Anna Terry’s journey of becoming a sports massage therapist was intertwined with her athletic career. She became involved in sports at a very young age, participating in field hockey, softball, canoeing and gymnastics, ultimately dedicating her energy to kayaking.
After graduating from Southwest School of Massage in Durango, Colorado, in 2002, the New Hampshire native attended the 2002 Slalom World Championships as both an alternate on the Team USA Canoe/Kayak and the team’s massage therapist. She made the team and competed the following year, after which she retired from kayaking and focused on her sports massage career full time.
She knew, having been an athlete who received guidance from trainers, that she wanted to serve a clientele of athletes, make them feel better and get them back in the game.
Now, Terry, 34, splits her time between her practice—bodyKinesis LLC—and her position as a sports massage therapist and yoga instructor at Dartmouth Peak Performance (DP2), which provides health services to Dartmouth College’s athletes. Education, Terry said, is her greatest resource. Having at least a basic knowledge of the specific sport each individual client is involved in is vital to providing the best possible services for prevention, recovery or maintenance.
However, she said, “You don’t have to be an athlete to work with athletes—you just have to understand what [their] sport does to the body.”
Abbey D’Agostino, a professional runner for New Balance, Dartmouth alumna and seven-time NCAA track champion, believes in the effectiveness of Terry’s approach. “She was very aware of the body, structurally and muscularly,” said D’Agostino. “She was an incredible resource for me, even beyond massage.”
Each sport works certain parts of the body, so every athlete needs targeted bodywork. The treatments Terry performs or recommends to a runner, for example, are not the same as those a hockey player needs. You must understand each sport, she said, to understand which muscles are engaged and which areas of the body to concentrate on.
“You want to have an idea of the sport they’re doing, so in your mind you can visualize what muscles are being used,” Terry said.
Drew Galbraith, senior associate athletics director for DP2, said he believes massage is a key component to any athlete’s health regimen and was something he knew needed to be included in DP2’s services. Terry’s athletic perspective and background in sports made her a perfect fit.
“What Anna does with massage and everything else is critical to the success of our athletes and the success of our teams,” Galbraith said. “We certainly couldn’t imagine having our program without massage.”