Massage is an excellent way for children to develop their confidence and
self-esteem. It is calming and relaxing, a way of exploring touch, safely and
with respect, but most of all, it is great fun!”
Learning Mentor, Kingsmead School, London.
Starting out as an expert in Infant Massage, Jenni was always asked how to incorporate massage in a safe space for older children, and Story Massage is that next step.
Story Massage has been created so that parent and teachers can introduce your students to a daily relaxing, social and meditative practice in a fun, engaging and easy way. You get a set of stories to use as well as tools to develop their own stories either in the classroom or at home with their friends and family. We hope you will notice all kinds of positive effects and have a tool to either continue daily or call upon as needed.
What is Story Massage?
Story Massage combines the benefits of positive touch with the creativity of words – whether as story, rhyme or song. Ten simple massage strokes form the basis of the programme. These strokes have a name, such as The Circle or The Sprinkle, and an easy to recognise symbol making it fully accessible for all ages and abilities.
Story Massage can be shared as a child to child or parent to child activity or with adults. It is popular in a variety of settings including schools, special schools, care homes, after-school clubs, family centres, hospices and of course, the family home
There is also an educational element as Story Massage can be used to fit in with the national curriculum. Many children have learnt their numbers and letters, and elements of history, geography and nature through massage stories.
Massage offers a way of learning and communicating through play and positive
interaction. You can adapt your own massage stories from favourite stories and
nursery rhymes, or have fun creating your own stories to reflect particular
interests, activities or events.
Story Massage can be shared in different ways:
- In the classroom setting it is introduced as a peer massage activity between children. Examples of this might be in a school, kindergarten or community setting such as a Brownie group, relaxation class, or in the family home with siblings and friends.
- Children can bring Story Massage home to their families to share as a One-to-one activity between an adult and child. Examples of this might be in the family home with parents and/or grandparents.
The Benefits of Story Massage
We all love stories. When combined with the benefits of simple massage strokes, stories present wonderful opportunities for creative fun and interaction. Sharing positive touch offers great scope for imaginative activity and learning for children of all ages and abilities.
Benefits of Story Massage – Physical
Story Massage can help:
- Relax the body, easing tension and the cumulative effects of stress. Story Massage offers children the chance to learn the essential life-skill of conscious relaxation.
- Release of ‘feel-good’ hormones including oxytocin, which help to boost general wellbeing.
- Improve sleep by encouraging children to relax and switch off from the day.
Benefits of Story Massage – Emotional
Story Massage can help:
- Increase self-confidence, self-awareness and self-esteem.
- Enhance a child’s awareness of being valued, and bring a sense of self-worth.
- Regulate emotions by encouraging children to learn to process their emotions and react to situations in a calmer way.
- Build trust and encourage the release of any concerns and a chance for children to share confidences in a calm, comforting atmosphere.
- Act as a distraction from any worries, doubts or pain.
- Provide an opportunity for children to look at daily pressures and challenges in a more positive frame of mind.
Benefits of Story Massage – Social
Story Massage can help:
- Reduce aggressive and hyperactive behaviour. Children feel calmer and less anxious after sharing Story Massage and this reflects in their behaviour at home or school.
- Increase sensitivity towards others. Children become more aware of how their own actions and emotions can influence others.
- Build friendships and encourage bonding with others in a fun and interactive way. The shared experience of Story Massage can have a positive impact on relationships with other children and also parents, grandparents and caregivers.
children for future events or activities – a combination of positive touch
with a social story can help children feel more prepared for a difficult
transition, such as going to a new class, or an event such as going to the
Benefits of Story Massage – educational
Story Massage can:
- Help children to focus their minds so they are ready for learning.
- Improve concentration and engagement – sharing a massage story can help children to fully engage in the activity.
- Promote the development of imagination, creativity and expressive language – children love creating their own massage stories to share with others.
- Add a kinaesthetic extension to learning. Story Massage can be used as a curriculum-based activity to learn key concepts, words and dates.
- Improve communication – both verbal and non-verbal.
Respectful touch – children always ask permission before giving a massage, and then offer thanks at the end of the massage. It is vital to remember this aspect of respectful touch. Children’s bodies are their own and it is never too early to learn consent, comfort and respectful boundaries. In Story Massage, we try to make sure it becomes second nature for children throughout their everyday activities.