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This article was published 29/1/2021 (260 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Christine McInnis’s clinic is booked for the first two weeks of reopening.
After that, the Headingley-based reflexologist doesn’t know what her business, Kemper Reflexology, will look like.
She and the rest of Manitoba’s reflexologists have been out of work since the province enacted code red restrictions last November. They, along with other non-regulated health services and hairstylists, have been allowed to resume operations since Jan. 23.
McInnis said she’s glad to be back, but it remains to be seen how the second lockdown will affect her work.
"I get a lot of my business from the community and word of mouth, so it builds on itself," she said.
The referral process stopped when her doors shut.
"It has definitely, I think, stunted my growth as a business," she said. "I will get back there, it’s just gonna take a bit more work."
McInnis switched to practising in a clinic attached to her house a year ago. Not paying typical rent has really helped, she said. That, and government boosts like the Manitoba Bridge Grant.
McInnis said what’s really worried her is the suffering her clients have gone through because they haven’t been able to access her services. Reflexologists base their work on the principle that reflexes in the body map to other parts and organs of the body; they massage their clients to relieve pain.
McInnis sees about a dozen people regularly for chronic health conditions, like hormonal migraines and menopause symptoms. She also specializes in reproductive health and is part of people’s birth plans.
"I have clients who, going into late pregnancy, were scared and didn’t have their support there," she said. "It’s not just the business and financial side … You can make that work again. But we’re in this because we care about our clients, and we care about the people we support."
McInnis said if there’s another lockdown, she hopes she’ll be allowed to stay open, as it’s only her and her client in the clinic and both wear masks. Massage therapists, who follow similar health standards, were allowed to stay open these past few months, McInnis noted.
Robyn Dawson started her business, Reflexology by Robyn, in January of 2020. She built up her client base in Portage la Prairie this past summer. Like McInnis, Dawson deals with patients who need regular care, like folks with rheumatoid arthritis.
"I have quite a few clients that because they’ve missed therapy now for 10 weeks, we’re gonna be starting back at square one," Dawson said.
Grants through the federal and provincial government have helped Dawson’s business. Within eight hours of Manitoba’s announcement that reflexologists could resume their practices, Dawson’s first week back was booked.
"I’m so happy to be able to work again," she said.
While shut down, Dawson would keep in touch with regulars by texting and messaging online.
"We understood that the government had to do something, but we also felt bad because our clients need our services just as much as they needed a massage or chiropractor," she said.
Dawson began practising again on Jan. 26.
Gabby is a big fan of people, writing and learning. She graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in the spring of 2020.
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