Best Spa in DC!

In a rather wonderful turn of events, Freed Bodyworks got a nod from DCist as one of the best spas in DCCheck it out– we’re one of seven listed:

FREED BODYWORKS: This Southeast spot is not a spa. But we’ll include it on this list because they offer, hands down, the best massages in D.C. The staff is not only great at what they do, they listen and care about the person on the table. If you’re looking for a healing massage but don’t require a fluffy robe or champagne, this is the spot for you.


Freed Bodyworks is located at 1426 Pennsylvania Avenue SE.

I feel so fancy. Also, “hands down”? Well played, DCist.

Success Dance!

Success Dance!

Becoming Visible: photos of non-airbrushed massage

Confession: I don’t like photos of myself.

I love photography as a medium, but I feel… uncomfortable… when I see myself on a screen or in a flat image. My face looks strange to me, and I struggle to recognize myself in photos. I’ve strenuously avoided taking professional headshots for previous careers. While I’m friends with very gifted photographers, I’ve always felt trepidation about volunteering my own image for most projects.

I’m trying to get over it.

In part, because of this issue of visibility. At Freed Bodyworks, we work to counter the standard image of massage — both in who clients are, and who practitioners are. We have non-normative bodies, and we work on non-conforming people. Many of my clients are larger than I (and I’m no tiny thing), and many are stronger. We want our space to showcase that our tables are welcoming of people of all shapes and sizes. While many studios and spas are permissive and allow all people to receive care, there’s not a specific invitation. And that, in my eyes, is a rejection.

So when were looking for “massage images” for building our website, we came out empty-handed and frustrated. Nothing looked like us, or heck, looked real.

Go ahead. Google massage. Here’s my image search results:

Massage Image Search

Massage Image Search

I’m seeing:

– slender white women

– detached hands

– flowers.

That’s not me. Those aren’t most of my clients.

I’m not seeing POCs, I’m not seeing larger bodied people, I’m not seeing men, I’m not seeing queer people. I’m not seeing tattoos, chest hair, veins, bruises, birthmarks, freckles, and wrinkles.

Honestly, I’m not seeing all the things that read as ‘human’ to me.

I’m not seeing pregnancy, or the markers of age, or people in transition. I’m not seeing Capitol Hill and Washington DC and the larger DMV.

 I’m seeing the absence of myself, and all of the work I do, and most of the clients I see. I’m seeing us airbrushed away.

That’s not cool.

So, courtesy of Devon Rowland, awesome photographer who you should check out, we did a photoshoot, Frances and their client; myself and my client that day, the excellent Ignacio Rivera, filmmaker, activist, performer, and artist. I’m happy to let you see where (and how) I work.

Here’s some of the shots (the rest are here): Continue reading

Lindy Focus Party / Massage Time!

There are some events that you spend most of the year excited for. For some of us, it’s Christmas, or New Years, or Halloween, or a birthday, or that first warm day of spring.

And for me, it’s Lindy Focus.

Lindy Focus - credit Jerry Almonte

Lindy Focus – credit Jerry Almonte

Lindy Focus is the best of times, and the better than best of times. And in my crazy way, I decided to combine my two loves — massage and dance — and do them every day, to their fullest extent. My beautiful, lovely, perfect friend Bee drove my massage table down early, and I’m bringing all the things I need to have the sessions I like to share with my clients.

Click here for sign up logistics — ie. (date, time, length of session)! Continue reading

The Power of Empathy

I found this video incredibly powerful, both in images and ideas. I appreciate Brene Brown’s every word, down to the last line: “Rarely can a response make something better. What makes something better is connection.”
(Her TED talk about vulnerability hangovers and shame is also amazingly inspiring to me.)

Just doing it. (Iron Aries #2!)

In my experience, there are three parts of training:

1. Plan it. *

2. Do it.

3. Record it.

Of these three, I am definitely best at the “doing it” part, and I’m starting to see results. (Thanks, in honesty, to Chris.)

The results do not look at all like this. Because I am a human.


Continue reading


Hi, I’m Aries — I’m a licensed massage therapist and I work here in Washington, DC, predominantly at Freed Bodyworks. This is a collection of my thoughts on health, fitness, pain management, injuries, stress management and self-care strategies.

I see most clients in relation to chronic pain and athletic injuries, including issues such as shoulder injuries, headaches, TMJ, carpal tunnel, low back pain, neck pain, and restricted movement. I also appreciate working with clients to foster relaxation and assist in stress management. I use deep tissue techniques (and “Swedish” techniques) to decrease pain, increase movement, and help people feel more at ease in their bodies. I am in the process of getting my personal trainer certification so I can understand more about exercise physiology, stretching, and fitness.

As a massage therapist, I seek to create a safe, non-judgemental space for all people to receive bodywork. I welcome people of all body types, races, ability, ages, ethnicities, sexualities and gender identities. There are many reasons to seek massage, and I look forwards to creating massages that fit your needs and your body.

You can book a session online here (even for a same-day appointment) to find a time that fits your schedule. For more information, you can call or text me (202) 670-3886, or shoot me an email at aries [at] freedbodyworks [dot] com.

The sad season

As much as I love the holidays, this isn’t always the happiest season. With the days shorter, the light more scarce, and the wind more harsh, most faces around me grow more closed.

I see my friends getting sad. 

This week, a very close friend of mine wrote a powerful piece on depression — Riding It Out — on Disrupting Dinner Parties. I’d strongly recommend reading it all — here’s a section of it:

“I’m scared that my depression will turn me into someone who is not worth loving.

I’m scared of who I become under its influence. Someone who binge-watches vampire TV shows, who never comes out of her room, who can’t bring herself to call her friends or go dancing or write blog posts. Depression strips away all the external markers of my personality. It strips me of my ability to do any of the activities that validate my sense of self-worth, while simultaneously filling my head with a litany of my own worthlessness.

I’m scared that I will ride it out, make it through to the other side, and look around to find that I have lost all of my friends.” Continue reading