Bodies are my Job

Posted on June 26, 2022 by Allissa Haines

As a massage therapist I, quite literally, handle bodies. I believe that every body deserves access to safe, skilled touch. I believe it is my job to help people feel comfortable, at ease, and safe in their bodies. It’s my mission to assert that how our bodies exist in this world is morally neutral.

I’m gonna say that again: Your body’s age, shape, size, color, and abilities are all morally neutral. None of these factors determine your worth as a person or your worthiness of care.

I also consider it my job to help people learn to advocate for themselves in healthcare environments and all spaces of their lives, to have agency and authority over what outside forces affect their bodies.

At the same time, we live in a world where agency over one’s body is a political issue. We live in a world where Black people are denied pain relief care at a much higher rate than white people, and dermatology diagnosis is taught on primarily white skin. Until fairly recently, drug trials were only done on white male bodies. And still, heart attacks in women are frequently misdiagnosed as anxiety and the equipment we use to diagnose heart attacks does not accurately examine the smaller blood vessels that are most often the issue in women. 

We live in a country with the highest rates of maternal death in the developed world, and it’s 3 times higher for Black women. The second leading cause of maternal death in the US is homicide. And we’re quickly losing more and more healthcare options that allow us to determine our own health and futures.

We live in a world where trans people are denied gender-affirming care and parents who seek care for their trans kids are being reported to child protective services and law enforcement. 

All this to say, caring for all bodies is my job, and I take that seriously. Advocating for bodies to be affirmed and cared for regardless of age, shape, size, color, or ability, regardless of orientation or gender identity is important to me and I want to walk the walk here.

To that end, 10% of my gross profits for June will be donated to The Trevor Project, an organization with the mission to end suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning young people. Another 10% will be donated to the National Network of Abortion Funds, serving women all over the country seeking abortion care. If you feel so moved and are able, I hope you’ll do the same.