Blind Belpre woman pursues career in massage

Photo by Jess Mancini Licensed Massage Therapist Courtney Hellein, 22, who opened Seeing Hands Massage in January, has been blind since birth. She graduated from Washington State Community College in 2015 and runs the business from her parents’ home in Belpre.

BELPRE — Blindness hasn’t prevented a Belpre woman from achieving a goal.

Courtney Hellein is a licensed massage therapist who opened Seeing Hands Massage in January.

“The only thing different about me is I’m blind,” said the 22-year-old Washington State Community College graduate.

Hellein, who graduated from college in 2015, operates her massage therapy business in a treatment room in her parents home in Belpre. Occasionally, Hellein said, she’ll go to the client, but generally clients call 304 893-7707 and arrange for an appointment.

The lack of sight has encouraged development in other senses, including hearing and particularly feel. Clients will comment about her hand strength, she said.

“I’m surprised so many people like me to do a deep-tissue massage,” Hellein said. “And that’s a workout for me, too.”

A regular massage is $50 and a deep-tissue session, which takes about an hour, is $60. She will later offer stone massages where heated rocks are placed on strategic points on the body.

“It’s relaxing,” Hellein said.

Hellein has been blind since birth. She was born premature and an infection affected her eyesight.

“That caused me to be blind,” Hellein said.

It hasn’t stopped her, neither in life nor in academics, because of the values instilled in her by her parents, Brian and Lori Hellein.

“Mom and dad are amazing,” said Hellein, who graduated from Belpre High School in 2013.

“They never treated me any different,” Hellein said. “They always said I can do whatever I wanted to do.”

Two teachers at Washington State were also of great help, Brent DeWees and Frank Marasco, she said. A model skeleton aided in her instruction.

“I had great teachers,” Hellein said.

“They both took time out of their day to make sure I understood and knew what was going on.”

Hellein said she learned a lesson growing up, that a person has to be their own advocate and speaks up when needed. It’s a lesson that will benefit everyone, she said.

“I learned that early on,” she said. “That will get you the farthest.”


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