PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A local massage therapy business is looking to create a relaxing, calming and stress-relieving environment for members of the LGBTQ community.
Massage therapist Eli Shumaker accepts all patients: able-bodied, disabled, straight, gay, transgender.
Shumaker is trans, and he’s worked in other massage spaces he said don’t understand the LGBTQ community.
“If a couple of lesbians comes in and they’re getting a couple’s massage — not assuming that they’re sisters and they want the door closed — they’re like a couple like everybody else,” Shumaker said.
That’s why he opened Body Euphoria Inclusive Massage Therapy.
In addition to regular spa services, it also specializes in the treatment of those who chest bind, the process of wearing a compression undergarment to flatten breasts.
“What that does is further compresses the ribs and puts the body in deflexion, and you get all the pains everybody sees in the desk body type stuff, you see that amplified,” Shumaker said.
Client Vayl Larkin identifies as a trans-non-binary lesbian and found Body Euphoria Inclusive Massage Therapy after a negative experience elsewhere.
“I have a great deal of body dysphoria and at the time, I wasn’t binding yet and so it was very present,” Larkin said. “So it was just a very uncomfortable, not relaxing experience at all.”
The name of Shumaker’s business intentionally plays off the term body dysmorphia, which is the belief your body is incorrect.
Shumaker wants to release that tension from all his clients.