WILSON MEAGHER METHOD OF EQUINE SPORTSMASSAGE
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
In the mid- 1900’s, Jack Meagher( pronounced Mar) was a pitcher for the Boston Braves (a major league Baseball team-now the Atlanta braves). He was sidelined due to a shoulder injury that prevented him from throwing overhand freely and accurately. Even with the help of several medical practitioner’s, Jack was still unable to use his shoulder and arm properly and left the game. He subsequently was drafted to WWII and served as a medic in a German POW camp.
It was during his time working in the POW camp that the motion to Jack’s shoulder was fully restored! Believe it or not, this was accomplished by a German POW! As the story goes, Jack was pitching in a softball game when a POW noticed Jack did not use his shoulder properly. The POW was a masseuse and worked on Jack’s chest muscles and shoulder girdle, restoring Jack’s freedom of motion. To Jack’s amazement, he was able to fully use his shoulder and that recovery changed his life’s work. From that point on Jack said he would work to make sure “an athlete should not have to be injured to be treated”.
After the War, Jack returned to the US with new goals. He studied motion intensively and attended two massage therapy schools. With a basic knowledge in massage and biomechanics, Jack blazed a trail to take massage out of the hospital and into the sports arena. He was on a mission to help athletes perform at peak performance and prevent injury.
Jack combined the mechanics of motion with physiology and used three specific soft tissue techniques to name his method “SPORTSMASSAGE”. This method, new to the field of massage in the mid 1960’s is still practiced today. Meagher’s original sportsmassage method is practiced around the world and is the most accurate form of massage therapy used to restore the ease and freedom of motion in both people and horses. It was developed from a simple principle: When a body moves better, it will last longer and injury may be prevented.
WILSON PARTNERS WITH MEAGHER
Jack worked on my horses for many years before I found the courage to ask him if I could study with him. After all, I thought the work would come easily since I was a registered nurse, and had worked for many years in both medicine and education. Much to my chagrin, Jack firmly said no, I could not study with him. He suggested I attend a very good massage therapy school that was strong in anatomy and physiology. When I completed my studies, he said he would “consider” letting me follow him around! Jack told me, “even if you know anatomy like the back of your hand, you may not have the hands to get the results”. Great, I thought, but I wanted to try. Jack’s work was so impressive, it was worth the effort to learn from the master. I trusted I could do it, and now, nearly 20 years later, I am still practicing and teaching the profound method I learned from Jack.
For 10 years, I studied with Jack and assisted him in his clinics. We partnered in 2001 and he insisted we call our partnership “Wilson Meagher Sports Therapy”. He wanted my name first because he said I was the future and he was the past. I added my own knowledge of motion, strengthening, conditioning and soft tissue application to the foundation of his work thus forming the Wilson Meagher Method™ of Equine Sportsmassage. We worked together very well and had the chance to experience similar professional opportunities including working with top professional human athletes, serving horses and riders at Olympic and World Games.
WHY THIS METHOD:
There are three main reasons to use the Wilson Meagher Method of Sportsmassage:
To Eliminate Problems in Motion
This method has been used successfully over 40 years and continues to be used to identify and reduce motion problems.
Every problem has a cause. The Wilson Meagher Method eliminates the muscular problem in motion or performance, by going to the cause of the problem. It is specific to the cause, while treating the entire body. It is not a general relaxation massage, but rather anatomically specific with the goal to restore free motion. As Jack would say, “It is sportsmassage; it prepares the body to be used.” Exercise as a follow up, becomes part of the treatment.
HOW YOU CAN APPLY THIS METHOD
Wilson Meagher uses three anatomically accurate techniques, and some of the technique requires complete accuracy on specific anatomical areas. The method has been taught to horse owners and professionals who have achieved profound changes in motion, including eliminating the fundamental problem. And while some of the techniques require in-depth training, horse owners, trainers, stable managers, and grooms can easily learn one of the techniques to successfully create marked changes in motion in their own horses! If you would like to get a jump on this, I suggest you order my DVD: A Course in Equine Sportsmassage by Jo-Ann Wilson for a thorough introduction.
Sometimes restrictions in motion can reflect a deeper problem. If a horse is lame, sick, or does not respond immediately to massage, a veterinarian should be called.