Dr Sarah Byron was born blind but this doesn’t stop her doing the thing she loves, helping others through holistic massage therapy and running her own business. Catherine Scott reports.
DR Sarah Byron’s love of medicine stems back to her childhood. Her mother is a nurse and trained throughout Sarah’s childhood while she did her rounds.
She has been interested in human biology, health and illness since that time, and became more interested in natural health and well-being whilst at boarding school.
But it was her own health issues which made her determined to run her own business one day. Sarah was born with a visual impairment and is registered blind, which strengthened her resolve to be successful and independent.
“My medical education probably began when I was about three years old and was first presented with a toy medical kit,” explains Sarah.
“My mum was a nurse and patiently answered my endless questions, teaching me about medical procedures and drugs. Being blind since birth, I eagerly explored the world through sound, touch and smell and soon developed further interests in music and perfume.”
After leaving school and doing a degree, she completed a PhD in Speech and Language Sciences at Sheffield University, but increasingly realised that her vocation was to return to her love of natural health, and her enjoyment of helping people in a more hands-on way.
Three years ago she qualified as an holistic therapist and has completed her massage qualifications at the prestigious Sheffield Centre for Massage Training.
In 2012 she fulfilled her dream and set up SB Holistic, which is based both in Hillsborough at the Foot, Knee and Back Clinic, and in Sheffield city centre, at Woodland Holistics.
Sarah also works regularly at the Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind, Mappin Street, providing massage for visually impaired people, their families and carers as well as staff and volunteers.
“I work with my clients rather than ‘doing to’ them,” explains Sarah.
“I don’t simply treat their injury but work with the individual at both physical and psychological levels. I also provide aftercare advice, which enables the client to be proactively involved in their treatment.”
Sarah is qualified in holistic therapeutic massage, sports and remedial massage, deep tissue massage and aromatherapy.
“Holistic massage therapy has many physical and psychological benefits, including relaxation, relief from muscular tension and from the symptoms of everyday stress, enhanced body awareness and improved sleep patterns,” sasys Sarah.
SB Holistic client Chris, who is living with the long-term consequences of a series of strokes, agrees.
“I find that my legs have changed since I’ve been having massages with Sarah because I can walk more comfortably and for a bit longer,” says Chris.
“It also helps that I don’t always have to use pain medication to ease my calves and legs to work better.”
Sarah lives in Hillsborough, Sheffield with her husband.
“The rewarding part of my work is seeing long-term improvements in my clients’ well-being,” she says.