A massage therapist mixes science and “soul” to help his patients
Trey Tucker ’06 utilizes the words of the Creed to treat his patients with the best care possible as a massage therapist at Synergy Sports Wellness.
As a senior in high school, Tucker knew his path would lead him somewhere to sports medicine, but he didn’t know how. After graduating from Auburn with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, he wanted to continue his education. Wanting to take somewhat of a break from school between moving on to physical therapy training, Tucker thought massage therapy was a happy middle between wanting to continue in the same field while preparing for what he thought would be his career.
In 2007 he graduated from the Academy of Somatic Healing Arts, where he received certifications in Swedish, Clinical Sports, and Neuromuscular Therapy. What he didn’t know was that he would fall in love with the profession and the thrill he still receives influencing people’s lives for the better.
“Massage therapy was everything I loved about being in sports medicine and helping support the sports industry, but with a lot less of the downside,” Tucker said. “As a physical therapist, I would only see my patients maybe five to ten minutes. I’m not going to get that interaction with them and truly understand the history of their injury and their body.”
Building a relationship and a dialogue with his patients is crucial in aiding them in their health, Tucker said. “Through massage therapy, I have much longer with them to be able to dive into what’s really going on.”
Tucker’s approach as a massage therapist is a lot different than how most would view the profession.
“I tell people all the time that I don’t listen to Enya; I don’t have scented candles,” he said, laughing. “I’m talking to you. A lot of times, a patient will say something that they don’t think is important but is a big part of what is going on with their body.”
Tucker views his work through a more scientific lens utilizing measurement and biomechanics. His Auburn biomechanics professor Dr. Wendi Weimer inspired him to truly understand how the body works.
“I tell people all the time that I’ve never fixed a person, not in my entire life,” Tucker said. “What we do is we push our bodies back into the position they are supposed to be in.”
Tucker said his most rewarding moments as a massage therapist is when he actively sees the positive change he has in a person’s life. Most people that come to Synergy either have pain, or goals.
Tucker worked with a patient despite a language barrier between them. Through their sessions, Tucker was able to alleviate some of his chronic pain.
“He kept saying ‘my soul feels better,’ but what he was trying to say was that he had hope that he was going to heal,” Tucker said. “Because I was able to spend so much time with him and get to the root of the problem, he’s in the process of becoming better. To be able to understand and take the time to work with someone, [to] get to know their story and then have them come back and say something like that to you is amazing.”
Tucker has worked with an array of athletes, including Kansas City Chief linebacker Dee Ford and the Arizona Cardinal’s cornerback Rudy Ford, both former Auburn football players.
“It was really great being able to help those guys,” he said. “We immediately shared a ‘War Eagle!’”
Tucker’s love for Auburn goes back generations. Originally from Bessemer, Ala. he jokes the only people that have come out of that town are him and Bo Jackson. He moved around a lot as a kid, living in Dallas, attending middle school in Atlanta and high school in Pennsylvania. However, there was no question about his choice of college. Coming from an Auburn family where his father, uncle, great uncle and sister graduated, Auburn University was a no-brainer.
Now working at Synergy in Atlanta, Tucker said he has the same feeling of family that he did while as a student at Auburn.
Tucker not only works with sports athletes, but also with people who he calls “aggressive amateurs” — the people who work nine-to-five jobs, but also participate in marathons and high-intensity workouts.
“Two things that people know about me are that I absolutely love my job and Auburn,” Tucker said. “Anyone that comes into my office can tell I’m an Auburn fan. I have the Creed as my computer’s background.”
Tucker didn’t fully employ the words of the Auburn Creed until after he graduated. It wasn’t until he saw a commercial that ran featuring notable alumni reciting it did he finally take note, especially the phrase “I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy for my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all.”
“That, to me, is exactly what I do,” Tucker said. “My goal is to use my abilities to help.”
The second phrase that encapsulates how Tucker views himself and his work are “I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely and trains the mind and my hands of my fellow men.”
“When I read these two things I ask myself ‘okay what can I do education wise today to train my hand to work more skillfully,” Tucker said. “I have never been more comfortable in a job and gotten so much happiness out it.”