Story Massage for Siblings at a Children’s Hospice

The Story Massage Programme for siblings is proving very popular in palliative care settings. Here, Angela Garrett, Complementary Therapy Co-ordinator at Christopher’s Children’s Hospice explains how she first introduced the programme for siblings at a children’s hospice. St Christopher’s Children’s Hospice is a Centre of Excellence in the programme.

“Thank you so much. You have given me a wonderful and most adaptable tool for my ‘tool kit’ The training has given me the confidence and inspiration to facilitate Story Massage sessions at the hospice.” Angela Garrett

Introducing Story Massage to the Hospice

Angela introduced the Story Massage Programme to the parents and grandparents immediately after the training, with really positive feedback. The next step was working with the siblings. They hold regular Siblings Days at the hospice with around 12-15 children attending. Angela began by showing some of the ten basic Story Massage strokes that are the foundation of the Story Massage programme. The children then practised the strokes on each other, working in pairs. Then Angela demonstrated two massage stories from the our book: Once upon a touch…story massage for children.
Angela said that it seemed most appropriate to use stories from the section on ‘Time to Talk’ in the book, as they are especially written to offer some kind of therapeutic interaction for the children, enabling them to share their feelings in a safe and trusting place. So she chose A Safe Place and Animal Friends.


Siblings love the Story Massage Programme

Angela asked the children to get into groups and asked them to write a Story Massage each. Angela loved their creativity and was amazed and how they wrote and illustrated them so quickly. Then the children were invited to share their stories. “It all worked so well,” says Angela, “There was much laughter and praise as they all supported each other. It was a wonderful, fun-filled day and so rewarding to hear that the children were keen to share their stories with their families too.”

The boys in the group are particularly keen on one of the Story Massage strokes called The Claw so you will notice that this appears in all the stories!

Massage Story: Rabbit’s Lucky Escape 

Below is a funny massage story written by a ten year old boy that made everyone giggle.

One day a snake went for a slither (The Wave)
He saw a rabbit (The Bounce)
He sprayed venom (The Sprinkle)
He squeezed the rabbit (The Squeeze)
He swallowed the rabbit (The Claw)
The rabbit starts to bang on him to get out (The Drum)
The snake squeezed harder (The Squeeze)
The rabbit banged more (The Drum)
The snake burped and the rabbit shot out (The Fan)
The sun came out (The Circle)
The rabbit hopped away (The Bounce)
The rabbit went back to his burrow to rest and said “What a lucky escape” ( The Calm).

More about the Story Massage Programme

Ten simple massage strokes form the basis of our Story Massage book, resources and training. These strokes have a child friendly name, such as The Drum or The Circle, and an easy to recognise symbol making it fully accessible for all ages and abilities.

If you would like to use the programme at home or work then you will love our flexible online course. 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.