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041218-star-new-albert

Albert Schmiegeperforms a massage on his wife Lori next to one of his paintings at their home in Mauston.

Jake Ekdahl

Albert Schmiege was diagnosed with Starguardt macular degeneration in 1985 and his eyesight has declined to the point of legal blindness since then, but he hasn’t let his challenges slow him down.

Schmiege is a licensed massage therapist with several years experience. He worked at Davidson’s Hair Salon in Sauk City, Spa Del Sole Chula Vista and the Kalahari Spa in Wisconsin Dells. He now does his work at PT Works in Mauston as an independent contractor under the name Muscular Manipulation Therapeutic Massage. He feels the atmosphere at PT Works enables him to “formulate a massage specifically for each individual client.”

Schmiege is also an accomplished artist and painter. He owns Blind Guy Studios and has dozens completed dozens of paintings. Some of Schmiege’s work is reminiscent of Jackson Pollock’s.

“I like his art because he came up with a new way of throwing paint on a canvas rather than just with a brush and I’m a very textural type painter,” Schmiege said. “I would rather do something like that, use my fingers, use paper towels. I come up with different ways of putting details in to a painting because I can’t see it like an average person.”

Schmiege feels his visual challenges offer him a different perspective as an artist and enable him to pursue beauty in a unique way.

The art Schmiege produces can be found at two shows every year, Sharp Vision in California and Second Sense in Illinois. He also sometimes does shows in Madison.

As a visually impaired individual, Schmiege feels he is particularly suited to massage therapy.

“It’s very prevalent in Japan and China that people with visual impairments go into some type of massage, whether it be schiatzu, trigger point therapy any type of massage,” Schmiege said. “You use your hands more than your eyesight. Your sense of touch is heightened.

Schmiege’s wife Lori said he “will help me get through my old age,” with his massages. He said he would love to work with local businesses going forward.

Muscular Manipulation is currently open for business and first time clients get $10 off an hour service. Schmiege does table massage which includes hot stones and aromatherapy.

“Each massage is geared towards the individuals needs,” Schmiege said. “Stress relief or muscle knot tension, trigger point therapy.”

He also does chair massage home parties for up to six people.

You can reach Jake Ekdahl on Twitter @JakeaEkdahl