“Wonderful, Interactive and Calming Experience for Children with PMLD”

“A wonderful interactive and calming experience for children with PMLD” was how Sophie Kidd-Munnery described the Story Massage Programme in a recent facebook post. We were really touched by Sophie’s glowing testimony of the benefits for her two daughters, Maisy and Poppy (pictured below). So we’ve repeated it here … in Sophie’s own words.

Training in the Story Massage Programme

“A couple of years ago I trained in the Story Massage Programme. The course opened up my mind and inspired me to start using this wonderful technique with my daughters Maisy and Poppy at home. The benefits were so amazing that I won a Best Practice Award and we were featured on blog posts: Benefits of Story Massage for Children with PMLD and Helping Children with PMLD Cope with Bereavement.

Running a Story Massage Group

“My next step was to start a little group at Ramsey War Memorial Hall where I had become a volunteer.  I ran this alongside a playgroup and it meant so much to me. I also put on different themed events. Sadly my involvement at the charity has had to be shelved due to Maisy’s changing health and other traumatic life events. But my love and use of the Story Massage Programme within our family home has never been lost.

Positive Touch and Life Support

“Last year Maisy became very poorly and was on life support. Sharing massage stories was so important to us during this time and through her whole PICU journey. It gave us the ability to keep connected in some form with her.

“I hoped that she could hear the stories and feel our love through the positive touch. Her heart rate used to increase sometimes which gave me the sign that she was still there even if she was so desperately ill. I hoped it gave her the reassurance that we were with her, willing her to survive.

“Maisy was in hospital for nearly six months and I continued to adapt familiar pieces of music and rhymes into massage stories. Since being home I have used it within her rehabilitation. And also during times when she has endured further infections to aid healing and to create a calm environment.

Enhancing Family Bonds

“Poppy has always loved sharing massage stories with Maisy. It was a wonderful way to help rebuild the loss they endured when they were separated. The results were breathtaking. Poppy was awarded a Junior Practice Award for the way she cared so much for Maisy and showed her love by writing massage stories. It has truly enhanced the love that the girls and I share between us and has created such a wonderful interactive and calming experience for Maisy.

“Other members of my family now use the Story Massage Programme too along with some friends who have watched me practise this wonderful technique. Even our pets enjoy the benefits! It just proves the true impact something so simple can have. You need nothing but the ability to adapt and deliver the strokes. It bring so many benefits for children with PMLD, and their families. I would really recommend anyone to take the training and find out more about using this wonderful technique at home or within their work. Story Massage Training. 

Fun and Interaction

“Here is a video of Maisy enjoying the audio book Superworm by Julia Donaldson, adapted as a massage story. It was so precious to see Maisy’s positive response. A very beautiful moment.”


Story Massage Training in Birmingham

Discover the powerful combination of storytelling with simple massage techniques on this accredited training in Birmingham on Weds 29th Jan 2020.Open to everyone with an interest in sharing positive touch activities and peer massage with children and adults. For all the dates and venues please visit Story Massage Training Dates and Venues.  Continue reading

Centre of Excellence Winners – December 2019

We are thrilled to announce our three latest Centres of Excellence – all from Scotland! This prestigious award is presented to schools, charities and organisations where at least four members of staff are trained in the Story Massage Programme and they have been using it for over a year. Our Centres of Excellence show remarkable commitment and enthusiasm for delivering the benefits of the programme.

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Best Practice Winners – December 2019

Many congratulations to our latest Best Practice Award winners. And what an inspiration they are! It has been such a privilege to read through the entries. Here is a brief look at just some of many ways that the Story Massage Programme is bringing benefits within a whole range of settings.

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Making the Most of Multisensory Rooms – a New Book

Many people share the Story Massage Programme within their multisensory rooms so we were particularly interested in Joanna Grace’s new book Multiple Multisensory Rooms – Myth Busting the Magic. And it is a ‘must read’ for parents, professionals and anyone who genuinely wants to make the most of the opportunities offered by this sensory space.

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Bedtime Story Massage for Thomas

The Story Massage Programme is now an integral part of a bedtime routine for Thomas, a lively 8 year old boy with complex needs and PMLD. “We use it every evening to prepare Thomas for his bath and then bed,” says his mother, Lucy, “He always laughs and smiles. He loves it!”

Story Massage for Siblings

Lucy was introduced to the Story Massage Programme after buying the book Once Upon a Touch… Story Massage for Children for Thomas and his sister, Emily, two years ago. It was a big hit with Emily, then aged 9, and she began writing her own massage stories. Here’s one she wrote especially for her brother to help him sleep.

Connecting with Story Massage

“Story Massage is such a lovely way for us all to connect with Thomas,” says Lucy, “He likes all the different strokes -The Circle is his favourite. As he has such complex needs, we find it best to do the strokes on his chest while he is lying on his back – either on his bed or the physio table.”

Bedtime Story for Thomas

Following the success of Emily’s massage story, Lucy decided to write her own bedtime story for Thomas. This is now pinned up beside his bed and used every evening – sometimes by Lucy or her husband, sometimes by her mother or a carer. “We all follow the same routine and Thomas, like many children with PMLD,  really responds well to it,” says Lucy.

Here are the words of Lucy’s Bedtime Story.

And here is a video of Thomas enjoying his bedtime story.

Thomas Shows Anticipation

As the video shows, Thomas clearly loves the fun of the Story Massage Programme. Lucy has also noticed that it helps with anticipation as Thomas starts to vocalise sounds to show that he is expecting certain moves or a line in the story. “For example, when we do Animal Friends from the book,” says Lucy, “He starts laughing just before we do The Circle at the end. He seems to love the last line of the story which is ‘All Sammy’s friends are different and that’s what makes them special’.

Riding on a Star

It was a great pleasure to meet Lucy at the Raising The Bar 111 National PMLD Conference in October 2019 where she gave a presentation about the joys and challenges of raising a son with PMLD. You can follow her story on her facebook page and blog: Riding on a Star. Lucy is pictured below with Mary Atkinson (right), co-founder of the Story Massage Programme and Joanna Grace (left) the inspiration behind The Sensory Projects. You can also find out more about Joanna’s important work with Sensory Stories on our blog: Sensory Stories and the Inclusive Benefits of Narrative.


World Nursery Rhyme Week – 2019

We’re celebrating the popular World Nursery Rhyme Week (18th -22nd November 2019) by adapting the five nursery rhymes for Story Massage sessions. You’ll find these on our Story Massage for Children Facebook Page. They include: Baa, Baa Black Sheep, Down in the Jungle, Incy Wincy Spider, Row, Row Your Boat and Two Little Dicky Birds. 

Nursery Rhymes and the Story Massage Programme

Nursery rhymes play an important role in early childhood development and education. And for extra benefits, they can be easily adapted as a respectful, positive touch activity to be enjoyed at home, school or nursery settings. The Story Massage Programme is based on ten simple massage strokes, each with a self-explanatory name such as The Wave or The Fan and descriptive symbol. To give you an idea of how nursery rhymes can be adapted, here is a short video demonstration of Incy, Wincy Spider.


Do check out our Story Massage for Children Facebook Page in the week beginning November 18th 2019 for all five nursery rhymes.

More about World Nursery Rhyme Week

World Nursery Rhyme Week is a free initiative sponsored by Music Bugs (sensory music classes for children) and supported by music downloads and worksheets from Piccolo Music. The aim is to promote the important role that nursery rhymes play in early childhood by helping children master key skills such as language and communication and social, physical and emotional skills.

The initiative is open to parents and all Early Years practitioners worldwide and all downloadable resources are provided free of charge.To find out more about how you can be involved in World Nursery Rhyme Week please visit the website: World Nursery Rhyme Week

The Story Massage Programme

We run training days for professionals and parents to learn how to share the Story Massage Programme. We also have a popular book Once Upon a Touch…Story Massage for Children which is available from our website. This includes over 25 different stories including nursery rhymes and traditional tales adapted for Story Massage sessions.

Story Massage Book


Story Massage Training in Brighton

Discover the powerful combination of storytelling with simple massage techniques with our Story Massage training in Brighton on Friday 6th December 2019. The FHT accredited CPD day course is suitable for everyone interested in positive touch and sensory activities for children and adults of all ages and abilities. Continue reading