story massage

What is Story Massage?

Story Massage involves the use of simple movements (through clothes), associated with words that help to build up a story. Tracing a large circle on a child’s back, for example, can depict the image of the world while a gentle squeezing action on the shoulders can represent eating something very delicious. Story Massage can be shared as a child to child or parent to child activity. It is currently being used and developed worldwide in a variety of settings including home, school, after-school clubs, family centres, hospices and special schools.

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Story Massage strokes concentrate on shoulders, back, arms and head, all areas which are easily accessible and non-intrusive.  No oil is used for story massage, and children do not need to remove any clothes. Movements are safe and can be adapted to suit varying personalities and temperaments. Positive touch through storytelling can be especially beneficial for children with special/additional needs.

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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.

Story Massage Strokes

The benefits of positive touch for children are backed by extensive research from The Massage in Schools Association and 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 story massage.

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Story Massage offers a way of learning and communicating through play and positive interaction. You can adapt your own story massages from favourite stories and nursery rhymes, or have fun creating your own stories to reflect particular interests, activities or events such as birthdays and outings.

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Some examples of Story Massage in Action

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