For LGBTQIA+ Clients

My practice was born out of a negative experience I had with a massage therapist making a homophobic comment while I was on the table. I decided I wanted to provide a safe space for people who need it the most, including those in my LGBTQIA+ community.

I have seen firsthand how much my trans and gender nonconforming friends struggle with finding safety in day-to-day situations, and I can only imagine how complicated it would be for them to schedule a massage. Would the massage therapist respect their pronouns? Know what kind of draping to use? Be inclusive of all bodies on their table?

Sadly, this isn't a given. Most massage therapists don't have the education, or even the sensitivity, to properly address the needs of LGBTQIA+ clients. Which is especially unfortunate considering how badly many of us need massage therapy to address physical issues such as tight muscles, pain from binding, or post-operative swelling, as well as emotional issues stemming from the impacts of trauma and structural oppression.

Here are several ways in which I modify my practice to fit the needs of LGBTQIA+ clients:

Intake

At your first appointment, I do a short verbal intake, asking you basic, non-invasive questions like: Have you had a massage before? Are there areas of your body you want me to focus on or stay away from? Do you have any recent injuries or acute health conditions I need to know about? Some massage therapists ask you to fill out forms that include highly personal (and frankly, irrelevant) questions about gender and medications. I don't need to know the specific medications you're on unless it affects how your body will respond to massage (think heart medications, blood thinners, or pain meds). I don't need to know details about surgeries or treatments unless they are relevant to your session (if, for example, there is post-operative pain or swelling, or the operation was very recent). I will ask you about your pronouns (I use she/her/hers), and I encourage you to let me know if your pronouns have changed since I saw you last. My booking software also allows you to schedule using whatever name you want to go by that day. 


Draping

In massage school, we are taught to drape men and women's bodies differently, which forces us to make inappropriate decisions based on our assumptions about their bodies rather than their identities (because we aren't allowed to expose breast tissue, for example, but can work on an undraped male chest). To combat this, I use gender-neutral draping with all my clients, keeping the chest fully covered. If I need to work on your pec muscles, I will ask you to adjust the drape to your comfort level. 

You are always welcome to wear as much clothing as you need to feel comfortable. I will either work over your clothing, or avoid that area of your body, depending on your comfort level. During 60-minute massages, I work on the back, legs, feet, arms, hands, shoulders, and neck. During 90-minute massages or by request, I may add in work on the glute and pec muscles, which requires slightly modified draping. These areas are often overlooked and underworked, but it is always up to you to decide. I do not generally work on the head or stomach, and I never work near the groin or on breast tissue. With all my draping, I uncover only the area of your body that I am working on.


Confidentiality, Respect, and Consent

Everything that is said in my office stays in my office. I don't discuss my clients, disclose their names, or reveal any details of their sessions with anyone else. Any client notes I keep are password-protected. As long as I am not worried for my safety or my client's safety, I maintain complete confidentiality.  

The basis of my practice is healthy, respectful boundaries. This is reflected in the relationships I have with my clients, in the dialogue we have before or after your session, and in the work we do on the table. You are always in charge of a session. Unless you are asking me to do something I cannot ethically or legally do, I will listen to your requests. Every part of a bodywork session, from the amount of pressure used to the areas of the body worked on to the volume of the music, is within your control. I encourage my clients to ask for what they want and need. I respect all my clients, and know that as they are the ones inhabiting their bodies, they are the experts on what feels right. 


Bathrooms and Accessibility

My office building has two gender-neutral bathrooms. There is a code on the doors, which will be included in your booking email.

My office is on the second floor of a building in downtown Davis. There is plenty of car and bike parking, and it is close to a Unitrans stop and the Amtrak station. It is within walking distance of UC Davis. There are two steps into the building, and then there is an elevator available to access the second floor. 


Tipping and Payment Policies

I don't expect tips. I want to be a regular, affordable part of your self-care regimen, and I find that the anxiety surrounding whether or not to tip and how much can be a deterrent for clients. I also know that cost can be a barrier to getting regular bodywork, and members of our community often don't have a lot of discretionary income.

I accept credit card, cash, check, and Venmo. I offer student discounts and prepaid package discounts. I also offer a limited number of sliding scale sessions with no questions asked.


Cranial Sacral Balancing

I also offer Cranial Sacral Balancing, which is an awesome alternative to massage therapy. It is restorative work focused on guiding your body towards releasing held energy and back into positions of comfort. It is done clothed, and it is far less physically stimulating than a massage. We are encouraging a parasympathetic shift away from fight or flight in your nervous system, so I use long holds, small movements, and gentle traction instead of sweeping massage strokes. It can help bring you out of your head and into the safety of your body in a controlled, gentle manner.