Recent events have reshaped the lives of millions, if not billions, of people. We are all navigating a new normal with no clear understanding of when that may end or if it ever will. Business owners are facing even greater challenges by trying to figure out how to operate safely and maintain services for their clients and customers.
Co-Founder and CEO Nicola Roach is the co-founder and CEO of Sixth Sense Health and Wellness Center. Because of the coronavirus and stay-at-home orders, she was forced to close her wellness center, but luckily, the business is still able to see patients and clients remotely. The downtown holistic wellness center offers massage therapy, acupuncture, nutrition counseling and other wellness services.
Transitioning to telemedicine was no easy task, but along with her partner, Nick Roach, Nicola found a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability) compliant telemedicine software service. Now, as long as the patient has internet, they can consult with the practitioner via secure video conferencing, texting or voice.
Certain services like massage and aroma steam are not possible through telemedicine, but Nicola’s team is finding creative ways to provide help to their clients. With the West End location, she saw increases in new massage clients and patient referrals from the Department of Veterans Affairs come in before the shutdown. Over telemedicine, her senior acupuncturist and naturopathic doctor, Dr. Chelsea Wynter, is seeing a decreased number of patients than she normally would, but the clients she is seeing are now benefiting from a different type of care and attention.
“One positive is that I get to go into my client’s homes per se, through telehealth,” says Dr. Wynter. “So many of them love for me to see their four-legged family members, maybe some family pictures they’ve gotten or personal touches I wouldn’t be able to see if they came to our Brookstown Avenue wellness center.”
That added touch of personal interaction can really help some clients feel comfortable enough to discuss other concerns or develop plans for the future to aid in their wellness journeys. “The downturn hasn’t broken my spirit,” said Nicola. “I’m still very enthusiastic. I see it as an opportunity to pause, reflect and innovate parts of our business for future enhancement.”
Although the business was granted essential status by the governor’s office recently, she will wait to reopen fully until guidelines are clearer about massage therapy treatment protocols and will focus on acupuncture and other limited contact services. The reopening of her wellness center will be gradual, she said.
Roach said she is disappointed she is not able to immediately continue serving in full capacity but finds some positives in the situation. She was able to finish some continuing education provided by the American Massage Therapy Association, spend more time with family and plan for the future of her wellness center.