Bronwyn Davies is blind and runs her own massage clinic in New South Wales. She began practising massage eight years ago and has never looked back.
I wanted to move away from working with computers, to working with people, says Bronwyn.
Bronwyn describes the massage course she had to undertake as being very challenging.
There's so much content that's visual. The subject 'anatomy and physiology' was probably one of the hardest. You definitely need sight for that, or a lot of imagination.
Bronwyn thought of clever ways to assist her in her learning. Before starting a new subject, she ensured the teacher was comfortable with her always being the model they demonstrated on in class. This way, she could feel what the teacher was talking about.
I think it's important to have the confidence, or bluff that you have the confidence, to know what you need and make sure that you're provided with that.
She advises students with a vision impairment not to sit in the background. She believes if they don't push themselves forward, teachers may be unaware of a particular student's needs.
Bronwyn's husband bought her tactile anatomy maps. While they weren't specifically designed for people with a vision impairment, she found them helpful in familiarising herself with the skeleton and muscles of the human body. Now the anatomy maps hang on the wall of her clinic.
Starting the business
When she finished her course, Bronwyn was ready to set-up her own clinic.
When I started my clinic, I had a room set up at home. I did a letter box drop but that didn't bring much business in and it was a lot of work. I built a good rapport with a physio clinic and they referred most of my clients to me. I did some web marketing as well.
Bronwyn's business is by appointment only. When she's meeting a client for the first time, she shakes their hand and introduces herself and she does this not only for reasons of courtesy.
That gives me a bit of an idea how tall and friendly that person is. I used to indicate to my clients that I was blind but after a little while I thought 'What the heck?' and I stopped doing that. More often than not, clients don't even know I'm blind.
Bronwyn types up her client's case history on a laptop computer with screen reading software. Then she indicates the massage table and points out the head end.
This way I know where my client is lying, so orientating myself to their body is no problem.
Bronwyn says that being a masseuse is a rewarding career and she encourages anyone interested in the field to go for it.
You meet the nicest people and they end up having a bit of a chat to you. You end up being a bit of a counsellor too. You get paid for doing something you love.