How to Defend Against Ongoing Health Risks When Providing or Receiving Physical Therapy, Chiropractic, or Massage Therapy Services

Body workers, including physical and occupational therapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists, provide essential services that help people improve their flexibility, strength, and overall wellness while reducing stress—enabling many of us feel and perform our best.

Receiving or providing these services carries an inherent risk of virus transmission, however, given their hands-on and close-contact nature. Still, there are proven ways for providers and their customers or patients to protect their health.

Protecting Body Workers and Customers From Health and Safety Risks

There are many questions to consider when exploring how to safely provide or receive physical or occupational therapy, chiropractic, and massage therapy services given ongoing health risks, including:

  • What are the best ways to clean and disinfect high-contact surfaces, such as check-in desks, massage tables, and other therapy equipment?

  • Should customers wear PPE when receiving physical therapy or chiropractic services?

  • What health and safety measures are needed to address new virus variants?

With these questions in mind, AIHA has created this “Healthier Workplaces and Schools eBook” for proven strategies to help protect body workers and customers from the health risks they face.

The guidance documents borrow from the latest advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and expert advice from leading health and government organizations.

The guidelines share actionable steps and recommendations to protect physical and occupational therapists, chiropractors, and massage workers and their customers, including information on the following key areas:

How employers and body workers can protect themselves and visitors from health risks:

  • Ventilation considerations to improve airflow, including how to position pedestal or hard-mounted fans.

  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting practices, including considerations for instruments, weights, bands, and calipers.

  • Physical distancing strategies to separate employees and customers when possible

  • Waste and laundering guidance.

How visitors and guests can protect themselves:

  • Personal protective equipment recommendations, including whether to wear a face covering or mask when receiving a massage or physical therapy services.

  • Strategies for limiting the need to use shared materials like pens when completing necessary paperwork.

  • Self-monitoring practices and how to know if you should stay home.

Additional Body Worker Health and Safety Resources

To access more help and resources to understand and avoid health risks associated with physical and occupational therapy or chiropractic services, we recommend you explore the following resources and networks.

Resources by Type


Healthier Workplaces and Schools eBook

The recent pandemic has taught us many important lessons about the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19, RSV, and measles in indoor environments. As a result, we must take advantage of what we have learned to help ensure our places of work are and continue to be safe places for our workers, customers, and communities. Many of the steps you can take to help keep buildings and the people in them safer and healthier are simple and effective and can be adjusted to meet the current situation or infectious disease risk that exists. In this e-book, we will walk you through the different approaches to help mitigate the risk of spreading airborne infectious diseases depending on your workplace setting.