Inventor of the world-famous Masterson Method®
Jim Masterson is a renowned equine massage therapist who created the Masterson Method, which focuses on interpreting a horse's reactions to release tension and improve their wellbeing and performance.
Jim Masterson is an equine massage therapist and the creator of the world-renowned Masterson Method®. He first became interested in equine massage in 1997. The horseman helps equestrians of all disciplines to increase both the wellbeing and the performance of their horses while also strengthening their relationships. When you watch Jim Masterson treat a horse, you immediately notice his calming effect. With a great deal of patience and empathy, he demonstrates how his method works even on restless or initially agitated horses. This is because restlessness or fidgeting imply meaning in the Masterson Method®: When a horse fidgets in response to a certain touch, the reaction provides information about where the horse carries tension in his body and whether it is being released. The results of his treatments are impressive. And he is in high demand: Jim Masterson travels all over the world, treating high performance and non-competitive horses, imparting his knowledge via courses and lectures in his trademark matter-of-fact and easy-to-understand style.
How the Masterson Method® came about
As an equine massage therapist, Jim Masterson was responsible for the US Endurance Team for eight years and also looked after many other international equine greats in various disciplines, including show jumping and driving. Previously, however, he worked as a show groom and horse hauler. While observing two massage therapists treating a horse with very gentle touches, he became fascinated with the subtle responses of the horse, such as blinking, a change in breathing, or licking and chewing. He noticed that the horse was very relaxed afterward. Intrigued, he learned a few techniques from those massage therapists. This was the impulse to continue developing his own method based on feedback in form of the horses' body language but also from veterinarians, riders, trainers, and other body workers. He learned which areas of the horse's body tend to accumulate the most tension both from physical and mental stress. The difference between the Masterson Method® and many other types of bodywork is that here, the therapist gently addresses the horse's nervous system and thereby stimulates the release of tension on the horse's own accord. It relies heavily on interpreting the horse's reactions to guide the treatment.
How the Masterson Method® works
The Masterson Method® bypasses the horse's natural instinct to suppress any weakness by operating with a touch light enough to stay under the horse's bracing response. As flight animals, horses will always try to appear healthy. If they show pain in the wild, they may well be singled out by a predator. This protective behavior can also mask lameness issues until the pain is severe and a more serious injury has occurred. With his method, Jim Masterson teaches equestrians to learn to interpret the small and seemingly insignificant reactions of the horse in response to the stimulation of the nervous system, indicating areas of tension and subsequently the release of that tension. It is important that the person works with, not on the horse. "What is special about my method is learning to read the horse's reactions to one's own touch and the approach of working with him to release the recognized tensions," the empathetic horseman explains. Jim Masterson uses five different levels of pressure and touch from 'air gap' to 'lime.' These are applied in different areas of the horse's body, for example along the bladder meridian, which is also well known in traditional Chinese medicine. He demonstrates time and again that this method allows equestrians to not only detect painful tension in their horses but also release it and thereby potentially prevent injury.
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