Name: Geraldine Paradis
Location: Les Arcs, France
Certifications through Angel's Animals LLC: Equine Myo-Manipulative Functional Therapy, Equine Kinesiology Taping, Equine Craniosacral Therapy
When did you decide that you wanted to work with animals? I have always wanted to work with a animals since I was a child. At eighteen, I worked as a vet nurse, but I realized I couldn't cope emotionally with the sadness of the pet owners loosing their pet. So, I enrolled in a school to become a horse riding instructor. Horses and horse riding is my passion since I was 7!! I passed my exam (1999) and worked a few years in France until I moved to be close to my dad in England. At this time I started my own livery yard and riding center. There I discovered the massage therapy and other alternative therapy and become passionate about it straight away. I trained and passed my exams and began practicing, combining the riding/teaching and the massage therapy. I also worked in different therapy centers for humans horses.
What animal influenced you the most growing up? Horses definitely. They were in my mind all the time. I think they helped me grow up and made me who I am today!!
What animals do you currently own? At the moment, I live in France with my family and we have 1 horse, 1 pony, 2 goats, 2 dogs, 8 hens and 5 rabbits.
What makes your animal bodywork practice stand out? This is a really difficult question as I find it very hard to talk about myself.....but I would say that I have 20 years experience with horses as a rider and instructor which helps me a lot everyday in handling horses and understanding the way horses work (or should work). It is amazing to see how myofascial tensions can affect the horse and his behavior and performance; and obviously in the contrary it is great to see how the release of these tensions affect positively the horse physically and mentally. I practiced massage therapy for 15 years and now I feel I have learned a wide range of techniques (Swedish, Lomi lomi, Deep Tissue, Gua Sha, Reiki, Trigger Points, Myofascial, Craniosacral, and other bodywork methods, which allow me to adapt to what the horses like and need the most.
What message would you like to share with potential clients? I would say that I would be delighted to be participating in their horse's wellness team. I really believe that together with the vet, the chiropractor or osteopath, the farrier, the saddle and bit fitter, massage therapy makes the team even stronger. Massage therapy brings something really interesting in the physical and emotional balance of the horses, wether they are leisure or competitive horses. It really helps the horses stay flexible, have freedom of movements and the results show happy horses that are more willing to give their full potential. For me it is such a joy to see performances improving and to see them happy and comfortable within their body! Every horse is special to me and I try my best to find the best techniques suitable for them, and my goal is to find where the hidden tensions are in order to help them feel even better.
What message would you like to share with others who are thinking about pursuing a career in animal bodywork? I would just say, "GO FOR IT"!!! It took me 15 years to jump and try to see if it possible to make it a full time job....and yes, it is possible!!! This is really the best job I can think of! For me it has been like a dream come true. Wellness is really developing and quite fast in the equine world and more and more people recognize the benefits of massage therapy for horses. You can see it as most high level rider use massage therapy for their horses to keep them at an optimal level and it is spreading to lower levels and even leisure horses! It is so nice to see that so many people care that much for their horses. I believe that all horses are athletes, whatever discipline they do and whatever the level, and they all benefit from bodywork; youngsters, older horses, sport horses, school horses, stressed horses, etc. Massage therapy is a really great way to improve movement, relationships and the good spirit of the horse! This is for me the most rewarding and pleasant job in the world! Spending quality time with horses, watching them relaxing and enjoying their time with you. Also they are just so wonderful when they express the releases by licking and chewing, yanking and totally chilling out. Everyday they make my day really special!!!
Every month Dr. Barbara acknowledges and showcases one of her certified practitioners! You could be next!