The reflexologist who finds light in the darkness 
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The reflexologist who finds light in the darkness

Tuesday February 9th, 2016
The reflexologist who finds light in the darkness

The reflexologist who finds light in the darkness

Tuesday February 9th, 2016 / 0 Comments
Credit: Dina Duadi

Dina Duadi

By Liann Haham (photos courtesy of Dina Duadi)

Dina Duadi discovered her calling years ago by chance, on one of the most difficult days of her life— the day she learned that she would lose her sight. Today, Dina is best known in Israel as “the celebrity’s reflexologist”. Her clientele include actors, politicians, famous chefs and more. “I walked out of the doctor’s office and I remember telling myself: ‘Dina you can let yourself fall or you can lift yourself up. The choice is yours.”

Today, Dina specializes in diagnosis though reflexology. “By applying pressure to the foot in certain areas, I can diagnose almost every illness. Doctors refer patients to me,” says Dina with a smile. “I can say with certainty that my optimism led to my success. I think that life is a journey, and you just have to keep going and always look for the light at the end of the tunnel.”

At the age of 19, doctors diagnosed Dina Duadi with retinitis pigmentosa, and told her that she would lose her vision completely within the next few years. But minutes later, she discovered her designation in life. “When I left the doctor’s office, my vision was still impaired from the tests. I saw a blurry figure and asked for directions home,” describes Dina. “The man asked what had happened, and I started crying and told him that just a moment before, I had learned that I was going to become blind. Then he asked if I knew what reflexology was, and my life changed forever.”

Dina began studying reflexology, and gave birth to three girls. Her vision, as the doctor had foreseen, began to deteriorate. “When I was 38 my daughter came into my room and started talking. I asked her to turn the lights on and then she said to me: ‘Mom, the lights are on.’ That was the moment I understood that I was completely blind, but I decided to continue living as a seeing person. It’s easy to give up, but I wouldn’t let myself spiral into the darkness.”

Dina with the ninth President of Israel, Shimon Peres

After divorcing her first husband, Dina met and fell in love with her second husband, Yossi, who as a result of his military service was also blind. They lived together for over 20 years and traveled the world. “While we were vacationing in Spain, I heard him collapse. I resuscitated him and called an ambulance, but he died in the hospital a week later. At that moment I felt like I had lost my sight.”

It was in order to overcome her loss that Dina decided to join Etgarim (Hebrew: “challenges”), an organization that uses sport to strengthen the confidence of people with disabilities. “They tied my hand to a volunteer’s and said ‘run!’, and I did. My running partner became my life partner. They say he’s the group’s ‘hottie,’” she laughs. “Today I have 16 trophies, not from the disabled category, including third place for my age group in the Tel Aviv marathon,” Dina says with pride.

“I’ve skydived, I bike, I do triathlons.”

“I won’t let my disability stop me. I’ve skydived, I bike, I do triathlons.” Her biggest feat, she says, is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. “My next challenge is skiing,” she says with a smile. “I say that the disability is just in our thoughts, and you can overcome anything. Everyone has a disability, mine is just easier to spot.”

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