Therapist confident that business will return 'stronger' after Covid restrictions lifted

Joni Lambert, from Costessey, who owns JL Sports and Massage Therapy, which is based at GAIN Fitness in Norwich.

Joni Lambert, from Costessey, who owns JL Sports and Massage Therapy, which is based at GAIN Fitness in Norwich. - Credit: Leah Hallam Creative

A sports massage therapist believes her business will return stronger than ever after she is able to treat people's injuries from April 12.

Joni Lambert, 38, who runs JL Sports and Massage Therapy from a rented room at GAIN Fitness on Guardian Road, Norwich, said: "I'm pretty positive. I know a lot of my clients really well and they are sensible people so reopening doesn't worry me.

"Everyone is very excited, happy and thankful to come back to me. I feel we have reopened however many times before and you have to deal with it as it comes.

"I feel very fortunate that I have got a good business. I think it will be stronger after the dust has settled and has forced me to make changes that wouldn't have necessarily been done before."

She felt appreciated by her clients and was looking forward to fixing people's niggles created by the stress of the past year, homeworking and injuries that could be picked up by people returning to the gym after months of them being closed.

Miss Lambert, from Longwater Lane in Costessey, who has a nine-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl, said she could not reopen during the third lockdown because she was not regulated by the Allied Health medical professional body.

Everyone who works under that body could continue.

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But the registered therapist, who has been running her business for eight years, said: "In January and February this year I would not have wanted to treat people because the rate of coronavirus infections in Norfolk was so high. I felt it would not have been responsible."

She made the majority of changes to her business to keep in line with coronavirus safety restrictions last summer which have cost her thousands of pounds, but she got government and council grant help.

Changes included introducing an online booking system, replacing her treatment couch and replacing pillows with wipeable pillows.

To keep people safe her clients have to fill in a form 24 hours before treatment for track and trace purposes, wear a mask, get a temperature check, use hand sanitiser, bring their own towels and wash their hands.

Miss Lambert also has to wear a visor when treating people above the face and neck and a mask when treating the rest of the body.

She also has to leave 15 minutes between clients to ventilate and clean the room.

"There are such high standards of health and safety. The hardest thing is every time you close you have to rebuild your business. Some people don't realise the impact that has. People also get out of the habit of coming so you have to build that up again," Miss Lambert added.

The massage therapist has used the past year to review her business and will "try to maintain a better work/life balance" from now on and has trained in clinical yoga, which she will offer sessions in.

Contact services, including sports massage therapy business, can reopen from April 12 in line with the government's roadmap of coronavirus restrictions being lifted.