Sensory Stories and Inclusive Benefits of Narrative

It was such a pleasure to meet Joanna Grace, Founder of The Sensory Projects, and talk about the powerful connection between our work – Sensory Stories and Story Massage. Joanna kindly agreed to write a guest blog which offers a fascinating insight into the power of narrative. She encourages us to look at stories from a different angle and to consider them as a powerful tool for inclusion. Read on to discover a whole new dimension to the benefits of story. Continue reading

Functional Reflex Therapy and Story Massage in Zambia

Story Massage is a versatile activity that combines well with other therapies such as reflexology. We were so delighted to interview Lorraine Senior, founder of Functional Reflex Therapy (FRT), about her experiences of sharing Story Massage in three schools in Zambia as part of her FRT Global Project 2018. And these wonderful photos show just how much everyone enjoyed the sessions. Continue reading

Story Massage Success at Networking Meetings

Story Massage is not only for children! As National Massage Day (October 1st 2018) approaches, we share Jayne Burke’s reflections on a successful networking event for National Massage Day last year. “Story Massage is a wonderful way of breaking down barriers at meetings, conferences and even team bonding days,” says Jayne who has won our Best Practice Award for her work. We hope that Jayne’s experiences will inspire you to share positive touch activities with your colleagues. Go on, give it a go….

Jayne steps out of her comfort zone

“When I heard that National Massage Day was on 16th May 2017, I decided to put on my big girl pants and ask my business coach if I could do a group activity in his monthly networking meeting (StroudNet). He usually has two high profile speakers at each event so when he said yes, I was delighted that I had been brave enough to pluck up the courage to actually ask him.

“On the morning of National Massage Day I arrived at the venue slightly earlier than usual and I noticed that I had butterflies in my tummy, I was excited about being able to share my passion. I had my carefully thought out massage story with me and, at the appropriate time, I was introduced and invited to stand up in front of the 50 people from local businesses.”

Encouraging others to share Story Massage

“I took a few slow deep breaths then demonstrated a few Story Massage strokes in the air and asked them to join in as I talked them through my massage story (see below). I could hear giggles as I asked them to imagine a map of Gloucestershire on the back on the person stood in front of them. I asked them to perform a Story Massage stroke at the appropriate place on the map to represent those travelling from Winchcombe (where I live). Everyone started to get involved and I heard someone call out the ‘Forest of Dean’ and another called out ‘Stroud’. I revelled in their verbal engagement with the activity.”

Creating a happy atmosphere at networking events

“I made my way back to my table amid a huge round of applause which seemed to go on for ages. However, although delighted, I was fascinated by the amount of love and laughter that had been released into the room and showed on people’s faces. Story Massage is a great way of getting our happy hormones flowing!

“Even after 20 years as a Holistic Therapist, I still love seeing the way people change when they experience my PAT (Positive Appropriate Touch) instruction and I feel very privileged every time it happens. Luckily, one of the attendees at the event was a photographer so I now have a wonderful record of the wonder, delight and happiness in the room. I was also deeply touched when many of the attendees made the effort to find me later on; both to thank me, and to share their experiences.

“Since then I have shared Story Massage at an IWork4UGlos Networking event and will also be sharing it at a Women’s Business ClubNetworking event later on in October.

Sharing Positive Appropriate Touch with all ages

“Story Massage is a fantastic way to share the benefits of positive touch with children and adults. And it is so much fun…! Take a look at my video to find out more.”

More about Story Massage

Story Massage combines the benefits of positive, respectful touch with the creativity and engagement of storytelling. It is enjoyed by all ages and abilities. Ten simple massage strokes form the basis of the Story Massage programme. These strokes have a name such as The Circle or The Sprinkle, and an easy to recognise symbol. It is a fully inclusive activity, no clothing is removed and no oil is used. Ideal for everyone with an interest in sharing positive touch activities with children and adults. All the information about courses is here: Story Massage Training

Story Massage is celebrating National Massage Day!

We’re delighted to be part of National Massage Day on October 1st 2018. And the celebrations will continue throughout October which is now designated Pro-Touch Awareness Month. We are hoping you will join us to promote the power of positive touch and human connection.

What is National Massage Day and Pro-Touch Awareness Month?

This new venture is being created by the current owner of NMD, Liz Badger – with the full blessing of founder, Gill Tree.  There are exciting times ahead with a whole range of pro-touch events and activities across the country. And NMD will also see the launch of a valuable online platform with public information freely available to raise awareness of hands-on therapies and activities such as Story Massage. Read on to find out how you can get involved.

The Story Massage team were part of the National Massage Day celebrations back in 2014 when we posted a whole range of different massage congos enjoyed by people of all ages! And we are now busy working on ideas to help and support the new initiative. Check out our social media for all the updates.

Five ways you can be involved – for free!

  • Send us your photos and/or videos of Story Massage in action. We are planning to post a photo or video every day for the whole of October. Please send us your photos and/or videos to with a little caption. We want to show the versatility of Story Massage and how it brings relaxation, fun and comfort (and so much more!) to people of all ages and abilities.

  • Join the Public Facebook group. This is a fun and supportive group where you can post ideas, photographs, experiences, blogs, testimonials and events. You’ll get lots of ideas! It’s free to join and be part of the community – click here.

  • Put on an small event or activity. You can download a free logo, welcome video and ideas sheet with ways you can contribute to National Massage Day and Pro-Touch Awareness month. Check out the downloads here. 

  • Visit Olympia Beauty, London on 1st October to watch the National Massage Championship. Register for free tickets to watch the event and be part of the relaunch of National Massage Day and Pro-Touch Awareness Month. Plenty of freebies and incentives on offer!

  • Check out the online platform when it comes live. You’ll find a section on Story Massage! All the information is easy to understand and of interest to everyone who shares a passion for the many benefits of positive touch. It is free of charge, sponsored and hosted by the The Therapist Business Club. From 1st October you can access it here: Pro-Touch Platform.

More about Story Massage

Story Massage combines the benefits of positive, respectful touch with the creativity and engagement of storytelling. It is enjoyed by all ages and abilities. Ten simple massage strokes form the basis of the Story Massage programme. These strokes have a child friendly name, such as The Circle or The Sprinkle, and an easy to recognise symbol making it accessible for all. It is a fully inclusive activity, no clothing is removed and no oil is used. Ideal for therapists, teachers, SEN staff, support staff, Early Years practitioners,  those working with people with additional needs, Baby Massage Instructors, Relax Kids Coaches… everyone with an interest in sharing positive touch activities with children and adults. All the information is here: Story Massage Training


Story Massage Lanyards Available Now!

Have you trained with us, either on the face or online? We can now offer you a Story Massage Lanyard with an approved and signed ID badge and/or a key ring with the ten strokes. We’ve had some fantastic feedback already – so do make the most of our special introductory offer.


Option 1 – a blue lanyard with an approved Story Massage ID badge (see below). The back is personalised for you with details of your name, date trained and the signatures of the co-founders, Mary and Sandra. Your certificate will indicate which of these two logos is applicable to you. Any questions, just email us or check out this blog post: Certificates Explained.  (Please note: if you wish to purchase the Story Massage Instructor Lanyard, please send us a copy of your certificate as a photo or scan)

Cost: £10 plus £2 p & p (UK rates). Please email us for overseas postage costs.

Option 2 – a blue lanyard with the ten Story Massage strokes. (see below).

Cost: £20 plus £2 p & p (UK rates).  Please email us for overseas postage costs.

Option 3 – a blue lanyard with the Story Massage approved ID badge plus a key chain of strokes. (see below).

Cost: £25 plus £2 p & p (UK rates).  Please email us for overseas postage costs.


These lanyards are only available to people who have completed our face-to-face or online training. Please email your request with:

  • Your name (for ID Badge) and postal address
  • Date of your training – day, month, year e.g. 19th June 2018
  • Photo or scan of your certificate – if you wish to purchase the Story Massage Instructor ID Badge
  • Email:

We will issue you with an invoice and then arrange delivery of your order.

Story Massage at Tes SEN Show 2018

Do you work with children or young people with special educational needs? Do you know about the Tes SEN Show 2018? Story Massage is excited to be exhibiting at this year’s show for the first time. Come and meet us, Mary Atkinson and Sandra Hooper, co-founders of Story Massage, on Stand 280. We will explain our unique programme of ten positive touch strokes and give you the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing Story Massage demonstration too!

What is the Tes SEN Show?

The Tes SEN Show is the largest, most-established special educational needs show in the UK. And it is free to enter, you simply need to register in advance. It is being held on Friday and Saturday, 5th and 6th October 2018 at The Business Design Centre in London.
The show is a great opportunity for SEN professionals at all levels of education to gain valuable CPD, update current thinking and find out about the latest products, resources and services. There are 42 CPD certified seminars and lots of free-to-attend workshop sessions plus exhibitors, including Story Massage.. There is also a Parent and Carer Forum where you can meet with other professionals and parents of children with SEN. 

Story Massage and SEN

Our popular programme of ten simple positive touch strokes is now widely used in Special Schools around the UK. Story Massage is fully inclusive with benefits including increased engagement, communication and attainment. Above all it is fun and interactive, making it enjoyable not only for children and young people with SEN, but also for teaching staff, parents and siblings.

Here is a video of Story Massage in Action in a Special School in Wales.

Some feedback for Story Massage

“Story Massage has become such an important part of everyday family life with our severely disabled daughter, Maisy and her sister, Poppy (photo below). Story Massage has also ignited that creative flare and confidence in helping others that I thought I had lost. I just can’t imagine our lives now without Story Massage. Thank you!” Sophie Kidd-Munnery, Mother

“We’ve been using Story Massage at Ysgol Y Deri Special School for over three years.  It is very rare to find an activity, which can engage all  learners no matter what their needs, age or disabilities.  We love the flexibility to develop your own stories and make it unique to your setting so we can meet the individual needs of the pupils. We have really noticed an improvement in engagement and communication.” Lisa Lawrence, Sensory Learning Leader      

Would you like to know more about Story Massage?

Visit us at Stand 280 at the Tes SEN Show and we will give you a warm welcome. Or contact us on to discover more about our resources and training opportunities, including INSET days and an online course.

With Kids 10th Birthday Conference on Children and Childhood

Many Play Therapists are now training in Story Massage as a fun and effective addition to their work. For the past three years we have run our training sessions at With Kids in Glasgow working closely with practitioners and students offering Play Therapy early interventions for children. We are delighted to share news of the With Kids 10th Birthday Conference. ‘A Wean’s World’: A Conference on Children and Childhood.

Date: Friday September 7th 2018
Time: 9.30am to 4pm (registration 9.00am to 9.30am)
Venue: The Old Sheriff Court (Scottish Youth Theatre), Brunswick Street, Glasgow, G1 1TF
Price: £95 per person (concessions available, please enquire) Lunch included

Tickets:  via Eventbrite here: With Kids 10th Birthday Conference

More information: please contact

To celebrate their 10th birthday With Kids are holding a conference on children and childhood exploring their work over the past 10 years. ‘A Wean’s World’ will include experiential workshops, talks and presentations giving an overview of their work. There will be discussions around the how and why of children’s behaviour, the benefits of early intervention through therapeutic approaches and why it is important as professionals to keep the child at the centre of our work.


Attendees will be able to participate in two workshops.

Workshop 1:  ‘Haud yer Wheest’: Keeping the child in mind and at the centre of complex multi-disciplinary cases
Workshop 2:  ‘Talk of the Steamie’: How to engage and support parents and carers.
Workshop 3:  ‘Ye comin’ or goin’: Recognising and preventing the repeating cycles of trauma in children
Workshop 4:  ‘Awa with the fairies’: Entering the child’s world through symbolic play
Workshop 5:  ‘Aw right pal’: The benefits of play therapy
Workshop 6:  ‘Ye dancin? – Ye askin?’: The use of non verbal communication in building relationships.
Workshop 7:  ‘I’ve got a heid full of mince’: Neurobiology and brain development in children

More about With Kids

With Kids, a Scottish based children’s mental health charity was set up in 2008 in response to what we now call ACE’s (adverse childhood experiences). Now entering their tenth year delivering Play Therapy early interventions, With Kids have worked with and supported thousands of children, parents and carers, liaised with hundreds of Head Teachers, teachers and support staff as well as statutory and voluntary agencies. Their work has given a unique insight and first hand experience of the difficulties that children in Scotland can face and enabled us to target a service in a way that is most meaningful to the children they support. In 2016 they started running the Msc in Play Therapy in collaboration with Queen Margaret University and next year will see the first trench of qualified Play Therapists graduate.

Training in Story Massage at With Kids

Our next dates for Story Massage training at With Kids are November 7th, 8th or 9th 2018. More information here: Story Massage at With Kids. 



Sign Up Today for Summer Holiday Fun!

Are you looking for new Summer Holiday FUN activities for all the family? Story Massage is the perfect activity to keep your children -or grandchildren, nephews and nieces – happy and engaged. And we now have a Story Massage Online Course to help you learn at a time and place to suit you. Sign up today and you could be sharing Story Massage with children at home or in your workplace within a few days.

How can I sign up for the online course?

You simply sign up using this link: Story Massage Online Course. You will have a choice of two options: Option 1 (£134) includes the book and some stickers; Option 2 (£115) is designed for people who already own the book or live overseas. So you could always start by buying the Story Massage Book (available from the resources page of this website) as an introduction to the benefits and fun of sharing massage stories.

A new skill for YOU…

The course is estimated to take 12-18 hours and can be taken anywhere – in the house, garden, away in a caravan, on a beach… the list goes on! We recommend that children help you as they have such amazing imaginations – so you can be studying a new skill while you spend quality time with them. It’s win, win, win for Summer Holiday fun!

And if you don’t get it finished, there is 6 months to complete the course so time when the children go back to school. And an extension is available if you still need more time.

If you are planning to use Story Massage in your work, then CPD points and a certificate are awarded at the end of the course. There is the added bonus of joining an online community to share stories and gain inspiration about ways to incorporate it into your work.

A Summer Holiday FUN activity for everyone …

Children love it! They can share it with their siblings, try it on their friends, their pets, even give you a massage at the end of a hot and perhaps stressful day? It’s FREE, fun and interactive – without the need for a screen! And once you have learnt the strokes, you can let your imagination go wild.

You will also be helping them develop a positive and respectful awareness of how touch can impact their lives, how they can talk about their feelings with confidence and feel listened to.

“The course was easy, informative and made me want to progress to finish. It has shown me the importance of giving children some attention time and to listen to their worries. I am using Story Massage with my granddaughter at present and she is sleeping so much better.” Jacqui Torah

“The online course is very supportive, practical and easy to use. All the important factors are repeated which helps learning. I loved using the stickers and creating my own stories. I was amazed at how the ten strokes can be used in so many different ways. The sky’s the limit!” Emma-Jayne Beattie

More about Story Massage

Story Massage combines the benefits of positive, respectful touch with the creativity and engagement of storytelling. Ten simple massage strokes form the basis of the Story Massage Book and training options. These strokes have a child friendly name, such as The Circle or The Sprinkle, and an easy to recognise symbol making it accessible for all. It is a fully inclusive activity, no clothing is removed and no oil is used so it is ideal for young people and children of all ages and abilities. The perfect activity for Summer Holiday fun. Sign up to the course here, today: Story Massage Online Course

Story Massage Book

Benefits of Story Massage for Babies

“Story Massage for babies is fun and interactive” says Sally Hudson, a Story Massage Instructor who has developed a five week block of ‘Story Massage, Movement and Song’ classes as a follow-on from her Baby Massage and Yoga classes. Sally, founder of Little Miracle Massage in Angus, was recently presented with our Best Practice Award for her enthusiasm and commitment to helping parents share the benefits of positive touch as their children grow from baby to child to teen. We asked Sally some questions about her work.

What happens in a ‘Story Massage, Movement and Song’ class?

Classes are held in the morning, from 10.00 to 11.15. The babies attending are over the age of 5-6 months as there is a lot of interaction, lap bouncing and movement in my classes. There is a different theme each week such as Animals, Seaside Fun, Weather, Traditional Nursery Rhymes and Tapping Sticks.

Each class has a set structure as babies respond so well to repetition. We always start with our Hello Song. We sing it to each baby while their Mums are massaging them, and they love this. The babies seem to get very excited because they know what is coming next…. we do some stretching and then we begin the themed Story Massage session. We finish each week with massage to our Goodbye Song.

What is Story Massage for Babies?

Story Massage for babies is done fully clothed and no oil is used. Parents learn ten simple massage strokes which are used to describe words. For example, parents might use a big circular massage movement to illustrate the sun is shining, or a walking massage movement to illustrate a bear. Once these basic strokes are learnt, they can be used to share positive touch through a whole variety of stories, rhymes and songs.

Each week, we sing songs on the theme and use the different massage strokes as we sing together. We repeat each song about 2-3 times as this give the Mums the opportunity to memorise the words and the strokes, and the repetition encourages relaxation and language development for the babies. We also includes a short story on the theme of the week. I read this aloud while the Mums massage their babies and it encourages everyone to listen and relax.

Do you use any props?

We use props relating to the class theme. And there are always sensory props available such as scarves, feathers, textured balls and soft brushes which give a variation to touch other than Mum’s hands. Babies enjoy the feathery sensation or the tickle of a scarf on their body.

What are the benefits of Story Massage for babies?

Story Massage can help with physical, emotional and social development.

  • Story Massage allows parents to continue to offer nurturing massage as the child grows. It is a life-long skill that they can use for many years.
  • Repetition of songs and stories encourages anticipation, development of language skills, focus and concentration, communication, turn taking and socialising skills.
  • Research (taken from The Touch Institute, Miami) has proven that children who learn healthy views of touch and are provided with tactile experience by a parent or carers are more likely to grow up with a healthy self image, a sense of appropriate boundaries and long lasting intimate relationships.
  • Babies and parents enjoy the fun, creativity and interaction of positive touch through Story Massage
  • Story Massage offers parents the opportunity to connect and relax with their baby through the medium of story telling, singing and loving touch. This helps build upon their existing parent/child bond.

How did you train in Story Massage?

I chose to take the Story Massage Online Course because attending a course can often be quite difficult when you have a lot of demands to juggle. I am already a practising Massage in School Programme (MISP) Instructor so it was easy for me to complete it quite quickly. I chose to do the training so that I could use Story Massage in a school setting within my regular groups, and also as a follow on from Baby Massage classes. I can see endless opportunities for Story Massage as a 1-2-1 activity and in classes and groups for children of all ages and abilities.

You can find all the details of our training options here: Story Massage Training.