We love finding local businesses that share our client-first philosophy—like Horizon Massage Therapy in West Seattle, which offers therapeutic and relaxation massage for healing and thriving.
We interviewed founder and owner Marian DiPerna about her massage practice, how she originally found us, and how she was able to use her convert part of her home into a massage studio.
Real Estate Gals: We love that your massage practice creates “a safe, supportive environment that maximizes healing and relaxation.” Can you speak a little about how you accomplish that?
Marian DiPerna: We create a safe, healing environment by always being present and attuned to our clients’ needs. We have the utmost respect for all people’s bodies and the unique needs each person brings to the room and want to honor that. No one should ever feel uncomfortable with their body when receiving massage. We also believe in the power of the nervous system to affect our bodies’ ability to heal and thus think that there is a powerful healing potential when blending relaxation with therapeutic work.
REGals: Why did you originally get into massage therapy?
MD: I actually thought on and off about massage school for more than seven years before I finally went. I was in a car accident just a few months after we bought and moved to our house in West Seattle. I had been getting massage before that, but that was my first real experience with therapeutic work and the power it has to help heal from injury. I knew then that I had to stop making excuses and get the training so that I could help others the way I had been helped.
REGals: When and why did you decide to partner with Johnine and the Real Estate Gals to find your home?
MD: Johnine was recommended to us by good friends, and we loved her direct, no-nonsense (but very kind) approach. We’d been renting and were looking to finally buy a home. Johnine was such an awesome resource for us as first-time homebuyers; she educated us, gave us her opinion when we needed it, and stepped back when we needed space to think. I think we’ve since recommended her to a number of friends.
REGals: What were you looking for in a home? At the time, did you imagine it would become a location for your massage practice?
MD: We were looking for a relatively small house, but with garden space—that was a huge part for us—and good bus access, since we didn’t have a car then. At the time I had no idea I would even be doing massage!
REGals: How did you end up transforming your home into a massage studio?
MD: Our house came with a separate garage that had a workspace attached to it—according to neighbors, it had been the prior owner’s woodworking room where he made, among other things, doll houses! It looked very much like a shop: peg board, giant work tables, etc. The first few years we lived here it was our “store everything you don’t know what to do with” space. We then started clearing it out with the idea to make it an art space for my wife, but at the same time, I was looking for massage room rentals and was very dismayed at the prices. My wife very generously suggested we turn the room into a studio for me. The most major change we did was add a bathroom—I have to have running water to wash my hands and also had to provide a bathroom for clients.
REGals: How did the pandemic affect your practice?
MD: In early 2020 I expanded my practice by adding a couple of people working for me at a different location (within a chiropractor’s office). I’ve kept seeing my clients out of the home office, but expanded because I was turning away so many people. It’s been a weird couple of years to have expanded with the pandemic, but it’s certainly been a learning experience! I still have one (soon to be two) employee working for me.
REGals: How did it feel to work from home as a massage therapist? It’s a very different sort of “work from home” situation than most of us have experienced!
MD: I feel very fortunate to have worked in my studio for so long—I went from a prior career where I commuted downtown every day to my current commute of sixteen steps. It’s also allowed me to keep my overhead costs down pretty significantly. I can’t complain!
REGals: Is there anything else you’d like to say about Johnine or the Real Estate Gals?
MD: We had so much fun working with Johnine—and she put up with us dithering and seeing tons of houses! Her knowledge and her resource network were invaluable to us as first-time homebuyers.
You can follow Horizon Massage Therapy on Facebook.