Who We Are
In 2009 Jean-Pierre Hourdebaigt, created Animal Awareness LLC., a company designed to bring his knowledge and his Massage Awareness Method ® to the general public through personalized consultation and easy-to-follow tutorials. He strongly believe that his customized home care programs will help thousands of animals live a better life and enjoy a stronger bond with their owners.
Drawn from over 25 years of study and practice as Licensed Massage Therapist, his Massage Awareness Method ® blends ancient traditional techniques and the latest developments in modern massage therapy, and it’s used by competitive and recreational trainers, breeders, and veterinarians, as well as physiotherapists, groomers, and farriers all over the world.
Born in Biarritz, in the southwest of France, Hourdebaigt (pronounced Hoo-Da-Bay) moved to Canada in 1981 to continue his family’s tradition in the art and practice of natural healing. “My grandfather was a very famous healer. He was what was then-called a bone-setter. My father did it also, but on a part-time basis,” says Hourdebaigt. “ He became my mentor. Starting when I was 16 years old and for the next three years, I’d spend every Saturday with my father, in his office, watching him work, learning some bone-setting techniques, laying-of-hands and some light massage. By the time I went to massage school I was already in the mindset of a healer.”
In 1983, after graduating at the top of his class from the Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy, he pursued a career as a Licensed Massage Therapist.
His work helped improve the every day lives of people recovering from motor vehicle accidents and sports-related injuries, including top athletes, performers and public figures. Some of his patients include Japanese Olympic and world champion figure skater Yuka Sato; Canadian figure skating coach, commentator and former Olympic skater Elizabeth Manley; Canadian prima ballerina Karen Kain; Canadian-American actress Margot Kidder; English actor Ian McKellen, and Australian Prime Minister Robert Hawke. And since moving to the United States, Hourdebaigt has treated top dressage riders including Arlene “Tuny” Page, Ashley Holzer and Danish Olympian rider Bent Jensen just to name a few.
In his treatment of horses, dogs, and cats, Hourdebaigt applies a mix of ancient European techniques and a deep knowledge of massage therapy with a caring, holistic approach.
“By holistic I mean that you don’t just treat the symptoms, you also treat the causes,” he explains. “In other words, if someone has back problems you want to look at his posture, the shoes he wears, the environment, maybe his nutrition, so as to have a complete picture of what is surrounding the patient. When it comes to the care of an animal, a holistic approach means considering their natural movement, exercise, training, tack, clothing, nutrition, and shoeing.”
An in-demand lecturer, his students have included professionals from a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from physiotherapists, veterinarians & veterinary technicians, to competitive and recreational horseback riders, trainers and obedience and agility competitors.
And Hourdebaigt also has gained international recognition as an author.
His first book Equine Massage, A Practical Guide (Howell Book House, 1997) has remained a best seller in the field since its publication, and it is now available in five languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Russian). His second book, Canine Massage, A Practical Guide ( Howell Book House, 1999) has been translated to French, Japanese, and Finnish. He has since written The Riders Fitness Guide To A Better Seat, and Fitness Evaluation Of The Horse (both published by Howell Equestrian Library, 2008).
He has also self-published several studies and manuals -- the most complete on their subjects and containing information not available anywhere else -- including “Equine Muscular Anatomy & Kinesiology,” “Canine Muscular Anatomy & Kinesiology,” “Equine Muscular compensation, A Study”, “Massage Therapy for the Equine Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome” and “Top Massage for Top Performance.” For more titles and information visit www.massageawareness.com.
Jean-Pierre Hourdebaigt is also the founder of Massage Awareness Inc., a company devoted to the continual education of massage professionals worldwide. He continuous research as lead him to published material found nowhere else.
With his new company, Animal Awareness, Hourdebaigt wants to pass on many of those lessons to animal lovers so, as he puts it, “in a natural way, they can actively participate in the fitness and well being of their animal companions.”
“It’s like when you have children, and one of them becomes sick or has some sort of medical problem,” he explains. “You are going to take him to the doctor, but your first impulse is ‘what can I do? How can I help my child?’ Something similar applies to animal lovers and their animals. With Animal Awareness, I want to provide day-to-day care education about massage, about stretching, about hydrotherapy, but also about food and special equipment to enhance the quality of daily care.”
“There are practical benefits: for people who have an animal in recovery from surgery or a wound or injury, intelligent day to day care can assist the healing process and shorten the recovery time. For people involved in competition, it helps maintain their animal’s high level of fitness. And in animals with chronic issues like arthritis or other problems that come with aging, you can improve tremendously their quality of life by reducing the pain, lessening the muscle tension and giving them more flexibility, improving their quality of life in their later years.”
“And then there are other benefits, perhaps more intangible but no less important,” he continues. “Your animal will feel the care, the love, and for that, you will be rewarded. Caring and tailoring your day-to-day care efforts to your animal’s needs will improve the relationship between the two of you. And also, if you love your animal, the fact that you can see him enjoying [the care] and improving, will be rewarding in itself.”
Jean-Pierre Hourdebaigt lives in the United States in Wellington, Florida.