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. Take a look at our blog for examples of Story Massage in action.
The ten strokes can be used on any area that is accessible and appropriate for the person so it can be applied to the shoulders, back, arms, head, face, legs, hands and feet, all areas which are non-intrusive. No oil is used so clothes do not need to be removed. Movements are safe and can be adapted to suit varying personalities and temperaments. Positive touch through storytelling can be especially beneficial for children and adults with additional needs.
Benefits of Story Massage for Children
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.The benefits of positive touch are backed by extensive research from the Touch Research Institute Miami with findings including:
- Improved calmness and concentration
- Increased self-confidence, self-awareness and self-esteem
- Improved social skills
- Increased engagement in activities
- Better communication
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.
Story 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. Below is a massage story created by children to in a Nurture Group to celebrate a child’s birthday.
Some examples of Story Massage in Action
- Benefits of Story Massage for children with autism. Read more here: Sensory Stories and Autism
- Video clips of Story Massage for children with PMLD: Read more here: Positive Touch Activities for Children with PMLD
- Helping children develop positive relationships in school Nurture Groups. Read more here: Quarry Brae School Nurture Groups and Thorntree School Nurture Groups
- For siblings in hospice settings: Read more here: Nurturing Massage in Hospice Care
- As part of the Sensory Curriculum in Special Schools. Read more here: Story Massage at Ysgol Y Deri Special School and Learning positive touch at Westfield Special School
- Story Massage is popular with adults too. Read more here: Sensory Stories for Adults with PMLD and Positive Touch for Adults
- Babies and toddlers enjoy positive touch with massage stories. Babies and Toddlers love Massage Stories
- Sharing Life Stories with teenagers in Nepal. Read more here: Empowering Women of Nepal
- Story Massage at a holiday club for 4-8 year olds. Reads more here: Fun and Interaction at a Holiday Club