Story Massage with Yoga and Movement

Combining yoga and movement with the Story Massage Programme helps increase engagement and participation in stories and poems. Ashleigh Paddon, a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist and Complementary Therapist at The Therapy Tree (Devon) Ltd, talks about her work with children with severe and complex needs.

Introducing Yoga and Movement with Ashleigh

To give an idea of how yoga and movement work alongside the Story Massage Programme, here is a video demonstration. Watch how Ashleigh’s movements illustrate the words of this sensory poem and complement the Story Massage strokes. You can download the poem here: A Sensory Walk.

Adapting to Individual Needs

“All my sessions are completely different,’ explains Ashleigh, “It all depends on the needs of the young person and the family. I offer traditional or ‘hourly sessions’ and have also started a Therapeutic Enabling Service. This comprises a whole or half day within the family home with therapies woven into our time together. Therapies and strategies include yoga and movement, massage stories, breathing techniques, meditation and holistic massage.  They are tailored to support communication, sensory integration and emotional state.”

Sharing Massage Stories

“The Story Massage Programme is a great tool to add to your box of tricks,” says Ashleigh who completed our online Story Massage training last year, “It can help introduce the benefits of massage in the familiar context of stories to both children and their parents. It fits perfectly alongside yoga as they can both be so easily adapted for the individual needs of children with severe and complex needs. By sharing the same story in several ways – through movement and also through touch – the child can experience the meaning of the story in their own way.”

For Ashleigh, a key benefit of the Story Massage Programme is the ability to introduce it to parents as an accessible and effective technique to use between sessions. “The strokes are very simple to learn, and it is fun for everyone which encourages participation. Sharing massage stories offers positive touch and bonding times which are really important for families,” she explains, “We have found this helpful in many ways including supporting sleep routines, helping people fall asleep, supporting sensory regulation and calming during stressful times.”

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 simple massage strokes form the basis of the programme. These strokes have a name, such as The Circle or The Sprinkle, and an action and easy to recognise symbol. It is a fully inclusive activity, no clothing is removed and no oil is used. The strokes are described in our Story Massage Book Once upon a touch… story massage for children.

Would you like to train in Story Massage?

Are you inspired by Ashleigh’s work with Yoga and Movement with the Story Massage Programme? Would you like to learn more? Sign up for our Story Massage Online Course and help share the benefits with the children or adults in your care – at home or at work. 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 teachers, SEN staff, support staff, therapists, 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.