My whole life I've been a person who lives in discomfort, it's mild sometimes and unbearable at others. Recently I was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and I'm waiting for a diagnosis of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which means my joints are prone to partial dislocation, I bruise easily, and my ill health is exacerbated by stress.
The idea of going to get a massage has always been terrifying for me. As a disabled nonbinary poc the way my body is touched and talked about can make a huge difference to my life. I've been getting massages since I can remember, and Ana is the first person with whom I've felt safe and seen.
With other massage therapists I've always had to tell them to be careful not to dislocate my shoulder, or to bruise my back as the bones show through, they make comments on how I have "the back of an 80 year old" (a direct quote from one therapist) or they comment on how thin I am as if it's a compliment when in reality years of illness have resulted in an inability to gain weight.
Ana talks me through everything she's going to do and employs a type of body neutrality that I've never encountered before. She talks about my body in a way that makes me feel safe and seen, she keeps an eye on my shoulders and knees and checks in with me to make sure my joints feel secure. She works in my binder pain and understands the physical manifestations of mental illnesses that I've never even understood myself. I stepped into one massage session with Ana when my hip was out of place, my knee was clicking and painful and my feet were sore, and when I left I felt like I could walk without discomfort for the first time in months. I couldn't recommend her enough!
Where do I start? I've been coming to Ana for some time now, having never had a professional massage before. As a trans person, I have previously found the idea of a stranger touching my body too overwhelming to even think about, but Ana's inclusive online presence made me feel safe before we'd even met.
When I entered her massage room for the first time, the safety was affirmed straight away. She does her upmost to create an open and calm atmosphere, ensuring she has your consent where it matters and allowing people to just *be*.
I always walk away from my sessions with her feeling relaxed, affirmed and powerful and recommend her to all of my queer friends and acquaintances. She relieves a huge amount of my chronic pain and the physical impacts of a busy life. I am so grateful to be able have regular sessions with her.
Ana is magic.
Being massaged by Ana has been a revelation. As a queer person of colour she is the first massage therapist to ask if it's ok to touch my hair and to take the time to learn how best to do so. She understands that consent is not given the moment you book the treatment, it must be ongoing. I feel nothing but safe and cared for before, during and after my massage.
I have been coming to Ana for a long while now, and find it both a relaxing and energising experience. As a trans non-binary guy with PTSD, I expect to feel uncomfortable, shy and zoned out of experiences where my body is being touched. However, Ana is genuine, understanding, consent-driven and relaxed. We’ve ended up establishing a really lovely relationship and we have a good laugh and a chat when I have massages. Going to Ana has helped me so much with intense binder pain and connected me more to my body and breath.