YOU JUST NEVER KNOW – I was 31 years old and a single mother to my young daughter Jessica when I lost my vision due to idiopathic optic neuritis. This is when my new journey of visual impairment began. There were many challenges to overcome during this time. I used a white cane as a mobility aid for 13 years. In 2007, with limited job opportunities, I started working at O’Noir, a restaurant that invites people to experience dining IN THE DARK, with service by visually impaired staff. In 2009, I completed a massage program and became a licensed Massage Therapist, a Member of the Canadian Association of Therapist in Complementary Medicine (CATCM). I worked at Spa St-James as a massage therapist for 4 years while following one of my dreams of building my own studio.
THE DREAM BECOMES A REALITY – I opened HANDS that SEE Massage Studio on March 1, 2014. This studio gives other visually impaired massage therapists the opportunity to have an adaptive and understanding place of work, and for clients to get to experience the extra sensory touch of a blind person. I have taken great steps to ensure that the studio is accessible to everyone, including having specialized massage tables for limited mobility clients. I’m trained in Swedish, sports, deep tissue, trigger point and hot stone massage, I’m also a Reiki master. I am a senior massage therapist with an ever growing clientele.
MOVING RIGHT ALONG – I’m now so thrilled to have my first guide dog Tassel with me, and I am honored to be president of ‘Isee paws’ which is the Montreal chapter of guide dogs for the blind. You can watch for me doing some of my favorite things like walking with Tassel, dragon boat racing on team Caravela (all the paddlers are blind) which is sponsored in part by HANDS that SEE. I also enjoy public speaking, socializing, activities with the A.S.A.M (association des sports pour les aveugles de Montreal), and I am especially grateful for my massage practice. I am looking forward to many years of treating all my clients.
MASSAGE THERAPIST – In 2005, Daniel completed his massage therapy training in Sydney, Australia. He is currently registered with the Canadian Association of therapists in Complimentary Medicine (CATCM). He specializes in deep tissue massage and trigger point therapy to reduce tension and chronic pain. Daniel is also trained in Swedish, sports and Zen Shiatsu massage. Daniel has been in practice since moving to Canada in 2006 and joined our studio in May 2015. He is highly regarded in the industry and by his many loyal clients and we are pleased to have him as a valued member of our VIP (Visually Impaired Professional) massage therapist team.
DIETITIAN– Daniel returned to university in 2010 to pursue his other passion of nutrition and completed an MSc in Nutrition in 2013 and a diploma in registered dietetics credentialing in 2014 from McGill University. He is registered as a dietitian with the Ordre Professionnel des Diététistes du Quebec (OPDQ) and the College of Dietitians of Ontario. Daniel was one of the first legally blind dietitians in Montreal, completing his training at McGill University. Daniel helps clients move towards a whole foods plant based eating pattern that is safe, satisfying, sustainable and individualized for their lifestyle. We can put you in touch with Daniel for further information and to organize an initial consultation.
OTHER TIDBITS – Daniel completed his BSc in Biology in 1999, and worked for 8 years with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry of Australia as a Quarantine and Imported Food inspector before losing his vision. He’s an avid sportsman competing on a dragon boat racing team, sponsored in part by HANDS that SEE and paddled by other blind team mates. He enjoys tandem bike riding, kayaking, weight lifting at the gym and he grows organic fruits and vegetables, which he and his family enjoy all year round.
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MASSAGE THERAPIST – Ngalula has been a licensed massage therapist since 2008. She is registered with the Canadian association of therapists in complimentary medicine (CATCM). She completed all her massage courses in St.Hubert, Quebec. She excels and masters in Swedish massage as well as chair massage. Ngalula chose massage therapy as her primary career path because she takes great pleasure in healing and caring for people. She has a positive attitude and soft demeanor which is perfect for a heightened development in her profession. She is a valued member of the HANDS that SEE massage therapist team. She has worked very hard to gain her credentials and her clientele can feel the difference when she implements her therapeutic massage techniques to relieve their pain, tension, and stress. We can see her clients leave the massage studio feeling comfortable, calm, and serene after her treatments.
OTHER – Ngalula (silent ‘N’) is Canadian of Congolese origin, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She finalized her secondary studies in Montreal. She has retinitis pigmentosa which means she is partially sighted although she does use a white cane to get around for mobility as her vision is low. Previously she was also a model for Gala fashion and beauty agency in Montreal.
ON A PERSONAL NOTE – She likes to laugh, watch TV, listen to music, and walk, but her greatest enjoyment is knowing that she has accomplished her pursuit of our client’s health and well-being after a treatment session in studio with her.
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MASSAGE THERAPIST – Yves started training in massage therapy after losing his vision and he quickly discovered a passion for massage. He studied the California massage technique. He chose this modality as his primary technique as he saw many colleagues suffering from stress in his previous profession. They are now some of his most loyal clients and tell him how relaxed and comforted they feel after one of his treatments. California massage is one of the most therapeutic massages for relaxation and stress. He hopes to practice as long as possible.
PREVIOUS – Yves is a former physical education teacher, and worked several years as a schoolteacher. He lost a big part of his vision in 2011 following a tear of the retina. He underwent several operations. He finally completely lost the sight in his right eye. His immune system then attacked his left eye, the doctors do not know why. He still has approximately 5% to 10% vision in his left eye. He definitely had to reinvent himself.
ACTIVITIES – Yves was always very physically active. Since he cannot see, he walks a lot in Montreal. He also like to hike in the forest and enjoys running, these two activities are with a sighted guide. Yves enjoys participating in an improvisation class; he also has been doing tai chi since 2012. He loves reading and is now listening to audio books. Travel is always at the center of his vacations.
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A SURPRISING START – At the age of six years old, the doctors diagnosed me with optic atrophy. This condition prevents me from seeing clearly from near and far. From that moment, I did business with stakeholders C.E.V. in Chicoutimi, who provided me with the various tools to help me with my studies. I did not like my situation or its limitations but managed to always go as far as possible with this disability. I gave my best silent efforts and continued my passion of the time until I earned a Masters in engineering.
SOMETHING WAS MISSING – After a few years in the field of engineering, I realized that something was missing. I was missing the human contact. I redirected myself into the field of health, massage therapy and found my passion. I opted for an approach combining three types of massage, Swedish (to relax the muscle), the Californian (to wrap / comfort) and Eastern techniques (pressure points). It is important and fulfilling for me to help people feel better and this in turn energizes and relaxes me. I currently practice DENEVER relaxing massages and add the movements of other techniques to relieve any tensions observed during my massage treatments. Being a licensed massage therapist is the profession I now choose to excel at and it is very rewarding.
AMAZING ADVENTURES – I want to succeed and enjoy my life, I feel I am on my way. I aim to participate in as many activities as possible, even with my disability. I love to travel and I spent time in several countries in Europe. Sports and movements are very important to me as well. I enjoy dancing, and climbing, cycling, kayaking and hiking. I also like the social meetings and evenings with friends. Feeling a purpose is important, and I am happy to help people to feel better in their bodies, through my massages. There are amazing adventures ahead.
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