Monkeypox and Massage – What you need to know

Risk Management

The risk of getting Monkeypox is present in massage, but very, very low. Here’s how I am mitigating against that risk anyway.

For your protection against Covid-19, Monkeypox, and any communicable disease, at Melt Massage I continue to create a safe space for your massage by applying my Safety protocols throughout our time together. This includes having clients complete health pre-screening forms before appointments, our wearing masks, my cleaning and sanitizing all contact surfaces between clients and, as always, using fresh linens for each client that are professionally cleaned after each use.

The risk of contracting Monkeypox from fabric, according to Peter Chin-Hong, MD, a professor of medicine specializing in infectious disease at UCSF, is “very, very unlikely”  as reported in SELF Magazine, Aug. 9, 2022. That risk would only increase “if you rubbed your skin along the contaminated fabric until you experienced microscopic cuts.” For this reason, and to protect against transmission of any bodily fluids, including the low risk of Monkeypox, in addition to screening for any infectious disease before a massage, I also ask my clients to wear a complete sealing water-proof bandaid covering any cut, scrape, or open skin.

If you have any communicable disease spread by respiratory droplets or skin contact, or know you’ve been around someone at risk of having a communicable disease within the past 21 days, please reschedule your massage.


What we know so far; Prevention, Transmission, Symptoms and Care

Monkeypox presents like some other contagious skin diseases.  Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce distinguished Monkeypox from 7 other diseases with rashes that look similar, in an article for The Insider.

Although at least 50% of Covid-19 infections have been considered to be from a- or pre-symptomatic transmission, the risk of a- or pre-symptomatic transmission of Monkeypox is still unknown, according to the latest report on How it Spreads, by the CDC, July 29, 2022.  Therefore, please remember the key points below:

Prevention: Avoid getting it, or at least minimize your risk. If you touch a surface you are unsure of in regard to whether it has been disinfected since the last person touched it,

–> Do not touch your:

  • Mask
  • Face
  • Phone
  • Keys
  • Clothing
  • Etc

         until you have washed your hands well for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or well disinfected your hands.

Transmission: Monkeypox is transmitted through:

  • direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
  • respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact
  • touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
  • and more (CDC, July 29, 2022).

Transmission can occur from symptom onset until all rashes are fully healed and new skin appears which can take up to 4 weeks.

The incubation period is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days (WHO, May 19, 2022), although a rash can occur as soon as 1-5 days after exposure.

Symptoms: Symptoms evolve.

Early symptoms, before seeing a rash, include:

  • feeling ill
  • swollen lymph nodes (in neck, groin)

As of August 31, 2022, the joint ECDC-WHO Monkeypox Surveillance Bulletin which continues to monitor and update it’s reporting on Monkeypox, noted symptoms including:

  • “rash* in 76.5% of cases

and in 68% of cases:

  • fever
  • fatigue
  • muscle pain
  • chills, or
  • headache.”

The NEJM described other symptoms including:

  • body aches and
  • generalized weakness

*The UK’s National Health Service, NHS, reports that the rash “usually appears 1-5 days after the first symptoms”, starting at the point of contact and spreading to rest of the body, including the palms and soles, can look like white raised pimples that swell with fluid, pop, then scab over and drop off. They can be dry and itchy.

Care: If you think you may have it, don’t worry – get information. Isolate, talk with your Doctor and reschedule your massage.

Take care, be safe and be well.


Additional resources:

TWiV Special: Monkeypox clinical update with Dr. Daniel Griffin, TWIV, 5/26/22

Monkeypox, emerging data, 8/8/22, Dr. John Campbell YouTube

Monkeypox Virus Infection in Humans across 16 Countries — April–June 2022, NEJM, 7/21/22, updated 8/25/22


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Melt Massage LLC

Melt Massage LLC