Valoree Gift and Billie Snell have been massage therapists on the north Oregon Coast for over 20 years. Before becoming massage therapists, the two met when their children were attending Head Start in Seaside, Oregon. They both volunteered for the program, serving on the policy council as well as in their children's classrooms. They enrolled as massage therapy students in 1993 at East West College of the Healing Arts in Portland.

Billie, who began to lose her vision at the age of 25, received support from the Oregon Commission for the Blind. The Commission also gave Valoree a readers service payment to read Billie's textbooks into audio format. The women took all of their classes together. Billie was the first blind person to graduate and receive her massage license from East West College. She paved the way for several others who have since followed in her footsteps. Billie and Val are both Reiki Masters, receiving Reiki training together at the Reiki Ranch in Chehalis Washington.

Both women believe wholeheartedly in the power of intention. Through life's ups and downs, they remain peaceful and grateful; always thinking about new ways to bring healing and love into this world.

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Meet Billie Snell

Billie ran her own massage business out of a beauty salon in Seaside. She then went on to run the massage program at the Stephanie Inn in Cannon Beach until 2013, at which point she left and joined the Seaside-based massage cooperative, At the Water's Edge. She has traveled to China and Thailand for massage study. Her three weeks in Thailand were spent practicing Thai massage at a clinic for all blind people. Her specialty is deep tissue work, a field that she has had extensive experience and education in. She is a Reiki Master. Billie also practices myofascial work and rolfing. She became a first-level certified Aromatherapist in 2013, and is certified for natural product manufacturing. As a respected therapist in the area, Billie serves as mentor to many young, aspiring massage therapists. She just recently mentored two local massage therapists through school and is now guiding them as they begin their careers in the field.

Billie adds, "My process in losing my vision was not to look at the loss, but to look at the gain; to look at what I have and to just be grateful. I am really grateful for this life. I am grateful to be a vessel of healing, to be open and to have all of these opportunities to give of my time and to give of my love and energy. I don't live in fear of anything."

Meet Valoree Gift

Valoree began her career at the Hallmark Resort in Cannon Beach, eventually running the massage program there for 15 years. During this time she also started her own practice out of her home in Cannon Beach. Valoree specializes in prenatal and postnatal massage; and is currently studying MLT (Manual Ligament Therapy). In 2007 she accompanied Billie to China for study. Shortly after her return home, she was diagnosed with cancer. On the other side of her storm, she has focused her energy on healing people in ways that are easier on her body. She takes fewer clients now and works on a sliding fee scale for community members. She volunteers with VOCA (Victory Over Child Abuse) doing bodywork and serving as a kitchen helper at camps, and teaches newborn massage classes to new foster parents who are caring for infants exposed to drugs and alcohol.

In 2011 Valoree and Billie returned to school together, this time online. The two attended the American College of Healthcare Sciences. Valoree read Billie's Aromatherapy classes onto audiotape for her, and used her reader service fee to study Herbology herself. Billie has completed her first level certification in Aromatherapy and is certified for natural products manufacture. Their business, Essential Remedies, was birthed from successful homework assignments being gifted to clients and family. "Our homework projects proved to be very effective. Our friends and family gave us valuable feedback, and simply wouldn't let us stop making them!" says Valoree.

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