Help Freed Bodyworks Survive the Pandemic

Healing and Therapy Space Practicing Radical Inclusion in Danger of Closure

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Freed Bodyworks has survived four moves and a fire, but is struggling to make it through the pandemic. Courtesy: Freed Bodyworks

Since COVID-19 hit, many District businesses have found themselves in precarious positions. Some have been lost. Freed Bodyworks (1337 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) closed on March 16th, and say that they are hanging on by a thread. Now, they’re reaching out to the community for help in weathering the storm of the pandemic. Owners Frances Reed and Jessica VonDyke have started a GoFundMe to raise money to preserve their unique space.

“Closing our doors is just not an option we are willing to accept,” wrote Reed and VonDyke in an email to clients.

To avoid closing permanently, Freed depleted financial reserves, borrowed additional money, applied for grants and cut costs wherever possible. The massage therapy and healing space reopened at 50 percent capacity on Aug. 2 with enhanced safety measures. “It took costly upgrades and logistical challenges to ensure client and therapists safe,” Reed and VonDyke wrote, “but our awesome team buckled down, together, and figured it out.”

The two say that while it is good to be back to seeing clients and doing healing work, the District limit on capacity to 50 percent, coupled with the personal concerns of clients and therapists have made it impossible to cover their overhead costs.

Freed Bodyworks embraces the many ways that people’s bodies don’t conform to societal norms: gender identity, race, weight, culture, sub-culture, employment, ability, illness, age, and more. The bodyworkers, energy workers, and mental health providers understand the barriers of judgment that have kept many people out of healthcare and healing practices of all types.

Reed founded Freed Bodyworks in 2011 as a solo practice. As business boomed, Reed and VonDyke partnered up, expanded services and moved to the present location in 2015. Staff offers massage therapy, whole-body wellness education, movement classes, and holistic healing services. But now the welcoming, healing space is in jeopardy. “It’s humbling to ask, but we need your help to stay in business,” the owners wrote.

Over the last nine years the company has learned how to stretch a budget, the two wrote on the GoFundMe page. “We’ve survived 4 moves, 2 corrupt landlords and a fire,” they wrote, “so, rest assured we’re being as resourceful as we can, but we need help filling the deficit that builds each month between revenue and overhead.”

The goal is to raise $100,000 to keep Freed Bodyworks financially stable for 12 months while waiting for the national response to the pandemic to allow all people to be comfortable giving and receiving bodywork.

You can help Freed Bodyworks survive the pandemic by donating to the GoFundME now. Visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-Freed-Bodyworks-survive-the-pandemic