Athletic wellness conversation with New York Knicks performance hacker, Erwin Benedict Valencia

“How can we give players every opportunity to be available and perform at their highest level for every game in the season?” Erwin Valencia, Director of Training and Conditioning for the New York Knicks, believes in asking the right questions to create a truly whole-listic program at the highest level of sport. The goal for his athletes, for them to be the best version of themselves, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Erwin’s approach combines innovative technology, clinical education, and holistic knowledge for a competitive edge, both for his players and himself.

For many, a physical therapist is part of the recovery team fixing what is broken. For Erwin, or “E” as he likes to be called, it is about strengthening the mind, body, and spirit. By utilizing each of the five senses, touch, sight, sound, taste, and smell, E has created a roadmap to injury prevention, overall conditioning and whole body recovery.

As a young boy in the Philippines, Erwin remembers the smells of his grandmother’s homemade oils invigorating him. When he found himself fortuitously sitting next to one of the founders of dōTERRA Oils on a flight to Asia, the possibilities of utilizing smells and taste in the training room and basketball court, expanded his horizons. Call it an “aha” moment, or epiphany in how to embrace more of the body’s senses in treatment.

Lighting can be adjusted for sight. Touch, whether hands on, medical devices or essential oils, always a part of treatments. Auditory elements include mood appropriate music playing in the background. So why not add aroma and taste to stimulate the brain or the body?

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His personal thought process designs daily experiences, and you can sense this if you follow his #DailyGratitude on Instagram. Carrying his positivity and passion for his career, and life in general, into the training room, Erwin’s goal is to optimize his athlete’s wellness.

Erwin began his studies at an early age, taking Silva Method, a personal growth course, at twelve years old. He received his B.S. degree from the University of the Philippines in 1999, followed by his Master’s in Athletic Training in 2002. He went on to receive a Doctor of Physical Therapy in 2011 from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, and Doctoral Certificate in Manual/Manipulative Therapy from Regis University.

Erwin hopes to never sacrifice an athlete’s performance. His belief in personal and physical wellness assists in getting his athletes well enough to compete again. His cultural background paired with his knowledge and experience lend to a focused practice to strengthen body, mind, and spirit to aid with the physical and mental demands an athlete faces. He boyishly laughed about being known as the Junior Zen Master (The Zen Master being Knicks President, Phil Jackson) amongst his peers in the NBA.

Erwin thrives on improving his personal awareness to what makes him thrive in daily life. In doing so, he can better assist those around him in becoming intuitive to their own power. Aiding in his athletes abilities to perform at higher capacities.

The senses are vital to his practice. Adding essential oils to his therapy practices are providing a slight edge to a person’s overall well-being. Erwin’s energy is contagious and inspiring. My question Erwin, do you use chocolate in the locker room?

Originally published at on February 20, 2017.

Originally published at