Safer Space Massage Therapy
Online booking is available here
Six months ago, Leah Inman dove into a business idea by starting a massage clinic run out of their Fairview home.
"I've always been very entrepreneurial," Inman says. "I love working for myself, making my own hours. And it just made sense for me to try and break into my own massage business."
Inman is a Registered Massage Therapist who identifies as queer and sometimes uses gender-neutral pronouns.
"It's queer-focused therapeutic massage. I really try and cater to folks that maybe don't feel as comfortable in a traditional medical setting," she explains.
In massage school, Inman says some classmates would voice their annoyance with and lack of understanding of the needs of clients in the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
"Being a queer person, it was really hard to see how people talk about queer people. I was sad to see my colleagues or my classmates complain about it or make it seem like it wasn't OK," Inman says.
Upon graduation, Inman began working at Massage Addict in downtown Halifax. But this past February she also opened Safer Space Massage Therapy.
"I just wanted to create a space where I myself would feel comfortable, along with my friends, my queer community," she says. When she first started Safer Space Massage, Inman reached out to consult people in the local queer community on how to make the practice welcoming for everyone.
"As a feminine-presenting white person I wanted to make sure that my space was as comfortable as it could be," she says. Clients "know that when they come here, they're going to be comfortable, their pronouns are going to be correct, their names are going to be correct."
Inman says about 95 percent of her clients identify somewhere on the 2SLGBTQ+ spectrum, and about 60 percent are trans.
"There's really nothing in the Maritimes that specifically caters to queer folks. There are lots of queer-friendly places but I think having a queer-centred business makes it even more comfortable for people," Inman says.
While she's tried to learn as much as they can, Inman says she's always open to improving.
"I've learned and gotten education on how to treat specific injuries, or any dysfunction associated with things like wearing a binder or chest surgery," she says. "Any way that I can make this more comfortable for people, I want to know."
Safer Space Massage sees eight to 10 clients each week, and is gaining new customers every month. Massages at Safer Space are priced on a sliding pay scale—$65 for an hour for first-time clients, with direct billing options available.
"I was expecting to have maybe three or four clients, but even in my first month I had 15," Inman says. "By the end of the year, I want to be just focused here."
Later this month, Safer Space will be partnering with Halifax Pride by offering free massages at the Community Market. Eventually, Inman hopes Safer Space can offer a whole range of wellness needs.
"Physio, chiro, I even have friends who are hairdressers. I think we can really create safer spaces in all different ways," she says. "But for now I'm very happy just seeing where my massage business goes."