I had time to catch up with Terrel Hale, one of the top sports massage therapists, located in Washington D.C. Terrel also has had the unique experience working some top events in the US. He just returned from working the weekend at the Nike Prefontaine Classic in Oregon and had time to answer a few of my questions.
Terrel, how long have you been involved in sports massage? Do you have a sport of focus?
I have been practicing since 2004, when I went to the summer games in Athens as a volunteer sports massage therapist. I work mostly with runners and triathletes, but have tennis players and winter sports athletes like bobsled and skeleton. Mostly though, it is runners!
Since 2004, has your therapy techniques evolved?
My work has evolved from my training at the Potomac Massage Training Institute, my study of gross anatomy and my training in both active isolated stretching and active release techniques. I combine all of these to form a holistic session and approach to recovery and injury prevention.
Would you say you have a philosophy for your treatments?
My philosophy in treatment is the integrated approach of mind and body that Plato believed in. I started a PhD program in Mind Body Medicine with an emphasis on practice. The program at Saybrook University in San Francisco espouses these same principles of integration I believe in and try to practice with the athletes I work with. I have started using the mental aspect of training with my clients that includes both motivation and imagery. I am currently writing a paper on elite performance and imagery.
What might a session with you be like for an athlete who comes to your clinic in DC
I use the same skill set and principles for ordinary weekend warriors as I do with the elites I’ve worked with or am working with. There is no difference. A good principle or technique is a good principle or technique!
You have been involved with many races across the country, including the Athens Olympics, Pre Classic, Cherry Blossom, and Boston Marathon to name a few. How did you get involved in those events?
Like a lot of things my own involvement with the races I go to comes from the ground up, from the people I know or have met. One thing leads to the next. In the world of sports massage at the races I work at most the therapists know each other. The bigger races like Boston have a place in their web page for massage volunteers.
How do you know which athletes you get to work with and how much time do you have with them?
Usually there is a point person to greet the athletes and point them to the available table. This is common at most of the bigger races like Iron Man
In your experience with runners, is there a common treatment request you get from them?
Most of the runners have issues with their hip flexors and tensor fascia latae and or gluteus medius. I worked on Joanie Bennet Samuelson at one Cherry Blossom race. She had an issue with her gluteus medius and I used the ART protocol for that and she set a course record for her age group. After the race, I was able to locate ART providers in and around Portland, Maine for her.
Many athletes have limited therapy access due to funds, or other reasons. In these big race events when you have limited time with the athlete, how do you handle situations where more work is needed on areas? Do you alter your treatment at all?
Usually there is limited time so I focus on what the runner asks me to work on. I alter my treatment based on the runner’s need as any other therapist world. Most often the runner knows her or his body best.
At big events, are any post-race treatments provided?
Usually there is post race or event massage offered for athletes.
I notice you have a twitter (@TerrelHale), Facebook, and a website (www.Georgetownsportsmassage.biz). Do you keep in touch with athletes after working with them?
I have a social media presence. The runner may choose to they stay in touch with me on either twitter or Facebook. Social media for me is a way for these runners to contact me and make appointments.
Terrel, thanks so much for your time. It was great to hear about some behind the scenes info that is often not publicized.
For more information on Terrel, check him out on Facebook, Twitter @TerrelHale, and www.Georgetownsportsmassage.biz
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