Name: Lawrence Kelson
Business Name: Quiet City Massage
Tell us about your business?
I am a massage therapist with over 10 years working experience, and I’m gay. I am trained in aromatherapy, sports, and deep tissue massage, and more recently Lomi Lomi massage, an ancient sacred Hawaiian technique that is deeply relaxing, sensual and intimate, but not sexual. I can work with single, or a combination of, disciplines in each session which is tailored to suit the individual needs of the client. I work from my home in Putney, and also do out calls by negotiation. I have started offering sessions for individuals or couples who would like to learn some very simple and safe massage techniques that they can share with friends and loved ones.
I offer a warm, safe, non judgemental environment for people to come and be relaxed.
What motivated you to start your business?
Over 20 years ago I was seeing a psychotherapist to help me work through some specific issues that were going on in my life, and it was he who recommended I get some bodywork to compliment the work we were doing. So, I started receiving regular aromatherapy massages which helped on many levels but primarily I became more embodied and confident, and any latent issues I had around touch soon surfaced and dissolved. It was shortly after discovering the efficacy of conscious, informed touch that I began to train as an aromatherapist. Once qualified I set up a practice in Devon, where I was living at the time.
What have been your greatest successes?
It’s hard to view this kind of work in terms of individual successes. Every client I meet is different and carries a unique history. This type of work is generally transformative for people both in the short and long terms. It is always satisfying to witness these changes, even if it is simply to see them leave more relaxed and sleepy than the wired state they arrived in!
What has been your greatest challenge and how did you overcome it?
It’s more about the challenges that clients are dealing with when they come to see me than that I am challenged by who or what comes before me. I have huge admiration and respect for those who come for massage who suffer poor body image which can be common for survivors of sexual abuse for instance. Initial sessions can challenge them intensely while reassurance and constancy is given, and my trust hopefully earned. For most however, the very process of receiving massage can help to ease any challenges they face in their daily lives.
What advice would you give to other businesses in appealing to the LGBT+ community?
Let your inclusivity be known from the onset. Demonstrate your willingness to be a safe, consistent, and reliable ally.