Institute of Somatic Therapy Announces New Course on Diversity Training and Cultural Awareness, MASSAGE MagazineThe Institute of Somatic Therapy is happy to announce a partnership with Ray McAllister, Ph.D., LMT, to make prenatal massage and doula certifications more easily accessible for blind massage students.

Ray, himself a blind massage therapist, is proficient in deep tissue, sports and relaxation massage. He offers many other modalities, including hydrotherapy, hot stone massage, reflexology and hot bamboo massage. His wife, Sally, is a certified aromatherapist.

In addition to his accomplishments as an MT, Ray also has an extensive teaching and medical background. He serves as an adjunct professor of religion and Bible studies at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and is a trained medical transcriptionist.

Ray will be drawing on all of these skills to create a detailed verbal description of each stroke of the prenatal massage sequence and labor and delivery assisting so that other blind MTs will have a written and audio teaching specifically suited to their special needs.

“Ray is a fascinating, motivated student and teacher, and we are thrilled to have him working with us on this project,” said Judith Koch, director of education of the Institute of Somatic Therapy.

Ray was born with a degenerative eye condition known as Peter’s Anomaly. One eye had to be removed when he was five years old, and seven years later, his other eye died, resulting in total blindness.

Despite the challenges his blindness carries with it, Ray has always had a passion for education. He graduated from a mainstream high school and earned three higher education degrees: a bachelor of theology, a master of divinity and a Ph.D. in religion.

In 2010, Ray became the first completely blind student to graduate with a Ph.D. in religion from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary. According to the Society of Biblical Literature and National Federation for the Blind, Ray may be the first blind doctoral student to ever tackle a degree so heavily dependent upon Biblical languages including Akkadian, Hebrew, Greek and even Cuneiform.

Blind massage therapists and their instructors are invited to contact the Institute of Somatic Therapy for updates on our project.

“We are on track to have the project completed by fall and believe it will be a welcome resource for the blind massage community,” Koch said.