A career ‘alternative’ for former union organizer

After spend­ing years as a uni­on or­gan­izer and sheet met­al work­er, Kens­ing­ton’s Ron Jablon­ski has found a new ca­reer in al­tern­at­ive medi­cine.

In 2003, Kens­ing­ton res­id­ent Ron­ald Jablon­ski re­tired after 42 years as a sheet-met­al work­er and uni­on or­gan­izer.

But it hardly has been a tra­di­tion­al re­tire­ment.

In­stead, he made a move to an en­tirely dif­fer­ent ca­reer.  Now he’s cer­ti­fied in well­ness tech­niques that in­clude Reiki, mas­sage, acupres­sure and oth­er meth­ods that re­duce stress and help cli­ents achieve a sense of well-be­ing.

“I was al­ways in­ter­ested in the body-mind-spir­it con­nec­tion,” says Jablon­ski.

At 6-feet-5 and with a me­di­um build, the 70-year-old Jablon­ski is a role mod­el for health and fit­ness. He seems a nat­ur­al for this second ca­reer.

For most of his years as a sheet-met­al work­er, this cer­tainly was nev­er part of the plan. In­stead, start­ing in 1961, he was a pro­duc­tion work­er who fab­ric­ated and in­stalled plastic and met­al signs.

From the start, he’d been a uni­on mem­ber with Loc­al 194. In 1980 he be­came an or­gan­izer for the uni­on and later was elec­ted busi­ness man­ager.

In all, he worked for 42 years.

But in 1993, while still a full-time uni­on or­gan­izer, he took tai-chi les­sons. When he re­tired 10 years later, he pur­sued his in­terest in earn­est, tak­ing courses at the Cen­ter for Hu­man In­teg­ra­tion at 8400 Pine Road in Fox Chase.

For five years, he took one course after an­oth­er, learn­ing tech­niques in en­ergy ther­apy, med­it­a­tion, hyp­nosis and more.

“Then I made a con­scious de­cision that I wanted to help oth­er people with the skills I had ac­quired,” Jablon­ski said.

That’s what he’s been do­ing ever since.

He star­ted by giv­ing treat­ments in his Kens­ing­ton home.  Then, in 2009, he star­ted his own prac­tice, New Be­gin­nings Hol­ist­ic Ther­apies, and ren­ted a Fishtown stu­dio at 2424 E. York St.

His stu­dio is equipped with mas­sage chairs and tables, yoga mats and med­it­a­tion mu­sic.

Jablon­ski uses a vari­ety of tech­niques de­pend­ing on his cli­ents’ needs, in­clud­ing Reiki.

“It’s an en­ergy ther­apy that cre­ates re­lax­a­tion through light touch,” he ex­plained.

His cli­ents vary in age; he has treated an 18-year-old and he has treated people in their 60s. Wo­men out­num­ber men.

“They’re more re­cept­ive to heal­ing mod­al­it­ies,” he says. “Men are more macho. They don’t want to re­veal their prob­lems and don’t want to seek com­fort treat­ments.”

But the former sheet-met­al work­er said that men and wo­men both see res­ults once they try a dose of his al­tern­at­ive-heal­ing tech­niques.

For in­stance, one man in his 30s came to the stu­dio be­cause of a very stress­ful job. Jablon­ski gave him two months of Reiki treat­ment.

“A lot of his stress was elim­in­ated,” he claimed.

An­oth­er re­cent cli­ent was a middle-aged wo­man who had fibromy­al­gia, a pain­ful con­di­tion in­volving in­flamed nerves and joints.

Jablon­ski treated her with acupres­sure.  

“After sev­er­al treat­ments, her pain had lessened con­sid­er­ably,” he said. “She was very grate­ful for the re­lief. There’s no cure for the con­di­tion, but her symp­toms were greatly re­duced.”

He not only sees cli­ents privately in his stu­dio, but this ded­ic­ated heal­er also does vo­lun­teer work. Every week on Tues­days and Fri­days, he goes to the Cath­ol­ic Work­ers Free Clin­ic, which is at 1826 E. Le­high Ave. in Kens­ing­ton and serves dis­ad­vant­aged people, such as the home­less and those with men­tal ill­ness. Jablon­ski gives a free chair mas­sage to any­one who wants it.

He has been a vo­lun­teer there for five years; he has reg­u­lars who come faith­fully each week for a re­lax­ing mas­sage.

“I’m busy from the mo­ment I walk in un­til I walk out,” he said.

The hec­tic sched­ule is well worth it when he sees the grat­it­ude of those he has helped. “People just can’t thank me enough,” he said.

He has yet an­oth­er vo­lun­teer activ­ity. This one is at a Ta­cony church where he and oth­er prac­ti­tion­ers of­fer Reiki ses­sions to the com­munity three times each month.

This, too, he has done for five years.

Al­though he has been re­tired for nine years, he still main­tains his uni­on mem­ber­ship. And on Sat­urday, March 24, he will be honored for his 50 years of uni­on mem­ber­ship. A spe­cial ce­re­mony at uni­on headquar­ters on Colum­bus Boulevard will hon­or the long­time mem­bers.  

But he’s also prob­ably the only re­tired uni­on mem­ber with a new ca­reer in hol­ist­ic ther­apies.

And 70, he’s en­joy­ing it fully.  

“It’s very re­ward­ing to be able to provide hands-on com­fort to people who are in need,” he said. “They are al­ways so grate­ful.” ••


You can reach at rrovner@aol.com.

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