Positive affirmations combined with Story Massage strokes can have a powerful impact on well-being for both children and adults. Vicky Mulholland, a Speech and Language Therapist, Relax Kids coach and winner of our Best Practice Award, shares her experiences of working with Story Massage in the East End of Glasgow.
Vicky (above, 2nd right) is employed by With Kids, a charity offering a range of therapeutic services to children and parents/carers. This includes therapy aimed at helping children and parents/carers work through difficult emotions. “Many of the children and adults in the East End of Glasgow are affected by poverty and struggle with social interaction, anxiety and self-esteem issues,” says Vicky, “Affirmations combined with Story Massage can help them start to see the positive in themselves. The sessions have made a real difference.”
Positive Affirmations and Story Massage
As part of her work with With Kids, Vicky visits schools where many of the children have ASD and language disorders. She also runs family, group and parent/carer activities and sessions. “I love incorporating positive affirmations with Story Massage strokes,” she says. “The sessions can be very emotional and although there are a lot of tears, it is a very personal and positive experience for everyone. Nurturing touch seems to add something very special to the power of affirmations.”
When working with affirmations as massage stories, Vicky tends to keep them short because people can become overwhelmed as they start to see themselves in a more positive light. “I try to encourage them to write their own affirmations about themselves,” she says, “but if they are struggling then they make up massage stories for each other and work together to put the strokes to the words.”
Affirmation Massage Story for a Child
Here is an example of a positive affirmation story for a child:
I am ….. (The Circle)
I am kind (The Squeeze)
I am crazy (The Sprinkle)
I am positive (The Walk)
I am smart (The Claw)
I am me. (The Circle)
Affirmation Massage Story for an Adult
And here an example of one written with/for/by an adult:
1 am Debbie (The Circle)
I am encouraging (The Squeeze)
I am caring (The Sprinkle)
I am patient (The Calm)
I am kind (The Squeeze)
I am supportive (The Circle)
Spontaneous Client-led Sessions
As Vicky’s sessions are so varied she needs to be flexible to meet individual needs. She finds that Story Massage lends itself perfectly to spontaneous, client-led activities with positive affirmations. “Once you know the strokes then you can just relax – everything else just seems to follow naturally,” she says, “That’s the beauty of Story Massage. The strokes are the same but everyone has a different approach. It never ceases to amaze me how appropriate and gentle touch has the power to completely change the atmosphere in a room, even for those watching it.”
What is Story Massage?
Story Massage encourages the benefits of positive, respectful touch by incorporating words and stories into the activity. 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 making it accessible for all. It is a fully inclusive activity for children and adults. No clothing is removed and no oil is used.
Would you like to train in Story Massage?
Are you inspired by the way that Vicky is using Story Massage for children and families in the East End of Glasgow? Would you like to train to use Story Massage in your work or home? We run a one day accredited training course held around the country for individuals and groups. These days can also be organised as in-house training sessions. And we also have a new online training option.
We teach you how to share the ten Story Massage strokes and work with you to adapt familiar stories and even create some sensory stories of your own. Ideal for Relax Kids coaches, teachers, SEN staff, support staff, therapists, Early Years practitioners, those working with people with additional needs, everyone with an interest in sharing positive touch activities with adults or children. All the information is here: Story Massage Training