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The blind man who’s perfected the art of shiatsu massage

By Kennedy Gachuhi | Published Wed, February 14th 2018 at 10:26, Updated February 14th 2018 at 10:36 GMT +3
Mr Joseph Njuguna, 35, who went blind 10 years ago earns a living by offering massage to the elderly and sick. [Joseph Kipsang/Standard]

Joseph Njuguna cuts an inspiring figure. At 35, he’s built a massage therapy business along Nakuru’s busy Kanu Street that draws a steady stream of clients.

And while that’s noteworthy enough, what makes Joseph really stand out is how he overcame losing his sight at 25. Joseph sunk into depression, which prompted his parents to take him to a rehabilitation centre. Here, he got life-changing training that’s made him prouder of the person he is today than of who he was before losing his sight.

“Losing my sight felt like the worst thing a person could go through. At 25, most people are focusing on settling down. At the time, I was running a small business and had a two-year-old son,” says Joseph.

At the rehabilitation centre, he was introduced to a Japanese therapist who trained him on shiatsu, a type of massage that’s best done in the dark as it requires great concentration and a strong sense of touch.

Mr Joseph Njuguna, 35, attending to a client at his palour at Kanu Street in Nakuru on August 30, 2017. [Joseph Kipsang/Standard]

Pressure points

The shiatsu massage has its origins in Japan and involves kneading various pressure points on the body to correct imbalances and alleviate common ailments and conditions.

“A shiatsu massage requires the masseur to have a very strong sense of touch, as it mainly works by relaxing the muscles that are deep seated in the body. The blind are best placed to do it since their touch is more enhanced to compensate for the lack of sight,” says Joseph.

The massage regulates nervous system activity and stimulates the circulatory, lymphatic and hormonal systems, making it a reliable solution to joint aches, sprains, arthritis, neck and back pain, sinusitis and bronchitis.

After his training, in 2010, Joseph opened his massage therapy business that he says has performed beyond expectations.

“I get an overwhelming number of clients who make me work all week. In a day, I’ll see between eight and 12 clients. Some of them are bed-ridden due to old age or sicknesses and can’t make it to my premises, so I make home visits.”

Joseph charges adults Sh1,000, while children pay Sh300 per 40-minute session.

Joseph, who now has two children, describes the business as his “financial pillar”.

“My children make me work hard to ensure that they are provided for. I’m also proud of my wife whom I met before I lost my sight and who has always stood by me. I, however, miss seeing their faces, but I’m sure they are beautiful.” 

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