Health and wellness services are reopening but be prepared for changes and to wait for your appointment


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Need a massage or acupuncture? You’re not alone. These types of services are in high demand now that they’ve been given the green light to reopen. But customers should expect some changes and to have to wait to get in for an appointment.

Kanoelani Woo, general manager of Massage Envy Hawaii, said she’s hearing more and more people saying they need a massage.

“It’s a common theme across the board,” Woo said.

It’s no surprise. Nothing feels quite like it.

Getting a massage or acupuncture relieves pain and mental and physical stress. Health and wellness businesses are once again able to provide much needed relief after being closed for months, and customers are clamoring to get in for services.

Windward Acupuncture owner Samantha Preis said it’s one of the reasons she opened when she did — so many people were calling.

Preis works alone and has two rooms in her location. She said people are waiting at least five days for an appointment. She’s had to cut her daily clientele almost in half, from 14 to nine people a day, to adhere new guidelines.

“I can’t take in the volume of patients that I normally do because I need to allow time to clean everything between patients. That includes waiting rooms, the handles on doors, the chair or the table they’re sitting at and, of course, the treatment table,” Preis explained.

Massage Envy general manager Kanoelani Woo said they’ve upped their already strict cleaning protocols. Every employee and massage therapist had to go through two days of training to learn the additional sanitation measures and safety guidelines.

“We’re also making sure we have the lowest amount of touch points as possible. Our front desk associates and our employees, they’re the ones who are going to be opening doors for people, making sure that they’re not touching those handles themselves,” Woo said.

Practicing physical distancing is a must, but given the hands-on nature of the service they provide, Preis said it’s a challenge.

“We try to all follow the distancing, staying physically as far away from your patient as you can during the time you’re interacting, but it’s difficult because of the nature of our work,” Preis explained.

So health and wellness businesses are doing their best to minimize interaction between clients according to Heaven On Earth Salon and Day Spa president Lora Nakai.

“Our schedule, we pad it so that we leave the time prior to the service and after the service so that there isn’t any exchange between guests.”

Waiting rooms and guest amenities, like water and tea, are a thing of the past.

Some businesses, like Massage Envy, will ask customers to wait in their cars until their scheduled appointment time and room is ready.

Masks are required for staff and clients. They can be taken off when facing down on the massage table, but must be worn when facing up.

“We’re not required to wear gloves because, for some of us, we do some massage incorporated with the work, so it’s difficult to wear gloves. But there’s a lot of hand washing. There’s a lot of hand sanitizing. That was always part of it anyway but we’re just being more vigilant about it now,” Preis said.

Nakai said they are still providing the same care and techniques, however, there’s just a lot more prep time and time for each service.

Windward Acupuncture is already open. Heaven On Earth Salon and Day Spa and Massage Envy will be open for massage appointments starting Friday.

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