A bodyworks studio in a world without touch may seem like an insurmountable challenge, but Bodyworks DW in New York City is looking at the COVID-19 pandemic as a challenge to dig deeper into how they can support their clientele.
During normal operations, Bodyworks DW provides high-quality massage for its clientele—some of whom have been with the practice’s 20+ massage therapists for over a decade. But when owner David Weintraub saw the risk of coronavirus earlier this month, he knew that it would impact the business, and the impact would be large.
So Weintraub brought his team together to discuss what they could do while they couldn’t provide massage therapy. During that meeting, the team brainstormed and came up with several ideas to keep the business going.
“It lit a fire under us, and I think we've met as a group, either the whole of us or smaller groups, on Zoom almost every day,” Weintraub said.
One of their ideas—and the first to be implemented—is virtual self-care sessions with clients.
Bodyworks DW closed March 17. They began offering virtual self-care appointments by March 21.
Massage therapist Ruth Anselm had the beginnings of the idea as she considered what would happen if the practice closed and confronted the anxiety the thought brought her.
“This is what I love to do,” Anselm said. “And that led me to this idea that we could check in with the people who’ve been regular clients of ours. I care so much about them, and I care about what’s happening with them—I would love to just be able to touch base with them and give them stuff just by looking at their bodies and listening to their voices.”
The virtual self-care appointment is based on the homework that the therapists give to their clients after performing bodywork. For some, it’s stretches and breathing techniques, and for others, it’s advice to slow down and relax. While every client is different, they all share one thing in common: They’ll need self-care now more than ever before.
Rachel Simhon, another LMT at Bodyworks DW, has given a virtual self-care session. “This client of mine has been seeing me regularly, and we've been making a lot of progress,” Simhon said. That missed appointment, compounded with the extra stress of a pandemic, left the client in tremendous pain.
Simhon met with the client virtually, and guided her trough breathing and jaw release exercises—they even improvised self-stretching techniques using a pair of leggings. “She was super grateful that we were able to do that over Zoom,” Simhon said. “It really made a big difference for her, so I felt pretty good about that because she was in a fair amount of distress.”
Bodyworks DW virtual self-care appointments may be new, but the team at Bodyworks DW thinks their new treatment program will last long after the pandemic abates. In the interim, though, it’s providing what the team needs the most—a way to stay engaged.
“Even though we're not quite at the point where we're now generating massive revenue from this new idea yet, it's actually helping to keep us busy and gave us have something to do which is in and of itself worthwhile.”