In-House Training – Online Course Option

Are you looking at new ideas for In-House Training? Find out how Beatlie School Campus, a community special needs school in West Lothian, worked with our flexible online course to offer training to 21 members of staff.

Beatlie School Campus is open to boys and girls aged 3-18 with a wide range of SEND including physical disabilities and sensory impairments. The programme is so widely enjoyed across the whole school that it is now a Centre of Excellence. Continue reading

Multi-Sensory Approach to Storytelling

Adding a multi-sensory dimension to storytelling brings a greater sense of engagement, communication and enjoyment for many children and adults. This blog post shows how sensory props and sensory approaches can work alongside the Story Massage Programme to create a fully inclusive and magical experience.

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Story Massage Strokes as Self-Massage

Many nurseries, schools and colleges are continuing the Story Massage Programme by teaching self-massage on hands and arms. Compliant with social distancing, beneficial for well-being… and a fun and creative activity that can be combined with curriculum topics.

Becoming a Story Massage Instructor

After completing our online course, you have the option of becoming a Story Massage Instructor. Here are some answers to your questions.

Do I need to become a Story Massage Instructor? 

You only need this extra certificate if you are an independent practitioner/therapist planning to gain insurance to run Story Massage groups such as sessions in schools, family groups, after-school clubs, library sessions or Baby Story Massage groups. Once you have gained your Story Massage Instructor Certificate this can be sent to your insurers. The course is accredited by FHT (Federation of Holistic Therapists).

Please note this is not a qualification to train others to use the Story Massage Programme in the workplace. There are only two Story Massage Programme trainers – Mary Atkinson and Sandra Hooper.

What are the pre-requisites?

The Story Massage Programme online course is a CPD course. In order to gain a Story Massage Instructor certificate you will need to have a qualification that includes a component in sharing massage, reflexology or yoga with groups of children or families. Some of the recognised qualifications that fulfil the criteria are below but please contact us as others may also be accepted:

MISP (Massage in Schools Programme), Impact (Kind Hands) or Relax Kids Coach

Light Touch Reflexology for Babies, Toddlers and Children or Baby Reflex

Infant Massage Instructor or Baby Massage Instructor

Baby Yoga Instructor or ITEC Diploma in Infant and Child Massage

How can I apply?

  • In addition to the course assessment questions, we ask you to send us a short video for assessment. Below is an example of a video from a student who has now qualified as a Story Massage Instructor. Your demonstration can be done on a child, teddy or even a pet. We expect you to show respectful touch, correct application of strokes, appropriate repetition of strokes, flow and linking of strokes with words. You can choose any poem, song or story. The video can be sent via whatever method suits you best to

  • We charge a small fee of £25 for administration of your Story Massage Instructor Certificate. Please email your name (for certificate) and postal address to: and we will issue you with an invoice. Certificates of Completion can be changed to Story Massage Instructor if you gain the necessary qualifications within 3 years of completing the Story Massage Programme online course.

Please note: All adults working with children or vulnerable adults require an enhanced DBS certificate (Disclosure and Barring Service) or equivalent. Therapists are required to adhere to the Code of Conduct and Professional Practice of their professional organisation.


Enhancing Communication for Pupils with PMLD

Communication and social interaction are key benefits of the Story Massage Programme at Ty Gwyn Special School in Cardiff. The school is now a Centre of Excellence and has been using the programme effectively with pupils with PMLD and autism for over two years. We talk to Hollie Parsons, senior teaching assistant, who says: “The Story Massage Programme has made a real difference to our pupils and we use it regularly whenever and wherever we can.” Continue reading

Story Massage in Lockdown – Fun Photos!

We have been overwhelmed by the positive response to the Story Massage Programme during lockdown. It seems that many people are discovering the benefits for the first time, whilst others are happily rediscovering them! And many more are saying that massage stories have been ‘life-saving’, ‘the total highlight’, ‘a real blessing’, ‘heaven sent’. So we have gathered together some photos to show just a few of the ways the programme has brought fun, connection and comfort.

Gemma’s Baby and Toddler Zoom Sessions

Gemma from Me & My Wellbeing has run two blocks of four week Story Massage, Movement and Song Online sessions via Zoom. These have been attended by those families who were regulars at her Story Massage face-to-face groups. She says they have appreciated being able to connect during lockdown. The toddlers responded really well as they were used to the massage strokes.

Stephanie’s Live Sessions for Families

Stephanie, a nurture teacher at Glenboig Primary School, led online Story Massage sessions for the whole school. She was amazed at how many families joined in and said it was a wonderful way of bringing everyone together when they were so far apart.

Megan’s Seaside Walk

Megan has been enjoying massage stories with her mum, Emma, who says she does the story as a massage story then follows it with sensory props. Here’s Megan holding a yellow balloon to give the feeling of the sun in a Seaside Walk massage story.

Verna’s Weekly School Videos

We’ve been delighted to hear how many people have stepped right out of their comfort zone to record videos for children at home. Here’s Verna, a teaching assistant from Hawthorns School with her trusty teddy all dressed up for an Under the Sea themed massage story. We’ve heard from families who have really appreciated these videos and home-school partnership through the Story Massage Programme.

Luella and Dotty

Dotty, the rabbit, looks very chilled under Luella’s nurturing touch. And she is not the only pet to relax with massage stories – we have had positive feedback from owners of dogs, cats and even horses!

Leigh on Instagram

Leigh from The Little Wellness Company has been demonstrating massage stories with her daughter, Myla on Instagram. Leigh talks about the benefits and then suggests that families follow-along at home. Myla loves to do the strokes on her doll or teddy at the same time!

Maisy and Poppy with Minibeasts…

Maisy and Poppy make massage stories into a real sensory experience. They spend time preparing sensory props to accompany the words. Here they are getting ready for a massage story about mini beasts. Such creativity.

… and Evie in the Jungle!

And here’s Evie all ready for a Story Massage adventure in the jungle. Her mum, Alli, says Evie loves massage stories and finds her level of response and engagement is ‘phenomenal’.

Emmanuel on the Big Screen

Many schools followed along with Mary and Emmanuel’s sessions using a big screen in the classroom. Here are Key Stage 2 children at Cherry Garden School getting involved  – with very relaxed looks on their faces.

Jo in the Park

Jo from RevitaliseU-Kent Well-Being for Children has been preparing for family sessions once lockdown ends. She has been sharing sessions in the park with two very excited three year old twins. And she is currently looking for a name for the new member of her well-being team!

Marie’s Bookworms

Marie shared Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star with children at Bookworms Day Care for the first time during lockdown. They discussed positive touch and the children learnt the importance of asking permission. They thought it was ‘wonderful’ and made them feel ‘relaxed’ and ‘dizzy’.

Hugh’s Haircut

Like many people with sensory issues, Hugh used to hate having his hair cut. During lockdown, his mother, Emma, found it especially hard to manage the upset and anxiety of haircuts at home. However, specially written massage stories have helped calm and reassure him. Now he even laughs while having his hair cut!

Would you like to train in the Story Massage Programme?

Are you inspired by the benefits of the programme during lockdown?  Would you like to train to share massage stories in your work or home? We run a popular online course to teach you how to share the ten Story Massage strokes and use them to adapt familiar stories or even create some sensory stories of your own. Ideal for Early Years practitioners, teachers, therapists, those working with people with additional needs, Relax Kids coaches… everyone with an interest in sharing positive touch activities with children or adults. All the information is here: Story Massage Online Training.

Two Christmas Massage Stories

Here are two heart-warming massage stories written especially for the Story Massage Programme and adapted with Story Massage strokes. They are demonstrated by Mary Atkinson, co-founder of the Story Massage Programme accompanied by her teddy, Emmanuel. We hope you will follow-along and enjoy this simple positive touch activity. It is fun and fully inclusive of all ages and abilities.

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Story Massage for Children with Autism – Ten Key Benefits

We have been so delighted to hear feedback about the many benefits of the Story Massage Programme for children with autism. Benefits include relaxation, touch tolerance, emotional regulation, increased concentration, better sleep and social connection. Here is a collection of some of the reported benefits of the Story Massage Programme for children on the autistic spectrum. Continue reading

Easing the Anxiety of Haircuts

Like many people with sensory issues, 10 year old Hugh Murphy used to hate having his hair cut. During lockdown, his mother, Emma, found it especially hard to manage the upset and anxiety of haircuts at home. Then she tried using the Story Massage Programme and found it helped calm and reassure him. Emma explains more…

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