When can I get a massage in 2021? What the latest update means for your area

When can massage therapists work again in your area? Here are the latest updates for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

woman having a massage
(Image credit: Prostock-Studio via Getty Images)

We don't blame you if this year already has you thinking, when can I get a massage again? While they're are a rare treat for most of us, R&R was well and truly been put on hold last year, and so many are wondering when they'll next be able to treat themselves.

For those who have spent most of the last 12 months working from home at makeshift desks with bad posture and back pain, few things would be more welcome than a proper massage right now.

And although fellow household members or partners might be able to do a half-decent job of temporarily loosening any knots, it never quite compares to professional beauty treatments.

Now that Boris Johnson has unveiled his "roadmap" for England's exit from lockdown, when will massage therapists be able to work again? Keep reading for the latest updates across the UK.

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When can I get a massage in England?

In England, hairdressers and personal care services such as nail salons will be able to reopen from the 12th of April at the earliest, under Boris Johnson's "roadmap" for exiting lockdown. This is the second of four stages, all of which will be implemented five weeks apart, with the final stage seeing the disbanding of all limits on social contact and the rest of the economy reopen from the 21st of June.

Each stage is subject to four criteria being met, including the continued rollout of the vaccination programme, hospital admissions and Covid deaths continuing to decline, and no new variants of the virus threatening the ease of restrictions. If this criteria is not met the reopening date will be pushed back, as will those of the following stages to keep a five week gap between each.

Massage therapists have been unable to work since the start of January, when the country was put into its third national lockdown.

Wearing full PPE (personal protective equipment), Theresa Shangazhike, manager of the Spa Experience Wimbledon, gives her client, Lauren Shine a facial treatment in Wimbledon, south London on August 15, 2020

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When can I get a massage in Scotland?

In Scotland, the current lockdown has been extended until at least the beginning of March, with Nicola Sturgeon set to publish the country's own "roadmap" for exiting lockdown in the coming days. 

Mainland Scotland has been under a country-wide lockdown since the 5th of January, with all beauty services having been closed since then.

When can I get a massage in Wales?

While there's no word on when restrictions in Wales will be eased, First Minister Mark Drakeford has expressed hopes to be able to lift some restrictions on non-essential retail around the 15th of March – although there's no word on what would be lifted or if it would include beauty. The next review of rules is due by the 12th of March.

Wales is currently under level four restrictions, the equivalent of lockdown, meaning all personal care services like massages have been off the table since then. The country has been in lockdown since the 20th of December, with all beauty services closed from that date. 

Beauty and massage therapist Joanne Moores, who is still unable to work, poses for a portrait in her treatment room at Serephina Holistic and Wellbeing Centre

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When can I get a massage in Northern Ireland?

In Northern Ireland, the current lockdown has been extended until at least the 1st of April, with massages and other beauty services off-limits until at least then. A review of the current rules is due on the 18th of March, but it's not clear how soon any changes will be made regarding beauty services. 

What safety measures will be in place when massage therapists open again?

Last year the Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT) confirmed in an online statement that while there was initially no sector-specific advice from the government, massage therapists must now: "follow guidelines and announcements issued by their local government and authorities, which are being updated on a regular basis."

This includes wearing PPE, ensuring customers wear face masks and regularly cleaning surfaces and equipment. 

The government's guidance for "people who provide close contact services, including hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists" includes the following 'priority actions' that they must follow:

  • Complete a Covid-19 risk assessment (available at gov.uk)
  • Clean more often
  • Ask your customers to wear face coverings
  • Make sure everyone is social distancing
  • Increase ventilation
  • Take part in NHS Test and Trace
  • Turn people with coronarivus symptoms away
  • Wear a visor and mask
  • Keep clients apart
  • Help your staff maintain social distancing
  • Communicate and train (staff and customers)
  • Keep music and other background noise to a minimum

Other steps that have been encouraged in salons include the following.

  • Non-contact temperature checks
  • Hairdressers will wear masks
  • Disposable gowns and towels
  • “Sneeze screens” at the front desks
  • Pre-payment before arrival to limit face-to-face interaction at reception
  • All food and drink banned
  • Magazines removed and waiting areas prohibited
  • Conversations to be kept to a minimum

How to book a massage near you

If you're already Googling 'massage therapist near me' for when your local treatments reopen, you're in luck, as you can already browse appointments for when restrictions ease in your area.

Sites like Treatwell offer search features that point you towards massage places in your area, with appointments available on the same day. You can choose from various types of massage, from deep tissue to Swedish or hot stone.

Find out more

Alternatively, head to a spa-specific site like Spa Seekers, which can filter your searches for spa breaks, deals, weekends and more. Perfect if you're looking to get away for a few days when you can!

Find out more

Lucy Abbersteen

Lucy is a UK-based beauty journalist who has written for the likes of Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, OK!, Women's Health and more, as well as contributing to woman&home. Her work covers everything from expert skin and haircare tips to the latest product launches and the show-stopping beauty looks spotted backstage at London Fashion Week. During her career she's interviewed some seriously famous faces, from Little Mix to Drag Race royalty The Vivienne, as well as chatting to the industry's leading hairdressers, dermatologists and make-up artists.