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.

Which schools did you visit?

“The FRT team comprised of myself and Janet Hardman, an experienced therapist. Our project began in Siavonga Primary School, on the north shore of Lake Kariba. We then moved to Flamboyant Special School in Mazabuka for a further week before heading to St Mulumba Special School in Choma. It was wonderful to return to Choma following our trip in 2017.  St. Mulumba is a special place that provides a home, education and family support for over 200 children with physical, emotional and life changing conditions. A number are orphaned, some have HIV and need very special care and support.

“We were warmly welcomed by staff and pupils and spent our time teaching skills so the staff could deliver the Functional Reflex Therapy Routine to the children. We also introduced some new educational activities and therapies including Story Massage.”

How did you introduce Story Massage?

“We gave short introductory sessions to give some ideas for them to develop over the coming months. I began by demonstrating the ten Story Massage strokes and everyone had a go. Then we all enjoyed the massage story that I had written especially for them all (see below). We repeated each movement and line of the story three times to give the children time to hear, feel and process the touch and the information. This is very much in line with the FRT approach for working with children with additional needs.

“We provided each school with laminated symbols for the ten Story Massage strokes plus instructions on how give the movement. Each school had a copy of the massage story so they could continue using it. We also talked briefly about how to make up their own or use stories and rhymes they already knew to add movements to them.”

Did you notice any benefits from the Story Massage sessions?

“We had so much fun! Everyone absolutely loved Story Massage. The children’s expressions are just so special. Just like FRT, Story Massage is very simple but so powerful. We will keep in touch with the schools and ask about the longer term benefits of the children.

“From my perspective as a Story Massage Instructor, one of the benefits of sharing Story Massage in these situations is just how many children we could include in one go. We had a class of 54 children taking part!”

More about Functional Reflex Therapy

The Functional Reflex Therapy Framework for Reflexology is designed for children and adults of all ages with high levels of anxiety, intellectual difficulties, autism, special educational needs and disabilities. It is also an enjoyable and beneficial experience for more vulnerable adults with dementia and Alzheimer’s. It offers a unique approach accessible to all. FRT uses a combination of relaxation techniques drawn from original theories and practices of reflexology. You can find out more about training in the FRT approach here: Functional Reflex Therapy

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


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