Keep our Licensed Spa Professionals back to work, and deemed as essential in Virginia!

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Good day All! The purpose of this petition is to:

1. Have Licensed Massage Therapy be deemed as “ESSENTIAL” in the case of another shut down in Virginia. To include licensed Massage Therapists who have completed schooling and taken NCBTMB or MBLEX for state licensure, and specifically exclude unlicensed bodyworkers who have not received state required training. 
2. To allow Licensed Aestheticians to resume facial services immediately and be deemed as “ESSENTIAL” workers now and if another shutdown occurs.
3. To allow the licensed providers who are not comfortable working, or do not feel they are adequately equipped to operate safely to be allowed to stay home, and fair financial compensation be secured either through their employer or the state. No one should be forced to work if they do not want to, however those of us with the means and education to provide a safe space that want to work should be allowed to.

Below you will find personal letters from Licensed Massage Therapists, Licensed Aestheticians, and our clients making the case as to why we are essential, and why our services are essential. We are medical professionals and are licensed as such. 

Please note, letters from clients will not be included in the public petition to protect our clients privacy, however will be included in the final mailing to the Governor. 



To whom it may concern:

As a Licensed Massage Therapist, Licensed Master Aesthetician, Certified Natural Health Practitioner, and most importantly a mom in the state of Virginia I write to you today in hopes of being heard. I am also hopeful that appropriate action be taken to ensure that I am able to practice my trade and provide essentials for my family.

I FEAR deeply that another shut down of “non essential” businesses is coming in Virginia, and I FEAR being able to pay my bills daily. The current restrictions on my industry have affected my family greatly. At this time although I am allowed to perform massage within restrictions, I am still not allowed to perform facials. I charge $95/ hour for a massage, however I charge $130/ hr for a facial. Additionally most clients who come in for a facial spend an average of $200 to $400 additionally on products, so with the current restrictions I am making ¼ of my regular income. 

I hope you are open to hearing and acknowledging why I am essential. To my clients I am very essential. 

For example one of my clients who sees me for sciatica owns an essential fuel company. Without my massage he suffers severe pain and he cannot work. The pain relief I provide to him via a combo of sports massage and neuromuscular therapy keeps him going. According to the guidelines during the last shutdown, he was able to go see a doctor and get prescribed opioids (which are highly addictive), and that was considered “essential”, however seeing me for natural pain relief was considered “non essential”. 

Furthermore as an Aesthetician, I had a 15 year old female client who was so uncomfortable in her own skin, suffering with acne she considered suicide prior to seeing me. I was able to clear her skin without her being put on the usual birth control or spironolactone (both with potentially awful side effects) that would likely have been prescribed by a doctor, and help her love herself again. To her I am very essential. 

Yesterday at my office I worked an entire shift (only providing massage, as facials still are not allowed) wearing an N95 mask with a cloth mask over top, as dental hygienists are doing. Additionally I have had a REME HALO 24V UV Light Model H-24 in Duct Air Purification unit installed within my HVAC system, that utilizes UV light to kill bacteria, funus, and viruses within the air. We clean every non porous surface with Citrus 2 in between each client. We are taking every precaution that other medical professionals are taking. There is no reason that Aestheticians should not be allowed to perform facials. 

 If dental assistants are allowed to clean teeth, and considered essential, licensed aestheticians and massage therapists should also be considered essential. To be clear, those who are uncomfortable working, should not be forced to work, however those of us with strong immune systems, and in good health who want to work and are willing and capable of protecting ourselves and our clients should be allowed to work.  

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Brandi M. Bovell

Old Mechanicsville Health Spa, LLC

Licensed and Insured Massage Therapist

Licensed and Insured Aesthetician

Certified Natural Health Practitioner

Business Owner

8094 Mechanicsville Turnpike

Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Office: 804.525.4038


To whom it may concern,

I am writing to you to express my concern with my way of life being deemed “non essential.” I am a Licensed Massage Therapist and business owner in Henrico, VA. I have been successfully practicing my profession for 8 years. I love going to work everyday. Recently, due to Covid-19, my skill set was deemed non essential and unnecessary. This was a severe blow to my livelihood. The stress created from this situation was overwhelming.

I would like to take this opportunity to educate anyone willing to listen as to why exactly Massage Therapy is in fact extremely essential, including in the midst of a pandemic. On the very basic level, massage stimulates circulation. Circulation is the very epitome of survival. All massage techniques stimulate the lymphatic system. One responsibility of this system is to distribute white blood cells throughout the body. Of course white blood cells are our natural immune defense system. 

Regular massage supports a healthy lymphatic network. This network is also responsible for fluid distribution. When you stub your toe it swells and as healing begins, the swelling decreases and the toe returns to normal. This is an example of the lymphatic system working perfectly. The swelling is to protect the area from more damage, it is a natural defense mechanism. As healing begins, the fluid is dispersed back through the body and voided. An example of the lymphatic system not working properly can easily be seen in pregnant women. When women are pregnant, massage is recommended to increase circulation and decrease swelling in the feet and legs which can lead to a host of problems from deep vein thrombosis to preeclampsia. Massage benefits mom and baby for a productive and healthy pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

Infant massage is growing in popularity in the US and with good reason. A baby who is born to poor circumstances; premature, addiction, birth defects, etc; and receives 15 min of massage a day leave the NICU 7-10 days sooner than babies who do not receive massage. It also stimulates the synapse in the brain 2 weeks sooner and supports improved sleep patterns. It promotes healthy organ function and healthy weight gain. All of these things benefit our babies and a healthy future. 

Geriatric massage supports our elderly population immensely. Along with easing tense muscles, it also increases blood flow to the limbs and improves balance and gait. This decreases risk of fall and devastating injuries that can and do occur more frequently in the elderly population. The increased circulation created through massage also improves sleep quality, gives immune support, helps relieve arthritic pain, and eases stroke recovery. Massage also gives a caring touch which reinforces the feeling of being cared for and comforted. We all want our loved ones in our lives longer and in the best health possible. Massage supports those outcomes.

These are our 3 most vulnerable populations. There are many studies that have repeatedly proven these populations all benefit from massage therapy in huge ways. Massage therapy is governed by the board of nursing. We are required to complete a specific number of continuing education courses in order to maintain our license. We are professionals that live and work by a code of ethics. Massage therapists are deeply caring people who’s only goal is to help. It is in our best interest to protect our clients who support our livelihood. Massage therapy is a serious partner in the medical field and we want to be recognized for our support to this industry, our communities, and our economy. 

Thank you for your time,

Jacqueline Bridges Steadman, Owner, LMT

All Therapeutic Massage

2101 E Parham Rd. Suite 102

Henrico, VA 23228