  2. If you or anyone you live with has any Covid-19 symptoms or you have any normal cold or flu symptoms please do not come in, and re-arrange the treatment to at least 10 days after the symptoms end.
  3. You will need to bring a mask, which should be worn in all public spaces in the clinic, and during treatment.
  4. If you are in the Vulnerable person (Moderate or High) risk group, or live with anyone who is, we need to talk before any treatment takes place.
  5. If you have not already signed a disclaimer, we need to talk (not email!) before you can make a booking. Part of this conversation will be taking case notes, and the time taken is part of the first treatment session.
  6. Norwich bookings are still through the reception desk. I am managing Hethersett bookings myself. See contact page for phone numbers.
  7. Bookings are now for 75 minutes : that's just under an hours treatment time for you, plus 15 or 20 minutes for me to clear the room and prepare for the next person.
  8. The rooms are more ventilated than usual (windows open), so please bring warm enough clothes and/or your own blanket.
  9. That's it! Simple :-)
The medical evidence from several countries is that in the vast majority of cases, Covid-19 does not transfer if there are no symptoms. So provided you are not in one of the vulnerable groups and provided we take a few small precautions, the treatments don't involve a high degree of risk.

If you are concerned about risk and want to receive treatment for trauma, I can provide online sessions which work very well, and we can do face-to-face treatments later when some of the initial ground as been covered.

More detailed information

Coronavirus infections : quarantine and tracking requirements

Please contact the clinic or myself, cancel any appointments, and not re-book until you have been symptom-free and away from contact with people who are infected for at least ten (10) days if you :

  • are experiencing potential Covid-19 symptoms (see box below)
  • have swab-tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 14 days
  • have in the past ten (10) days been in close contact for more than 15 minutes with someone who is (i) symptomatic, or (ii) who has been flagged up in a Test-and Trace or (iii) swab-tested positive for Covid-19
  • are sneezing or have a running cold

Similarly, if any of the above applied to me, I will cancel all appointments until I have been clear of symptoms for at least 7 days, and will have to inform any patients who I have seen over the previous ten days. I will also have to contact you if anyone on my patient list over the previous 21 days is on a Test-and-Trace list.

The 3 most important Covid-19 Symptoms

For more detail, please see symptoms sheet and/or Government info on typical CV-19 symptoms

  • a new continuous (usually hacking) cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell

Please call the clinic and cancel your appointment if you experience any of these before attending.
Current government guidelines (as of 13 Jul 2020) are :
"Self-isolate / maintain physical distance for at least 14 days from onset of symptoms, and at least 7 days after symptoms cease. And arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19."

If you come for hands-on treatment, I will have to run through the Valid Consent to Treatment Form with you several days beforehand, and we can sign this at your first appointment. If you are a designated Vulnerable person (Moderate risk group) I can still potentially treat you, but it's important to be particularly clear about potential risk vs benefits. If you are likely to have close contact with a Vulnerable (Moderate or High risk) person, please make that very clear to me when booking the appointment.

PDF guidelines, forms and information sheets for patients

If you click these links and nothing seems to have happened, the file has probably gone direct to your Download folder instead of displaying in your browser. If you cannot view or print PDF files, please call me and I can send you paper copies.

Safety Measures in the clinic

Each clinic is essentially a public space that has to be kept as free from cross-contamination as possible to ensure safety of yourself, myself, clinic employees and all other visitors. You are therefore asked to :

  • wear a mask on entry and when walking through the clinic, and observe the usual physical distancing rules (2m if possible, 1m minimum)
  • not use the toilets if at all possible – but obviously if you do need to, then please make sure I know so that I can cleanse the room afterwards.
  • bring as little in the way of bags etc as possible into the clinic.
  • come with the minimum number of people (i.e. just yourself - or for children less than 16, one child plus one adult).
  • bring warm enough clothes or your own blanket (see below)
  • there are no walk-in appointments. All treatments have to be pre-booked

I will follow you through the clinic to the treatment room and then back out, disinfecting any surfaces that you might have touched with your hands/clothes.

Immediately before appointment
  • Rowan House Hethersett : Please wait in your car or outside in the car park and I will come to get you
  • Exchange Street Clinic, Norwich : We have limited space in the waiting room. Please come at exactly the right appointment time so that the waiting room space is kept clear.
During the treatment

Due to the inability to practice physical distancing when carrying out bodywork treatments, the following precautions will be in place in the treatment room :

  • You will be asked to wear a mask for any hands-on treatment. This is particularly important if I have to work on your body above mid-torso level while you are lying down. You can bring your own mask, or I can provide a mask. Kitchen towel masks are provided free, and medical masks are available for purchase at £2 each. Silk and/or thin cotton scarves are good mask substitutes, because the main requirement is to reduce aerosols
  • You will be asked to disinfect your hands upon entering the clinic
  • I will be wearing PPE as necessary
  • The windows will be left wide open to ensure good air circulation - so you will need warm clothes! I am not able to supply clinic blankets.
  • Whatever can be done via Skype/Zoom/FaceTime (or telephone) will be handled that way to reduce physical contact time. This (along with keeping windows open) is the easiest and most effective way to reduce potential transfer of infection :
    • If you have not been to see me since 14th July 2020 I will talk to you a day or so before your treatment to carry out COVID-19 screening and go through the consent form.
    • If you have not been to see me for treatment before, initial consultations are to be carried out via online video call (Zoom/Facetime/Skype etc) to reduce contact time in the clinic. This needs to be arranged by telephone or Zoom etc (not email) some days before the treatment session.
    • If you are coming for treatment for trauma/anxiety I can also offer a preliminary set of online treatment sessions that will give you some tools to use at home, and which will prepare the ground for further face-to-face treatment sessions.
    • I am now able to work on the face, provided that I wear government-specified PPE

Further information

SARS-COVID

The Coronavirus pandemic has brought about many changes to people's lives, some of which will have long term consequences to how we all live. Some individuals and families have been hit very hard and others not at all, some people have been working and some not, leading us to live in a set of parallel worlds with very different realities. This altered reality is also likely to be with us in one form or another for at least until well into 2021. So it is very likely that the eventual "normal" will not be the normal we currently know. We all have to adapt to circumstances, and cannot really wait until everything is known and familiar again.

It is encouraging that tests reported in Germany (31/July/2020) have shown ... "It is now quite certain that a large proportion of the population has T cell immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The German researchers found T-cell reactivity against the virus in 83 percent of those who had been confirmed covid-19, but also in 35 percent who had not had coronavirus disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.". The situation in Sweden is also showing that once the virus spreads widely into the general population there IS a large degree of herd immunity and a substantial reduction in cases and in mortality.

Furthermore, although detected cases are increasing again here in the UK, there are now very few deaths. This secondary phase is a recognised normal progression of pandemics, and a sign that the danger is virtually over. Published studies from China, Europe and the USA show that cross-infection by asymptomatic people is very rare. i.e. being in the company of anyone who is not showing symptoms, even if they are infected, is very safe. The vast majority (well over 90%) of people who die from coronavirus or who are badly affected by it already had multiple pre-existing conditions. So if you are in an "at risk" group, you should be taking precautions to reduce physical (not social!) contact, but everyone else is as safe as we ever are. The main problem is fear, because fear (of illness or anything else) makes the immune system less effective.

Online Treatments

For more information including onle treatments please see my general Covid-19 information page.

Social Distancing (physical distancing) and Safety

The term "social distancing" has been quite destructive, because it has led to widespread isolation and mental health problems. A better way to think of it is "physical distancing". Fortunately we are now being allowed to come together in small social "bubbles" so that close contact with a small number of people is possible again. Of course, if you come for treatment, I am not in your close social bubble. However, it would appear that most people have been infected with no symptoms. Therefore, so long as you do not fall into a specific risk group, the virus is for the vast majority of people not dangerous, and does not cause illness, and your best personal defence is maintaining a healthy immune system.

The available data also suggests that any close proximity in a vehicle or (non-sterile) room for more than 10 minutes results in a very high (>80%) likelihood of transmission of any virus, regardless of whether you might be wearing a paper filtering mask or protective gear, or not. Simply, viruses are so small that they go everywhere. However, it is also clear that much of the viral load transmits in small water droplets from the mouth, so a mask does reduce the total viral load transmitted to other people, even if it does not completely stop the spread of virus. Studies of infection transmission in China put mask wearing at the bottom of the list of effective measures, and non-contact/physical distancing at the top of the list. A good overall summary of transmission research is to be found here (Docjon.org).

Compromises and the Immune system

The advice that has been given by the government and in newspapers on preventing spread of Coronavirus has tended to focus ONLY on the Coronavirus and not on other health aspects. This narrow focus could be one reason why over the months March to June 2020 there have been twice as many (about 33,000) "excess deaths" from non-Coronavirus causes as from Coronavirus (about 17,000).

How can this be...? The likelihood is that - along with the reduced treatment availability for other illnesses, the measures to prevent Coronavirus transmission have caused other illnesses to be more fatal than usual. For instance, wearing a face mask causes buildup of a high viral and bacterial load within the upper respiratory tract - which otherwise would clear itself as you breathe normally. This is probably not an issue if you are healthy, but if you have any kind of respiratory infection, wearing a mask for prolonged periods is not good for your health. Simply, if bacteria are less under control by the immune system, then viruses are more able to cause "opportunistic" infections (and vice versa). I recommend that you generally limit mask-wearing time as far as possible. You can also increase its effectiveness and reduce its negative effects by using an essential oil diffuser in the room... Thyme, Tea Tree, Oregano, are particularly antibacterial/antiviral, but Lavender, Rosemary, and Eucalyptus are also of some use. Please do NOT use essential oils or wood-based alcohols or formaldehyde directly on the mask as disinfectants, because these can cause inflammation of the mucosa and make you more susceptible to infection.

Similarly, we have an active colony of bacteria on our skin that prevents us being infected by many other dangerous bacteria such as e-coli. Therefore, over-aggressive use of antibiotic/alcohol skin washes and over-frequent hand washing compromise the skin's immunity and therefore the whole immune system of the body. We did not evolve to wash our hands, and the hand washing used in hospitals is principally required to clear bacteria that propagate on dead flesh - such as streptococcus. This might all sound very contradictory, but nevertheless some measures are clearly of some (though limited) use.

The general fear that has been whipped up about cross-contamination is also almost more of a problem than the virus itself. Fear also inhibits the part of the immune system that deals with infections, making viruses and bacteria more dangerous. We naturally have an ecosystem of bacteria, viruses and other micro-organisms that live on and inside the body, which we have evolved to live with for a few hundred million years. These are usually not only stable (i.e we don't get ill), but also actively contribute to our health, and form a vital part of the immune system and digestive system. Viruses also transfer DNA and assist evolution - and without this viral transfer we would not (for instance) have developed a human brain. About 1/3 of our DNA originates from viruses. So really, a lot more attention should be placed on how to improve immune systems and less emphasis should be given to a fear of things that we can't see and that are essentially so small they are unstoppable.

Having said all that, there is clear evidence from trials that hand washing and masks used in combination substantially reduce the transmission rate of infections in general - not because they stop transfer altogether, but because they reduce the total load of transferred organisms of all kinds. Which again logically suggests that your immune system is an important factor, masks or no masks, washing or no washing. A stronger and generally less loaded immune system is naturally capable of dealing with a higher (coronavirus) viral load.

If you receive bodywork of any kind (i.e. close prolonged contact - usually table time is between 20 and 50 minutes) means that normal physical distancing rules do not apply. If the Coronavirus is in/on my body, you are fairly likely to have it passed onto (at least) your clothes, and if the Coronavirus is in/on your body then the same applies to me. If you are comfortable with that fact - i.e. the need for physical help is greater than your feeling of being at risk from Coronavirus infection - then you should probably come and have some treatment. In addition, the clinics I work from are not hospitals, and have not been designed to minimise infection transmission. They have carpets, wood and plastic surfaces, and although some cleansing of touched surfaces will help, anyone entering who is infected will still have a viral load on their clothes, their hair, their sweat - that will transfer to other surfaces that cannot be cleaned. In fact the most useful measure than can be taken in a non-sterile building is to keep the windows open. Similarly, being outdoors is far safer than staying indoors.

The standard precautions I will be adopting in the clinic will therefore (subject to mandatory guidelines from my professional body, and any current Government rulings) acknowledge these compromises, but also attempt to steer some path through them that maximises safety for us both, including helping to maintain the health of both our immune systems, and allows for effective use of treatment time.

Legal

For insurance purposes you will now have to fill in a disclaimer form. I also ask new patients to fill in a GDPR declaration. Ideally these can be printed off in advance, signed and brought to the clinic, and both forms can be accessed here as PDF documents here :

  • The Legal consent/disclaimer is required before any treatment can begin. One signing covers you for a course of treatments, but if there is more than a 4 week gap between sessions you would have to sign a new form on returning.
  • Data Protection/GDPR. It is normal to expect your contact details to be used as part of a treatment programme, or for non-trivial purposes regarding the clinic/practice. The GDPR form provides me with additional permission (which you can revoke at any time) to contact you in future regarding workshops and any news - and these communications will normally be limited to no more than two per year. The GDPR document does not cover Track-and-Trace protocols.
Treatment of children, babies, pregnant and new mothers

Healthy young people are almost totally unaffected by the Coronavirus, and so treatment of babies and children is safe for them - provided that neither parents or children fall under the vulnerable group classification (see below). Pregnant women are classified as "vulnerable" (see below) and so cannot be treated until Government guidelines change.

Designated vulnerable people

I am required to take extra precautions with people who fall into designated vulnerable groups or their carers, who are supposed to be "shielded" until at least 1st August 2020. If you are in this category you will probably have already received an official letter. A simple summary of this is over 70 years old and/or serious underlying health issues affecting the lungs or immune system, and pregnant women. A full list is on the government website. Nevertheless, if you are desperately in need of treatment, the government guidelines allow for you to follow the normal social/physical distancing rules as current at any particular time. Also see the official distancing guidelines.

Home Visits

These are not possible

The mental-emotional effects of Social Distancing and a pandemic

The lockdown itself (along with other current issues in the world) is causing many people to have mental-emotional difficulties, which may be anything from outbursts of temper and frustration (that affect their companions), anxiety, depression, feelings of hopelessness and lethargy, confusion, and particularly feelings of overwhelm and grief. I can also provide some support for these issues, and train you how to reduce overwhelm/anxiety and how to process many of the other difficult emotions more easily.

I will also be running online workshops in the near future. I am also offering some free resources for the duration of the Coronavirus situation.

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