My name is Ana, my pronouns are she/her/they/them and I'm an Advanced Clinical Massage Therapist specialising in LGBTQ+ patients.
My original background is in trauma and after leaving this career behind, I felt this deep urge to seek out softness. Being soothed through safe touch sounded like the softness I needed but as a Queer person with my own experiences around trauma, my body and my identity, I couldn’t find the type of space or practice I was looking for. The “deeper is better” narrative seemed to be the massage world’s version of “no pain no gain” and was at odds with everything I knew about trauma informed work. My gut told me I had realised something important so I decided to train in massage myself and lean into my desire for softness and soothing. Whilst studying to become a Massage Therapist under Michael Gibbons, my work started to take a unique shape.
I began to recognise ways in which not only was massage therapy was inaccessible to the LGBTQ+ community, but how a lack of awareness around trauma and how it impacts the body was preventing the community from receiving safe and embodied experiences of touch. In particular, for Transgender people living in a world which increasingly targeted their bodies and rights, I could see how using inclusive massage therapy could help them reclaim their body. This direction felt good. I never looked back and by the time I completed my case studies, I was practicing nearly exclusively on Transgender patients and leaning into the beginnings of a what became a brand new specialism.
I graduated with a waiting list, a fully booked clinic and became the world’s first MT to specialise in Transgender people. Years on, my clinic is wildly busy, with clients coming in from all over the country and more recently, internationally. I’m now an Advanced Clinical MT, co-wrote on the worlds first qualification in LGBTQ+ specialist manual therapy and anatomy, and won Inclusive Massage Therapy Business of the Year. As my clinic grew, I began to develop my own techniques; built around the needs of my Transgender clients.
Most exciting of all, the softness and soothing I saw was lacking, now exists and I’m proud of my work as a massage therapist and its impact in the LGBTQ+ community.
My work is inclusive, trauma informed and seeks to create a safe environment for LGBTQ+ people to access massage therapy. My patients; the majority of whom are Transgender or Queer, feel they can be themselves and share the story of their bodies honestly and safely. Often, these are stories of trauma, dysphoria, hormone treatments and surgeries which are contributing to physical and emotional pains within the body either through a lack of access to healthcare, complications or simply mounting stress. These issues also can interact with underlying chronic pain issues, creating unique health needs. By helping them feel safe to be themselves within my clinic, massage therapy can be used to help reconnection with the body in a controlled and safe way, and reduce down pains and tensions.
At the root of all my work is the belief that kind, compassionate and safe touch can help heal the physical and emotional pains of our community. No gimmicks, no sales pitches, just affirming and safe touch.
Outside of my work, I volunteer within the LGBTQ+ community for various wellbeing projects and in my spare time, I enjoy writing, art and gardening. I get asked my star sign a lot so for those people, I’m a Double Gemini. I once read that Geminis are known for their curiosity, inventive ideas and enthusiasm. I also once got told I was "the most Gemini Gemini who ever Geminied." Go figure.
Being informed on the physical and emotional impacts of Gender Dysphoria, trauma, hormone treatments and gender affirming surgeries. This is my area of clinical and therapeutic expertise and I regularly contribute to supporting other healthcare practitioners in a variety of fields in understanding Transgender bodies and health needs.
Qualified in pathologies prevalent within the LGBTQ+ community such as Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Hypermobility, Fibromyalgia, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome etc. I'm also experienced in working with these pathologies within a comorbidity. This is whereby an existing health issue is interacting with another to produce unique symptoms. For example, Gender Dysphoria interacting with Fibromyalgia, or a phalloplasty contributing to nerve based pathologies such as Sciatica or Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.
LGBTQ+ inclusive setting and language through out our practice – pronouns, no gendered terminology, access to a gender neutral bathroom and personal; storage box for any clothing or prosthetic items you wish to keep safe during treatment.
LGBTQ+ sensitive and friendly pre-massage consultation. Before any physical treatment, we sit and discuss your body together so as to better understand what you want to get out our work together and what health issues are present. This could be anything from anxiety you are feeling connect to Gender Dysphoria, to a lower back pain following a phalloplasty procedure.
Trauma informed pre-massage consultation whereby we discuss both your physical and mental health. From here we plan out our massage together so that you are informed every step of the way, don’t have to experience massage anywhere you don’t wish to, and feel comfortable with the experience.
Clothing options. Massage can take place with the patient either in their underwear, partially clothed or with no clothes removed at all. We discuss what you feel comfortable with and plan your treatment around this.
Towel options. Similar to clothing, I’m going to give you control over towel placement: nothing has to be uncovered if you don’t want it to be.
Active use of consent through out the session. Even though we have already established what the massage will include, I will check in through out to ensure you are comfortable and let you know what I'm doing to your body and why. This is called active or affirmed consent and helps to calm your nervous system.
Awareness of touch based trauma responses. I’m going to monitor your breathing through out for any signs you are experiencing a trauma response and if this is the case, we can work together to help calm you down and help you feel safe again.