Follow in Helen's footsteps
Helen often receives enquiries from people asking about the requirements for becoming a McTimoney animal practitioner or a sports therapist. There are lots of options to choose from but three main criteria are required.
- Experience and confidence working with animals and their owners. Being a competent horse rider or owner is not actually essential, but the more experience a practitioner has, the more they can relate to the causes of injury and understand the effects that sports therapy will have in each case.
- Suitable background academic qualifications, such as a degree in veterinary science, equine science, chiropractic, osteopathy, physiotherapy, or zoology.
- Graduation from the McTimoney College with a post graduate qualification in Animal Manipulation.
Finally, virtually all practitioners are self-employed, so experience or training in business management is of great benefit.
There are also courses available in animal sports massage therapy which can be used to support McTimoney animal manipulation techniques. The rigorous sports massage courses offered by Equinenergy (see links page) are suitable for use as a "standalone" therapy and therefore present a basis for a potential career as a "body worker" or massage therapist. The majority of other simpler, more accessible techniques are not recognised as suitable for the professional practitioner. These are tailored towards owners wishing to keep their own animals comfortable.
Advice for school students
Helen writes: "One of the toughest decisions you will have to make is which subjects to study at school and sixth form. I can't make those decisions for you but would advise you to look carefully at the entry qualifications for the various courses listed above and make your choices based on that.
However it is not always easy to make the right decision, and do not be disheartened if it turns out you don't have the right qualifications! Before I could enroll in a degree, I had to return to a local college to take another A-level. This was actually to my benefit because I spent the year gaining valuable work experience and qualifying in massage therapy. If you find yourself in a similar situation, and during any period of part-time study, use the time to your advantage - get business experience or vocational training which will be of great benefit when you set up your own practice."