In 2017, after 6 years as an escort, I hit a wall. I felt I needed  something more and I was struck with the desire to expand on my relationship to the human body and spirit. A friend referred me to a massage therapy program and about one year later I was a proud certified massage therapist (CMT).

I didn’t think it was possible after all I had learned in the adult industry, but I discovered a well of untapped wisdom, deeper intuition and amplified confidence within my own body and others’. Although I currently do not have time to independently practice massage therapy, it has bolstered my life and career significantly.

Not unlike psychological therapy – or the reasons clients pursue our enchanting company – one seeks a professional to facilitate a process of focusing inward toward a  happier, more vibrant life. As you will read, the benefits of massage  therapy are seemingly endless. And while Winter is a trying time for most of us, it is an excellent time to reinvigorate your self-care routine.

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It’s true, weekly or even monthly massages can add up. But before you think, “Too expensive. Next!” and click back over to your Nordstrom shopping cart, consider the real possibility that there is a magic remedy for sleeplessness, postural issues, chronic pain, anxiety, or any combination thereof. I hope that after reading this guide you will view massage in a whole new light and schedule an appointment immediately.

Below are 5 reasons why regular  massage therapy is essential for sex-working-superheroes like us:

Massage is a therapy, not a luxury.

While  I pay my massage therapist out of pocket (and always tip well!), it is becoming  increasing possible to have massage therapy covered by insurance. The medical insurance industry has a long history of resisting the proven medical benefits of massage and other types of body work, but they are slowly budging.  CMTs have a hard time being taken seriously as legitimate healers who have much to offer independently and also work well in collaboration with medical professionals. Yet it is tragedies like the opioid crisis that have drawn attention to massage therapy as a much needed alternative to addictive pain medications.

We’re  taught to associate cost with value and often regard facilitated self-care as an out-of-reach practice for the elite. Falsities like this and the arrogance of the medical industry are why massage therapy is widely misunderstood as a luxury indulgence. On the contrary, there are  hundreds of thousands of people in the Western world pursuing massage  therapy for very real conditions and diseases from insomnia to fibromyalgia.

I train Muay Thai and am at risk for athletic injuries, from which I suffer often. I also struggle with stress and anxiety. So I require a CMT with a specific skill set. I visit her studio 3 or 4 times per month. She has an inspiring arsenal of knowledge in both western and eastern  massage modalities. Not only has she helped me recover from a very painful case of plantar fasciitis and a recurring hip strain, she also teaches me how to remedy these issues off the massage table. A quality CMT will educate you, suggest lifestyle changes and provide at-home tools to address your ailments with more frequency than you can make time for massage appointments.

Because we’re all different, not all massages are the same.

The most common massage modality performed at spas and massage chains like Massage Envy or Equinox is Swedish massage. During a Swedish massage, lotion or oil is applied to the skin as a lubricant so the therapist may perform techniques such as “effleurage,” gliding along the fibers of  the muscle, in the direction of the heart for blood and lymphatic flow. Then there’s “friction,” working across the muscle fibers to break down adhesions or “knots” which restrict blood flow and can lead to muscular injury and other dysfunction.

These techniques and others, when performed with care by a well educated CMT  are truly detoxifying to the body’s muscular system and related systems such the lymphatic, skeletal, nervous, adrenal, digestive and more.

I  am never surprised to learn when a massage client suffering from debilitating anxiety, chronic pain, or concerning amounts of fatigue are significantly relieved or simply absolved of their symptoms after a completing a series of massages with the right CMT.

This is not to say that you should ignore concerning symptoms and make an appointment with a CMT instead of your doctor. Note that all CMTs should know when to say, “this is outside my scope of practice,” and suggest you see a doctor for issues inappropriate for body work. These issues are called “contraindications.”

Search for a CMT –  you will find many have spent several years studying and practicing ancient as well as modern techniques to make the world a better place, one massage client at a time.

Shoulders back, chin up!

As we all know, our dates with clients are only a small part of our job. We drive around to shop, run errands, and generally stay on top of our  game. We also spend countless hours on the computer and phone for  marketing, emails, etc. During these daily activities our arms are  outstretched, our necks down, spine not in the erect position, and so  fourth. Poor posture is a devastatingly common source of chronic pain for many people in the world. Sex workers are no exception.

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Then,  of course, there’s stress and trauma. Out on the town, we use armoring to inform others’ perceptions of us. We hold our bodies accordingly: slouched to not be noticed, crooked to appear aloof, extra arched lower back to accentuate that booty. Persistent, uneven or unnatural holding  patterns may also lead to injury or dysfunction. Get ahead of them with  an assessment from a skilled massage therapist.

Feel good, look good.

Regular  massage won’t simply lower cortisol levels resulting in reduced stress – it’s also really freakin’ good for your skin! There are oodles of clinical research to thumb through regarding the skin regenerating benefits of massage.  A modality currently gaining popularity is Gua Sha, wherein a thin stone tool is used to lightly yet rigorously glide across the skin. This technique brings blood to the surface of your skin and creates a sort of hickey effect. Estheticians and others have been incorporating Gua Sha into their practice to treat premature aging and wrinkles to keep facial skin looking young and plump.

When a CMT  assesses a client, one very important process is to survey the client’s signs, and their symptoms. Whereas as a sign is visible to the CMT  (posture, a bump etc.), only you can feel your symptoms. Symptoms are the invisible pains we carry around often all by ourselves, unable to  share or sometimes articulate to others. This can feel especially true for those of us whom society has shamed and alienated.

A  professional CMT should never introduce sexual comments or opinions about the size or shape of your body unrelated to a necessary aspect of  your massage. Much like how we like to feel informed by our clients’ during a session, it’s important that you speak up about your own needs and desires during a session with your CMT. If you are not satisfied, or if  you feel mistreated during your session, you need to hit the web or ask around for referrals for a new CMT.

After  a massage you should feel more in your body than out. You should feel educated about your needs and you should be glowing with relief knowing  you showed up for you.

It’s all about you, baby.

Affirm  yourself. In our profession, living and working in the modern world is enduring as hell and you should feel very proud. Every single one of us is subject to pollutants, increased risk of physical and emotional harm, and the long term consequences of it all. If anything, sex workers are a population of people *especially* entitled to self care. And don’t you forget it!

Lastly,  don’t forget to hydrate. After your massage, yes, but drinking lots of water prior to your massage is important as well! Especially with rigorous or deep-tissue massage styles, your CMT will have prompted your  muscles to expel some nasty stuff that is now circulating through your blood stream. You may feel a slight headache or some subtle nausea. Water helps you flush the junk out so you may soon feel like a shiny new  detoxified version of you.

You can do it — grab your life and career by the garter straps! We have friends, lovers, families and clients to show up for. The stronger we feel to stand on our own, the greater our  capacity for those who are counting on us to show up wholly for them.