Student Stories

SJ Wills’ Story from Complete Bodyworker Student to Busy Therapist!

I had been made aware of The School of Bodywork by a Therapist friend who had spoken highly of it. I had many discussions with her about what I was wanting to do within the field and in which kind of environment. With having 3 small children I had to make sure I found the right course that fitted in around them. Before I signed up to the Diploma in Therapeutic Massage I arranged to meet with the tutor and actually got to meet students who were on the current course. The tutor suggested asking all my questions with regards to the study directly to them and they were able to put my mind at ease with regards to fitting it all in!

I signed up to start in April 2017 feeling incredibly anxious. These anxieties were soon dispelled when I met the other students on the course. With a large variety of lovely people all feeling the same but all so friendly, kind and caring, by the end of the first day I knew 100% I was on the right course. The content and depth of this course is incredible I have learnt much more than I had ever expected to, enabling me with a good level of skills but importantly the confidence to use them. The support given by Emma and the tutors was second to none. Having an impromptu house move in the middle of the summer holidays right before the tests definitely tested me, but I got through it and this was down to their support as well as the other students. I am so glad that I managed to complete the course it has set me on a real journey and I feel incredibly blessed to have had SOB input. On finishing I had managed to secure myself a twice weekly room with in a chiropractic setting and due to working on the public for my case studies and massage diary had a handful of patients staying with me and willing to pay!! I have been very lucky to have had a good response from word of mouth having bookings each week and in such a short time I already have a busy practice! It has been wonderful having the ongoing support from SOB since qualifying and from the fabulous friends I have made on this journey so far.

Lorna Wagstaff, just 6 months after qualifictaion…

“I thought you might like to know that I wrote a proposal promoting the use of massage therapy within my own work place (Haldon Eating Disorders Service, Devon Partnership Trust), this was passed by Clinical Governance and I now offer massage therapy as part of the treatment programme, linking it with Body Image group / sessions and the Dialectical Behavioural Therapy Treatment Programme.

Massage treatment has been integrated into the weekly programme since the beginning to December 2011 and appears to be a successful addition to treatment so far.

I have now been asked to attend a Beat (Beating Eating Disorders) international conference at the Institute of Education in London to conduct a short presentation regarding body image and would like to find some more resources. I wondered if you might know of any further work / research that supported the use of massage with eating disorders / body image work, or could point me in the right direction?

I hope this also goes to show how very much I enjoyed, appreciated and valued The Complete Bodyworker Diploma that I attended last year.”

Lorna has gone on the study the Rebounding Workshop and the Rejuvenating Facelift Massage course with School of Bodywork.

Tracey Paddon’s Story using Fascia Informed Bodywork Therapy:

"I was contacted by a woman inquiring about a treatment for a stiff and painful neck. She had injured it during an exercise class using weights. She initially asked for a sports massage, I told her about Fascia Informed Bodywork, how it works and the benefits to be gained by this gentle and effective treatment. She was willing to try it and came for her first appointment.

After a consultation, I assessed the range of movement of her neck, which showed restricted movement. She had been feeling pain in the posterior and right side of the neck. No pain felt on the day of treatment or on the assessment.

Working in prone and did two releases. She was very open and responsive to the treatment and could feel sensations going into her right scapular. I then worked the lateral neck as I wanted to bring some space around the shoulder girdle and neck. This was very effective. I worked on both sides and tingling sensations were felt down both arms into her fingers. I reassessed after the treatment and her ROM in the neck had increased, she had no pain and she felt less restrictive when moving her neck.

She decided to wait before booking another treatment. A week later she rang to book a second treatment she was a lot better, but she could still feel the right side wasn’t quite right. Working in prone again the right side felt very tight compared to the left, but responded well and softened as I held.  I did 3 further release for her head and neck. These had a huge effect on her, I witnessed rapid eye movements (processing of memories or emotion) and she felt popping in her sinuses. At times during the treatment I felt a slight resistance, so I asked her to soften to facilitate the work, she then responded well.

After the treatment, she said that she felt like she had had a really deep treatment. She felt more open, her sinuses felt clearer. She sings in a choir and felt that she would sing well later.

She sent me a card to say thank you, she said that couldn’t explain how free her neck, shoulders and chest area felt. She felt deeply relaxed and was in shock at just how effective this seemingly gentle treatment was. She is back doing her exercise classes pain-free and hasn’t needed another treatment.

MFR worked so well for as she was very in tune with her body and instantly got what it was all about, this made it easier for me as a therapist to work with her in the treatment".

Tracey studied the Diploma in Therapeutic Massage & Diploma Fascia Informed Bodywork with us. 


Find out more about our Diploma Fascia Informed Bodywork

Student Stories

Find out more about Fascia Informed Bodywork

Toby Taylor one year on…

“I found the School of Bodywork whilst at university. I had returned to education through frustration with my career, but found the same challenges whilst studying. I was profoundly dissatisfied with what I perceived to be a sedentary and abstract form of work which had little impact on people’s lives.

Until that point, I had enjoyed yoga and martial arts but had no idea how to develop these things professionally. As my studies progressed, I found less time for them and became quite depressed. And fat. Really quite fat. I was lucky enough to have made friends with a yoga teacher and his wife who both practised massage and through their encouragement, I decided to radically change what I was doing with my life.

I handed in my thesis, moved across the country to Exeter and began at School of Bodywork within 24 hours. I found that I was pretty good at what I was learning and the anatomy and physiology added a missing dimension to my yoga, which got me back into regular practice. As time went on, I was volunteering at charity and community events and found that people were really receptive to what I offered.

Since graduating a year ago, I’ve been able to successfully set up as a therapist and continued with the School’s post graduate programmes. My health has improved significantly and I’ve found a deeper satisfaction for my inclinations to explore and discover than I was offered previously. Through bodywork, I began a yoga teacher training course and have found that the massage gives a privileged perspective on posture and alignment. In truth, the insights I’ve been given through bodywork have far surpassed my expectations.

I currently work out of several practices in the Exeter area and I can’t see myself doing any other form of work. I feel privileged to have the support of the School and the local complementary health community.”

Student Stories

Find out more about our Diploma in Therapeutic Massage here

Tia Tamblyn’s journey…

“My journey as a massage therapist started in 2013 when I joined the Complete Bodywork Diploma course at the School of Bodywork. Little did I realise quite what a different direction life would move in when I discovered shortly after beginning the course that I was pregnant with twins! The twins were born in late April 2014, and I (just!) managed to complete the exams for the course to enable me to begin working from home as a massage therapist from that summer. Taking the course was one of the best decisions of my life. I absolutely love working as a therapist, using my hands and my head to make a difference to people’s health and well-being. I feel so lucky to have a business that can be flexible, and enable me to work from home. As it happens it also provides a wonderful counterpoint to looking after very small children, when I retreat into my therapy room, take a moment to calm myself and focus quietly on the client’s needs, which somehow seems to provide therapy for me too! I am so grateful not only for the initial training that I received but also for the ongoing development and support opportunities. I’m really looking forward to enrolling on the Remedial Massage Diploma next year, and hopefully seeing some familiar as well as meeting new faces!”

Julie O’Neill from mobile therapist to clinic…

"Since completing the Fascial Release course with Emma at the School of Bodywork my work schedule has been so busy. I remember Emma warning us in class that we would, but I didn’t realise at the time just how successful my business would become. My treatments have excelled forward with the results I’m achieving. I was working as a mobile Therapist before but have since opened up a clinic to save travelling time allowing me more time to cater for the demand. I would definitely recommend the Fascial Release course with Emma if you’re looking for techniques to really boost your treatments with positive results and expand your business. P.S. Already getting great results with the Rebounding!!!  


Find out more about our Rebounding Workshop

The study aims to describe the experience of receiving massage therapy whilst living with and recovering from mental illness. Using the Descriptive Phenomenological Method, the study gives voice to the lived experience of the individual. A purpose sample of four participants was recruited. The data analysis findings are written as a Descriptive Statement included in this paper in full. The outcomes deepen our understanding of how touch and the person of the therapist come together to provide a treatment for mental illness that centres on connection, safety and being of value and worth. Questions arise as to the degree in which massage may be regarded as a treatment and may be perceived as positively impacting mood. The implications of the study are relevant to massage therapists and open up discussion around accessibility and the provision of massage therapy within mainstream mental health services.

Extract from The Descriptive Statement: Recovery is self-acceptance of mental illness and its enduring nature. It is hope of a life lived as happily and healthily as possible. It is having access to support that is individualised and self-directed, with a range of different resources to access at different times. It is resilience in the face of societal pressures and inadequate support.

Massage is experienced as a treatment for mental illness and, if ongoing, provides an alternative and effective support, reducing the need for other interventions. Massage takes on new relevance for individuals as an important resource for recovery, one of many within the recovery ‘toolbox’. For some individuals, massage remains a ‘luxury’ and too limited in its impact to regard as treatment. The effects of massage share commonalities with mindfulness, notably the effect of deep mental relaxation. Massage contrasts with mainstream treatments, particularly in relation to the absence of negative impact – massage is viewed as a wholly positive experience.


Nikki Collins is an APNT and BCMA registered massage therapist, working privately in South Devon and for Force cancer support centre. She is also a qualified mental health nurse, currently returning to practice at Devon Partnership Trust. She has two children and spends her spare time wandering in the forests of nearby Dartmoor.

To read her paper click here