ERIC CHERRY

An Interesting Relationship with Pain

My first private client out of school in 2008 had a lifetime with fibromyalgia. I took work at a chiropractor's office, then a health club. I let people know that I wanted the interesting bodies, and they showed up.

Fibromyalgia, Parkinson's, cancer survivors. Meshes, missing muscles, amputees.

Professional dancers and actors. Sports players, professional and recreational. Mountain climbers, marathon runners, triathletes.

I had no idea when I began that I would come to love my work this much. I take pain away. Sometimes it's for good, sometimes I'm part of a pain management regimen. It is always engaging and satisfying.

I'm also a masochist: I go to dungeons and get severely beaten. I am as open as I can be about this. In my career, I've lost two clients over it. But the benefits to my work as a massage therapist are great: I understand pain on a deep level, and I am difficult to put off by exposure to your experience.

Another benefit: I am comfortable working with people in alternative communities, such as bdsm and sex work. This is a safe space for you.