Name:  Chloe Filmer

My job title: Sports Massage Therapist

How I got the job… I got a degree in sports science but always knew that I wanted to do something in sport injury, so I signed up to do a beginner’s course in massage at the London School of Sports Massage straight after I graduated from university. The course was about a year long – I had formal classes one weekend a month and had to complete assignments and practice on people in between.

At the end of the course there was an exam – It used to be a Btec but now I think it’s equivalent to a degree.

Whilst I was still at university, I contacted a professional rugby club to ask if I could go and observe the sports massage – I phoned for six weeks straight until they said yes. I thought I was just going to go and observe for the day but when I turned up I was given my own massage table and told to get on with it! I was invited to come back the next day and ended up working for free for a year, allowing me to gain incredible work experience alongside my training. After a year of unpaid work, the main massage guy moved to the England team and I took over.

I’m very sporty, love rugby and also have a keen interest in cycling – an interest in sport helps, but I’m not just working with professional sportspeople. Through the role you get to know different professions and what demands they place on people’s bodies – it’s very interesting.

My position in a nutshell… I’m now self-employed and have been for 16 years. Currently I’m mobile, which means I travel to people’s homes to give them sports massage therapy. I’ve previously worked in lots of osteopathic and physiotherapy clinics and I have worked in professional sport, particularly professional rugby and I travel with clients who are part of a big cycling team.

Primarily I treat people in pain, to prevent injury or help them to recover from injury. My clients could be professional sportspeople to office workers with bad posture. Anything that hurts from the soft tissue category, which is muscles, tendons and ligaments, I treat and help through massage.

My typical day… I have two children who are 8 and 9 years old, so I get up, do a bit of exercise or walk the dog before taking them to school, then I fit in some clients before the school pick up – I may have 2, or 5 clients in a day, depending on how local they are but that’s the nice thing about being self-employed, I can be flexible and plan my day as I need. There is also paperwork I must complete after seeing each client.

It’s very different from when I was working at the rugby club, which was a very social environment, as now I work on my own on a 1-1 basis with clients.

I’ll pick the kids up from school, have dinner and on 3/5 days a week, I go back out and treat more clients in the evening and get home about 9-9.30pm. I usually work every other Saturday and take a day off during the week – I have to provide a service around other people’s work life.

My most memorable moment… I loved working in professional sport – being part of the team that helps an injured player recover and then seeing them go back out and play is brilliant. But I’ve also had clients who’ve had horrific headaches for years and something I’ve done has been able to release them and make them better, or I’ve helped people who haven’t been able to run or play with their kids become more mobile – sometimes it the tiniest little things that I help with that make the biggest difference to them, and it’s lovely.

The worst part of my job… Sometimes people are sweaty if I’m seeing them straight from work but you get used to it and it’s what you expect from the role – so it’s not a worst part, it’s just a part! You also have to work quite unconventional hours. It’s not a 9-5 job and your routine may be very different from friends or family. It took me a little while to get used to that when I first started out.

The best part of my job… I like to help people – it’s nice to be able to give people some relief from pain. There’s a lot of people out there with a lot of pain and they think it’s normal to live with it, so if I can help in any way it’s brilliant.

The key skills/attributes needed in your role… You need to be organised, pro-active and able to communicate well. People need to feel comfortable with you and being able to make them feel at ease whilst remaining professional is key.

Advice for someone looking to go into something similar… Try and make connections, volunteer, do lots of research – there are lots of schools out there now – look at the London School of Sports Massage – there’s also schools in Southampton, Brighton and Cardiff, and probably all over the country. Talk to people, get as much as experience as possible and if you’re interested in something, go for it!