Thu | Apr 2, 2020

Not deterred by the blindness - Spa owner touches lives despite losing sight

Published:Thursday | May 31, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
Blind massage therapist Tamika Curruthers putting her magic touch on client Shenik Francis with assistance from staff members Petagaye Milne (centre) and Jerome Jackson yesterday.
Tamika Curruthers (left), owner of the Emerald Gifted Hands Spa and Wellness Centre and staff Petagaye Milne (centre) and Jerome Jackson with client Shenik Francis, yesterday.
Blind spa operator Tamika Curruthers displays one of the products she uses to bring delight to her customers.
Entrepreneur Tamika Curruthers, who is blind, owns and operates the Emerald Gifted Hands Spa and Wellness Centre at 5 Newleigh Avenue, Cassia Park, Kingston 10.

Tamika Curruthers' world came to a devastating halt after she went blind 11 years ago at the age of 22. Instead of having a pity party, she quickly jumped into survival mode, and today, she is the founder/owner of the Emerald Gifted Hands Spa and Wellness Centre.

The 33-year-old admitted that it was a tough reality to digest but indicated that being the mother of three young children at the time, she had no choice but to become innovative.

"I've been blind 11 years now due to wrong medication. So before I sit down and play dead, I went ahead and got a skill at Heart College of Beauty Services. I started offering massages to my church members and other friends. What I did also was to get a group of us together to get started," she recounted.

"We don't have our own mobile bus just yet. We use the regular taxi services. It's a mobile spa, so we go house to house and we do wellness days and various expos," Curruthers said, adding that she used her own oils - Four in One massage oil and Chocolate Honey Body Scrub.

The entrepreneur, who has employed two other blind persons, has not only been focused on business, but has also ventured into the world of literature. Earlier this month, she launched her first book - From Darkness to Light.

She was quick to point out, however, that the six-year-old company has not been short of its challenges, noting that her disability remained a huge barrier to being taken seriously.

"People love the service, but they want to pay cheap for it because we don't have the posh place just yet. We also face discrimination," she related.

"People wonder how a blind person can massage, but I want to point out that we are properly trained. We did anatomy and physiology, so we know the body. We know the cells and every fibre in the body. We can tell when a person is tense, and we can tell where a person is having the pain without them telling us by just touching.

"It is also very hard to find people who we can trust to manage us. The truth is, there will always be a limit to what we can do, like the book [keeping] work. We can do it on our computer, but we still need eyes. But I live by Philippians 4:13 (a Bible verse), which is my motto," Curruthers stated.

She said that she would not be daunted by the challenges and was looking forward to eventually settling in her own building and expanding the business to other parishes, including St Ann.