Many students face money worries at some stage in their university life and working out how to make ends meet can be tricky. Hannah Stobbs is a sports science student who shows that pouring pints isn’t the only option to ease your debts.

Hannah works as a freelance sports massage therapist and Label’s Alice Ward caught up with her to see how she set up her own business.

AW: So Hannah, firstly what is exactly is Sports Massage?
HS: Well by definition it’s a form of massage which utilizes specific techniques and stretches to help gain maximum performance with less chance of injury or pain. It increases power, endurance, and flexibility both before and after an event or workout.

Whilst the name suggests that it only benefits athletes, this isn’t the case. Office workers, builders, painters, decorators, plumbers and anyone who suffers from muscle stiffness can benefit from sports massage.

AW: How did you train to be a Sports Massage Therapist?
HS: At the end of my first year as a Sport and Exercise Scientist at Loughborough University, I was given the opportunity by ProActive training (an external company) to do a course in Sports Massage Therapy.

It was an 8-day intensive course – although I had to take one day off to play cricket for Loughborough at Lords, such is life – and the hours were roughly 9am-4pm each day. Sam Boden, our tutor, showed us how to treat injuries from the ankle right up to the neck and also taught us pre and post event massages amongst other things such as the legalities involved in setting up a business.

The course was great for me as it was 80% practical so all the anatomy we learnt could be carried out in role play and ultimately be applied to real life situations

AW: How about getting qualified?
HS: Our assessment was divided into practical and theory. The practical was carried out on participants of the World’s Longest Football match, held on Loughborough campus last October.

We were told to perform a pre-event massage on the participants and also address a particular injury – most likely to be the quadriceps or gastrocnemius for the footballers. It wasn’t the most pleasant of situations for all involved as the massages took place outside in the rain!

We were then whisked off to do our theory exam which was multiple choice but quite challenging. For example, we had to name some origins and insertions of some very obscurely named muscles! Thankfully I passed first time around and was awarded a Level 3 Diploma with credit from the ITEC governing body.

AW: Well done! So how did you go from getting qualified to actually setting up a business?
HS: Well first, I applied for insurance through the Complementary Therapists Health Association (CThA) so I could work privately. So far I have accumulated 25 hours worth of experience which includes voluntary work and am just embarking on working more closely with several athletes at Loughborough University. I’ve made my own website and began to market myself to help build up a client base.

AW: And what about the future?
HS: I hope to do a course in Personal Training with ProActive Training then possibly move on to do a masters in Physiotherapy once I have graduated. As such getting experience as a sports massage therapist already is really good for me.


Hannah offers massages at competitive rates and also give student discounts. To find out more visit her website or email her at


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