Our COVID19 Risk Reduction Plan (last updated 9/2/2020)

We’ve spent the last 3 months learning everything we could to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID19 to our guests and employees. There is no perfect solution and every service will come with risks, despite our best efforts. We feel confident that, short of staying closed, we are doing everything within our power and we’re confident our guests will serve as our partners in risk management.

We’re dedicated to staying up-to-date on the latest developments in COVID19, including what we can do to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID19 to our guests and employees, and how we can best serve guests who are struggling with longer term effects of COVID19. There is no perfect solution and every service will come with risks, despite our best efforts. We feel confident that, short of staying closed, we are doing everything within our power and we’re confident our guests will serve as our partners in risk management.

Physical Distancing

This is a key to managing virus spread, but we won’t lie, this one tears at our hearts a bit. We went into these high-touch careers because we’re nurturers. We long for the “old days” when we’d spend a hectic Friday morning sharing treats (when will it be safe to offer someone a bite of your pastry again), laughing, and falling over each other as we set up for a day packed with our favorite guests. These days are temporarily on hold. Instead:

We’re temporarily unable to offer couple’s massages. While we know that couples are likely not distancing from each other, our employees are, and couples services make that tricky.

We’re limiting the number of employees who can work at a given time, though we’ve extended our hours and are temporarily open 7 days a week.

We’re limiting the number of guests in our spa at a time, and are adjusting appointments so check-in times are staggered.

We’re temporarily asking guests to wait in their cars and not bring others with them to their service to minimize the number of people in the spa at a time, in accordance with new guidelines for spas and Iowa salon rules.

We split our cozy nail room into two separate nail rooms. Only one guest and one provider will be in a nail room at a time. It’s actually pretty awesome, we’re very proud of the safety measures we have in place for nails. We anticipate this change will last well into 2021.

We are not able to accommodate parties or group bookings at this time.

We have a great webstore so customers who can enjoy our products with quick shipping or parking lot pick-up!

Managing virus spread in the air

Our biggest concern is that viruses can linger in the air so the best thing we can do to reduce risk is to reduce the risk of inhaling droplets. As such, masks are required of everyone entering our spa.

All employees will wear masks in public areas of the spa and treatment rooms. Guests and visitors to the spa are required to wear masks at all times, including during services, EXCEPT for in the treatment room during facials or lip/chin waxing when a removing a mask is necessary to perform the skincare service. If you need a disposable mask, we’ll provide one before you enter.

During facials, our estheticians will wear surgical masks, and face shields. For other services providers will all wear masks.

All of our treatment rooms are equipped with a HEPA air purifier to filter particles. Room air is completely exchanged about every 2-5 minutes. Our guests can be confident that in our treatment rooms they will not be breathing the same air as the guests before them.

We’ve installed plexiglass barriers at the desk and in the nail room at manicure and pedicure stations as an added barrier in addition to masks, especially as guests and providers will be in prolonged close face-to-face contact.

Hand hygiene and reducing surface contamination risks

We’ve always used recommended cleaning protocols and gloves for services where we could come into contact with mucus membranes or blood, but we’ve kicked it up for your comfort and we’ll be more visible about it.

We use hospital grade antiviral and antibacterial wipes that disinfect surfaces like head rests and our hot stones in one minute. As always, we soak all of our nail and skin care tools in barbicide and we never, ever double dip a wax stick.

We will continue to wear gloves when it makes sense (waxing, manicures, and facials) but we don’t plan to add gloves to massage. Proper handwashing and hand sanitizer is more effective for services where there isn’t a risk of coming into contact with blood or mucous membranes. If you’d prefer your massage therapist wears gloves, let us know. We certainly can, but we massage with our hands, forearms, and elbows (then properly wash thoroughly) so it isn’t really helpful.

Table coverings: We’ve added waterproof coverings to all pillows including body pillows, and to our table warmer. All can be thorougly sanitized with our disinfectant wipes. We switched out heavy blankets for heavy towels so we can launder them more rigorously.

The front desk area and common supplies like ipads and pens will now be cleaned with hospital-grade wipes regularly.

As always, our in-spa restroom and common area surfaces will be cleaned frequently.

We’ve got hand sanitizer everywhere you turn and guests will be expected to use it before and in some cases, during services. We will do the same!

We’ve always had an amazing evening cleaning employee, she’s back and continues to deep clean our treatment spaces each night.

Employees won’t work sick, please don’t visit us when you’re sick!

I can’t stress this enough, we’ll need guests to cancel when they are even a bit sick. We’ve always asked clients to do this, but it is a matter of utmost importance now. We are waiving cancellation fees for any amount of notice if guests cancel for COVID19 reasons.

If our employees are at all under-the-weather or have been exposed to COVID19 in or out of work, we will cancel or reassign their services until we have more information. We’ll be erroring on the side of caution, so please understand if this impacts your service.

We’ve got a detailed plan for testing, tracing, and notification if an employee is suspected of having COVID19 or has been exposed.

All guests must agree to contact us ASAP if they learn they may have had COVID19 at the time of a visit so we can follow our testing, tracing, and notification protocols while maintaining confidentiality.

We are temporarily asking all guests to complete a COVID19 intake prior to all sessions. We appreciate your patience as this quick form will help make everyone (including YOU) safer.

Understanding health risks after COVID19 recovery or with lesser understood symptoms

The last thing that’s kept us on our toes with our reopening preparation is reading up on potential contraindications with some of the vascular symptoms and issues caused by COVID19 and what that could mean for our services.

Our massage therapists will be asking additional questions of people who have had COVID19 to check for potential modifications they need to make due to blood clotting and other vascular challenges.

All of our providers will will be on the look out for skin changes and potential symptoms on the extremities and toes.

We are committed to continuing to read and research the latest information on how we can help people who have recovered from COVID19 in the safest way possible.

Thank you, if you’ve read this far, you’re probably as concerned as we are about health and safety. If you have any questions before or during your session, please let us know. We’re eager to serve you again and we are sincerely grateful for your patience as we start over and continue to fine tune our processes in this ever-evolving situation.

Predicting the future for our spa

I wish we had a crystal ball to tell us exactly what things would look like 3 months, 6 months, and a year from now for spas. All we have have to go by is ever-evolving information from trusted health authorities and advice provided to other other health professions. We’re closely monitoring countries that are further down the road in battling the COVID19 pandemic.

We’ve been doing the heartbreaking task of cancelling all appointments on our books through July (and will likely continue to do so further out.) Realistically, I’m not sure if we can open in any safe capacity by July. When we do open, the existing appointments on our books won’t match the new realities of our schedule. I promise, WE WILL REOPEN.

We aren’t sure of every safety measure we’ll need to implement, but these are a few ways the spa will be a bit different for awhile:

  • The biggest change: Two distinct teams that don’t overlap any shifts, providers, or receptionists. We see this in some essential offices like veterinary clinics. This ensures that if a team member is exposed to COVID19, we won’t need to 100% close our spa again. We can at least operate at half capacity, especially if widespread testing isn’t available.
  • We will offer longer hours to reduce the number of employees and guests in the spa at a time, increase the time between services, and stagger check-in and check-out times to keep you safer.
  • We won’t be able to book groups of more than two until the COVID19 threat is under control.
  • You can still shop online to save a trip into the spa!
  • We will require masks for providers and guests, which could pose a challenge for some services (facials, lip waxing) if can’t work around a mask.
  • We may have to do enhanced health screenings and lean into low-contact check-in/check-out (online intakes, cards on file, etc…) options.
  • We’re researching alternatives to table warmers. While they’re under multiple layers of linens, they can’t be cleaned in the way we’d like when facing a pandemic. We will not use them until the risk of COVID19 has passed or until we find a safe solution.

It isn’t all doom and gloom!

Check out this video I filmed with my dear friend, Tricia Rivas, owner of Trixie’s Salon and founder of the Dreamcatcher’s Foundation. When this is all over, you’ll see some positive changes in the spa and salon professions.

Spa professionals like massage therapists and especially estheticians have been named some of the professions with the highest risk of contracting COVID19 at work. I would rather wait to open until we have a better idea of safety modifications than put my employees, their families and guests at risk to make money. This might mean we don’t open the day we’re given the legal “go ahead.” I PROMISE we will be back and you can rest assured that when we return, it will be with a very comprehensive plan for safety.

Too much of a good thing?

We know that there are many benefits to our services and the products people can use at home for self care, but sometimes it is possible to get too much of a good thing!  Here are a few times when it is best to ease up during a treatment or during self care at home.

1: Foam rolling

Foam rollers are great for relieving aches and pains, for myofascial release, and stretching but sometimes people over-do it and can cause injury or tissue damage for excessive or overly aggressive foam rolling.  If foam rolling hurts, you might be bruising or causing tissue inflammation.  Check with your chiropractor, a trusted massage therapist, experienced trainer, or physical therapist for tips.

2: Exfoliation

Who doesn’t love the smooth feeling of their skin after a good facial exfoliation?  Once or twice a week is the perfect amount to exfoliate, but if you do any more than that, your skin can become dry, irritated, and overly sensitive.  Ask an esthetician if you aren’t sure whether you are exfoliating the right amount or with the right consistency product.

3: Pressure during a massage

A bit of “good hurt” is helpful, but massage pressure that causes pain, makes you tense up, or grit your teeth is counterproductive and can actually bruise your tissue and create inflammation.  The ideal working pressure for your body to actually create lasting change (at least when dealing with trigger points) is about a 6-7 out of 10 on the pain scale.  More than that and the body tenses up to defend against the pain, causing even more tightness, potentially bruising and injury.

In most cases, if you are told by a therapist that massage has to “hurt to work” or if you experience soreness that lasts for more than a day after a massage, you might need to try a different therapist or treatment style.  Please, don’t go into a massage and issue your therapist a challenge stating “Bet you can’t hurt me!” because we do not WANT to hurt you and we’d rather give you a great massage than spend 20 minutes explaining why we shouldn’t just pummel you with an elbow.

4: Aromatherapy

Essential oils are a great way to help ease stress, boost focus, and relax sore muscles but they should be used with caution and by following the instructions.  Essential oils should not be used “neat” or directly on the skin without being mixed into a carrier oil or cream.  Some oils can cause irritation, over-exposure to oils can cause side effects (any of us who have made too many blends and bath products at home in a sitting can attest to the headaches, insomnia, or other side-effects we’ve experienced from over-exposure), and some oils are not safe for all health concerns.  The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy has some great safety info on their site.

 “Throw moderation to the winds and the greatest pleasures bring the greatest pains.” ~Democritus