New businesses and non-profit organizations open regularly and move in Saskatoon. Today, the StarPhoenix talks to Brennan Lane, who recently opened Peace of Mind Wellness with his sister Brittney Bazin on 8th St. E in College Park.
The pair offer mental health counselling, massage therapy and reflexology services. Both are visually impaired. Lane, 34, and Bazin, 32, stand as strong examples of successful young adults in business who did not allow disabilities to get in the way of reaching their goals.
Q: What services do you offer?
A: My sister Brittney does massage therapy. She’s been a massage therapist for about 13 years now, so she has a lot of experience. She does a lot of general massage for pain management. She specializes in prenatal massage. She works with a lot of women who are pregnant to help them through the pregnancy process and keep them as comfortable as possible leading up to giving birth.
I do mental health counselling and reflexology. For mental health counselling, it’s mainly supporting people with anxiety and depression and relationship issues. And my specialty is in trauma counselling. Before opening the business, working for other companies, I did a lot of trauma counselling for people that have gone through domestic violence historical abuse, that kind of thing. But I’ll also see people just for general mental health concerns like anxiety and depression.
And then for reflexology, I work on different pressure points called reflex points that relate to different parts of the body. And you do different reflexology techniques to help with pain management and support stress reduction and just allow the body to function as optimally as possible.
I also do disability consultation. Because of my vision impairment, even prior to getting my counselling degree, I had a lot of experience working with other kids and adults who have been blind, just helping support them and cope with their disability, as well as help them with resume development, if they’re struggling to find a job due to the disability.
Q: You opened your business together despite both having visual impairment. Do you mind telling us about your impairment?
A: We developed the condition around age 7. It’s called Stargardt’s. It’s a form of macular degeneration. It’s like the youth version of what seniors would get in terms of macular degeneration. For most of our lives that’s just all we’ve known. We just had to learn to adapt to the environment and learn as we go. I can imagine it’s different for someone who’s an adult who all of a sudden loses their vision. I think it’s a completely different way of needing to accommodate that.
Q: Has being blind impacted your ability to run your business and reach your career goals?
A: I don’t feel like it impacted it too much. I think at a very young age we both learned very quickly how to adapt to our situation going through school, to advocate for ourselves and ask for the equipment we needed, whether that be magnifiers or learning how to use certain computer software. So it was an easy transition when we opened the business because I was already familiar with computer software and how to create the file management systems and then use the accommodative tools that we need to read them and all of that kind of stuff.
Honestly the hardest part of it is the travel because the office is outside of our home. We have to rely on the bus service or family members to drive us to our office if we do have an appointment, which means really developing your time management skills. But other than that, I would say the disability really hasn’t held us back at all. It’s all about, just advocating for yourself and making sure you know what you need and then reaching out to the people that can help you get that in place.
Q: Would you like to offer any advice to other young entrepreneurs with disabilities?
A: The best advice I can give to anyone that has vision loss, or any disability for that matter that wants to start their own business, is to just really know what you want. Do your research in terms of everything you would need for your business and then reach out to as many people as possible to help. Find those accommodations — so with vision impairment it would be the CNIB, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind — to really help with that educational piece and help with funding to purchase the equipment that you would need. And really just be an advocate for yourself. You don’t have to feel like you have to do it all on your own.
Have a positive mindset. Coming from a counselling perspective, just think as rationally or as positively as possible about your situation and not thinking that the disability will hold you back. Because I think nowadays there’s an accommodation for everything. So just having that positive perspective on things so that you’re not deterred from trying to reach that goal.
Q: Is your vision impairment an advantage in some ways in providing the services that you offer?
A: For sure. Particularly for counselling, I can’t really see the person. So I really have to hone in on my listening skills and really hear what the person is saying and how their voice might be related to how they’re feeling. I really have to focus with the other senses. Even with reflex, just really focusing in on the touch sensation (helps with knowing how) those reflex points are feeling on the person.
Q: What sets your practice apart from other similar wellness practices?
A: We have the ability to work together as a team and develop that holistic approach to the service. So if someone comes in for counselling, for example, and through me talking to them, I find out that they’re struggling physically in some way that could benefit from massage, it’s an easy referral. They can stay in the same office, see my sister right away, rather than having to put them through a referral process of finding a different company. And vice versa. If my sister has a client who she feels would benefit from reflexology, or counselling, it’s just a quick message to me and right away they’re in, rather than having to wait for a referral process.
I don’t know of anyone else who does a combination of counselling and reflex. So I think for me I have an interesting niche that I can offer to people that I think will enhance the opportunities for them to relieve that stress and just find that way to calm their mind and body as they’re coming for those services.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Peace of Mind Wellness
Owners: Brennan Lane & Brittney Bazin
Address: 3337-B 8th St. E, Suite 106 (Next to the 7-11 near the corner of 8th St. & Acadia Dr.)
Hours: Hours vary. Typically appointments are accepted Monday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 12 p. m.
Phone: 306-301-8400 (Brennan); 306-717-8259 (Brittney)
Check:Facebook, Psychology Today
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