Story Massage at Children’s Hospital Schools

The Story Massage Programme is proving a valuable addition to tuition services on the wards at Children’s Hospital Schools across the country. This blog highlights the benefits of the programme for one particular young man, Ellis Jones, at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales.

Relaxation and Engagement

“I can’t thank you enough for the Story Massage Programme online training,” says Isabel Thomas, Hospital Teacher and ALNCo at Noah’s Ark. “Sharing massage stories has been particularly beneficial for our learners, such as Ellis, with complex needs. It offers relaxation and fun in what can be quite a traumatic setting.”

Ellis has a condition known as Dystonia which presents with uncontrollable muscle spasms and can be very painful. He often needs to stay for long periods of time at the children’s hospital and enjoys Story Massage sessions as part of the hospital tuition services. “Ellis becomes very relaxed during a massage story,” says Isabel, “and this helps to reduce muscle spasms.”

Creating a Massage Poem

Recently, Ellis received a visit from his favourite rugby player, Rhys Patchell, who plays fly-half for Wales. Rhys stayed for three hours and shared lots of stories of his own injuries, stresses and successes, and even brought a Welsh rugby shirt as a gift. To honour this special occasion, Isabel worked with Ellis’s parents to create a wonderful massage poem all about the memorable day.

“The online training really highlighted the therapeutic qualities of touch,” says Isabel, “and seeing Ellis’s response to this massage poem made me realise that you can never underestimate the power of nurturing touch. At the end of the each verse of the poem is the line: The fly-half number 10 came to the hospital and scored again. Ellis responds very positively to the repetition of the strokes and words.”

Positive Feedback for Group Training at Evelina Children’s Hospital School

At Evelina Hospital School in London, there are 19 members of staff trained or currently training in the Story Massage Programme. They say: “The programme of inclusive of all abilities. It is a tool to stimulate the love for reading and learning through story sharing and adds a kinaesthetic extension to learning accessible to all. … It helps build trust and encourage children to try different ways of expressing themselves…. Through this online course I have better understood the power and benefits of the programme and how I can customise and adapt educational methods and techniques to be a really positive experience.”

More about the Story Massage Programme

The Story Massage Programme combines the benefits of positive, respectful touch with the creativity and engagement of storytelling. Ten basic massage strokes are the foundation of the programme. These strokes have a simple 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. Stories can be taken from our Story Massage book, adapted from favourite stories or songs or you can create your own massage stories – just like Isabel did at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital School.

Would you like to train in the Story Massage Programme?

Are you excited by the way that the programme is being shared in Children’s Hospital Schools? Do you want to find out more? All the information is here: Online Training Course.

You will learn how to share the ten Story Massage strokes, adapt familiar stories and even create some sensory stories of your own. Ideal for well-being coaches, therapists, teachers, SEN staff, support staff, Early Years practitioners, those working with people with additional needs, everyone with an interest in sharing positive touch activities with adults or children.