Welcome!

I have reopened my massage practice!

Please read this entire page before calling to book your appointment. It will tell you what to expect that might be a bit different.

Apologies for the length of this page, but it's important stuff. Most important toward the end. Here it is:

I still see clients by appointment only. One change I'm asking you to make is to wait outside or in your car until your confirmed appointment time if you happen to arrive early. I'm scheduling a full hour between all appointments, which will effectively give about 40 minutes for disinfecting and airing-out before it's your turn.

There is now a hand-sanitizer dispenser just outside the blue door for you to use.

There is also the required sign on the door stating that massage will not be offered to or given by anyone who is exhibiting signs of COVID-19 virus. You know it by now: Cough; Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; Fever; Chills; Repeated shaking with chills; Muscle pain; Headache; Sore throat; New loss of taste or smell; Congestion or runny nose; Nausea or vomiting; Diarrhea. Please also cancel your appointment if you've been exposed to anyone with COVID-19 within the past 14 days.

You and I will both wear face coverings for your entire office visit, with one exception: While you're face-down in the face cradle, you may remove your mask while a cloth (a pillow case, actually) is suspended from the face cradle. Your choice. For some folks, face cradles already make breathing more difficult, so this should help a bit.

Obviously, no face-massage during these days of covid. In addition to a mask, while I sit at your head and massage your head, neck and shoulders I will wear a clear face shield--one of those shields that is closed at the bottom and open at the top.

You may wear your own cloth (or other) facemask, or you can use a disposable surgical mask that I provide.

Did I mention lots of hand-washing?

New client? We can greet each other outdoors at 6 ft before donning our masks. It would be nice to see your smiling face before we disappear behind our face coverings!

“The CDC suggests that COVID-19 infected respiratory droplets can be dispersed when people talk. For this reason, talking is limited to communication about pressure, warmth, and comfort while in the enclosed space of the session room.” To this I will add aches and pains, history of injury and anything else helpful to the massage. Weather permitting, maybe we'll begin all our intake-chats outdoors... ?

Friends and family of the client are not allowed to wait inside while the client receives massage, unless they are that client’s legal guardian.

I run a HEPA filter in the massage room, a HoMedics Small Room Air Purifier with UV-C light. During the massage I exhaust air with a window-fan in the window at your head. When it’s hot and muggy I cool the room off with the air conditioner between massages.

The massage room and bathroom will be cleaned daily. High-touch surfaces will be disinfected between every client. The massage table warmer and topper is covered with a table-protector which gets disinfected between every client. Massage oil dispensers and face cradle as well.

I change my clothes between each massage. Massage sheets, face-cradle covers, oil holsters, my massage clothing, and even blankets get laundered in hot water with every use.

Here is the most important thing for you to know. Although my massage room is used exclusively for massages, it is a room in my home. You will likely not see anyone but me, but you will be sharing hallway and bathroom with other clients and my household. We are a family of five-- 4 adults and 1 baby. Three of us work*, and we all interact (carefully) with our world. We're not without risk.

(*Truthfully, three of us work in jobs encountering small circles of people, and Kim works hardest of us all, raising a child!)

We are so lucky to live in this area with low COVID numbers and beautiful places to be outdoors, so that I feel safe to reopen my massage practice. It is because of our low numbers but also because of the safety protocols listed above that I feel confident to offer massage. But I do want everyone to understand that you're not coming into a sterile environment and we need to protect each other from getting sick.

In addition to acknowledging possible risk, I want you to know that I will cooperate with health department contact-tracing in the event that a client or household member got COVID-19 within 2 weeks of being here (and would of course let you know as well if it compromised you). For those reasons I will require massage clients to sign a copy of the information below.

We'll get through this.

I welcome your feedback at mariagailx at gmail dot com.

~Maria

August 2020

(Below is the content of the form you’ll sign when you arrive:)

“I understand that close contact with people increases the risk of infection from COVID-19. By signing this form, I acknowledge that I am aware of the risks involved and give consent to receive massage from Maria Gail.”

________________________________ ____________________ _________________

name                                                                    phone number                   date

While information is still limited, the CDC indicates that these underlying conditions place  people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19:
› People 65 years or older
› Chronic lung disease
› Moderate to severe asthma
› Heart conditions
› Compromised or suppressed immunity
› Severe obesity (body mass index of 40 or higher)
› Diabetes
› Chronic kidney disease
› Liver disease

“I understand that my name and contact information might be shared with the state health department in the event that a client or practitioner at this facility tests positive for COVID-19. My contact details will only be shared in the event they are relevant based on suspected exposure date, and only for appropriate follow-up by the health department.”

________________________________ ____________________ _________________

name                                                                   phone number                   date

Please share if you develop any cold or flu-like symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19 within 2 weeks of your session.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

For those who are curious, here is a link to Maine’s official guidelines for reopening massage therapy practices: https://www.maine.gov/decd/checklists/massage-facilities.

Guidelines of Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards to help minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission: https://www.fsmtb.org/media/2319/fsmtb20200519guidelinesforpracticecovid-19.pdf

https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/can-hepa-air-purifiers-capture-coronavirus/

Massage

Maria Gail, Massage Therapist Welcome!
I am a massage therapist in private practice for over 25 years. I graduated from Downeast School of Massage in Waldoboro in 1992. I work from my home office in Belfast, Maine.

When I first graduated I could give a lovely relaxation massage, but I probably failed a number of clients who came to me hoping to address physical problems with massage. Thankfully, my work has evolved. Through continuing education and over 25 years of experience, my hands learned have to listen. Now while I massage, I am constantly gathering information through my hands, assessing muscle texture to target problem areas.  Each massage is different and fascinating, and I love my work.

I have learned from so many of you. Thank you for your stories and for sharing your bodies with my hands, allowing me to grow in my profession. I am honored to work with you.

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What is my massage like?
Apple blossumsMy massage is firm and focused. My hands are gentle and soothing, but I also find the knots.

I believe massage should not be painful, and with your feedback I adjust my pressure to your comfort level.  Massaging problem areas can “hurt so good” and I believe that when done with care and accuracy, massage does not require crippling pressure to feel deep and effective.

I work with my hands (no elbows or knobbers) and a few hot smooth stones which impart heat directly to trouble spots.  The direct heat increases circulation and soothes and relaxes your muscles, preparing them for deeper work.

I hope and believe that I am approachable, levelheaded and responsible.  I want you to feel confident that you are in good hands, comfortable about speaking up, and comfortable enough to relax.

Your feedback helps us both.
Call for your appointment at 338-4628.

See Contact, Hours, Directions

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Massage Rates

Massage Rates

Apple blossums60 minutes is the most common length for massage. This is enough time for a relaxing full-body massage or for a more in-depth treatment of a particular area such as back, neck and shoulders. For a full-body massage with additional attention to particular problems, schedule 90 minutes.

• 60 minutes   $75
• 90 minutes   $100

I offer lower rates for youth aged 18 and under, or still attending high school:
• 60 minutes   $65

Please Note: There is a 24-hour cancellation policy, with a $25 fee for a missed appointment.

Sorry, credit cards are not accepted at this time. Cash or check please.

A massage makes a wonderful gift...

Gift certificates make wonderfully relaxing and thoughtful gifts.  Arrange to have a gift certificate mailed, or pick one up at the office, by calling 338-4628.

Payment is expected at the time of service. I can give you a receipt with the correct massage billing code and you may submit it with your insurance company or wellness flex account. But I no longer write SOAP notes or other paperwork for insurance reimbursement.

Useful information: In Maine, massage therapy performed by a licensed massage therapist is sometimes covered by automobile liability insurance and other liability insurance (if there's been some sort of insured accident), by workers compensation, and by some employee wellness programs, but is seldom if ever covered by Medicare, Medicaid and personal insurance. Sometimes massage is covered by the latter, but only if performed by a licensed physical or occupational therapist. If you're dependent on insurance payment for bodywork, consider inquiring with PTs and OTs for “manual therapy” and you may find reimbursable hands-on therapy that works for you.

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What Can I Expect?

What can I expect when I go for my first massage?

Apple blossumsA typical massage lasts one hour, and you get to choose how to spend that time. Let me know what you need from your massage. Choose a full-body massage, or or request an in-depth treatment of a particular area (for example, neck, back and shoulders).

While the actual hands-on part of the massage lasts an hour (or longer if you choose),  you'll need to figure extra time for getting undressed and dressed, and to relax and reorient yourself after the massage.

Let me know about any trouble spots, health concerns, areas to avoid, and what you hope to gain from your massage. Then I'll leave the room while you undress in privacy and lie down under a flannel sheet on a comfortably padded massage table. For a full-body massage most people undress completely, but underwear is left on or off at your discretion. Therapeutic massage is safe and non-sexual, and you will always be professionally draped during your massage.

(Your personal modesty is respected. Know that it is possible to receive massage through light clothing, such as leggings and a t-shirt. Although clothed-massage is very different and will lack hot stones and long soothing massage strokes, it is still very beneficial. Please request what feels right to you. Clothed-massage is suitable for people who are feeble and for whom undressing and dressing are such a production as to be discouraging. I do not currently offer chair massage or house calls. In some cases you may want to find a massage therapist who offers that.)

This is your time. You may want to close your eyes, focus inward, or just sink into relaxation. Do whatever feels most comfortable, but don't hesitate to ask questions or report any discomfort. Please don't make the assumption that the massage therapist knows best. Those nerve endings are yours! I welcome your feedback so I can adjust pressure accordingly.

My hands detect restriction, tightness or injury in the texture of the muscle and focus on areas needing more attention.  Massage to treat a painful injury or tender area may at first cause some discomfort, which usually lessens noticeably in the first few minutes. Using your feedback and my techniques to minimize pain, I will adjust my work to feel right to you.

After the massage, I will again leave you in privacy to reenter this world and to dress. Give yourself a moment to reorient before slowly getting up from the massage table. You will probably rise with the rosy cheeks of a child getting up from a nap. I've usually managed to dishevel your hair as well!

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Bodywork now comes in a confusing array of names.  When I attended the Downeast School of Massage in 1991-92, the term “Swedish massage” encompassed all massage techniques other than oriental/meridian methods--not because it was Swedish, but because massage became associated with Swedish physical therapist Pehr Henrik Ling in the 1800s.

Today the term Swedish has been demoted to referring to gentle kneading and long soothing strokes, to differentiate from “deep-tissue massage” and other “new” modalities. New names reflect emphasis on varying styles, and many are due to instructors naming their particular style of massage along the road to fame and fortune. It is probably more important to choose a massage therapist who is good at their craft rather than by the name of their technique.

There were 44 of us in my class at massage school and although we all took the same classes each of us graduated with our own individual style. Get recommendations from trusted friends and try a few different therapists to find one who's right for you!