Wellbeing for Babies, Children and Families

Many congratulations to our latest Best Practice Award winners. We had a record number of entries with 16 winners over four different categories. This blog showcases the outstanding work of individuals sharing the Story Massage Programme to promote wellbeing for babies, children and families. Their work highlights for the versatility, creativity, and fun of the programme.


Our Latest Best Practice Award Winners in the Wellbeing category are:

  • Lucie Ellis, Massage Therapist and certified Infant Massage Instructor
  • Barbie White, Family Holistic Health Therapist
  • Sarah Combe, Relax Kids Coach and Senior Mental Health and SEND Lead in primary schools
  • Claire Gage, Relaxation and Wellbeing Coach in primary schools
  • Julie Whittingham, Relax Kids Coach and Forest School Leader

Lucie Ellis

Lucie is a Massage Therapist and certified Infant Massage Instructor with her own therapy business Your Nurturing Touch in Kent. Lucie teaches the Story Massage Programme combined with baby reflexology over four weeks as a follow-on from baby massage. She places great emphasis on wellbeing and this is reflected in comments from busy mums who appreciate the time to focus on their babies in a relaxed setting.

Lucie recently shared the Story Massage Programme with a family with an autistic 4 year old boy. The session took place in the family home and Lucie prepared a variety of resources so the boy had a choice of different massage stories and props. His 7 year old sister joined in and made it a real family occasion, with Dad having a massage too.

“The Story Massage Programme is a great way of aiding parent and child bonding. It has reinforced my belief that positive nurturing touch is as much about communicating with a child as it is about physically touching them.” Lucie Ellis, Certified Infant Massage Instructor


Barbie White

Barbie is a Family Holistic Health Therapist with her own practice Barefoot Therapies Sheringham supporting families through difficult times with reflexology, mindfulness and the Story Massage Programme. She has also been invited to be part of a Community Project running workshops for children and families.

Barbie has used massage stories together with coping techniques to help with children deal with many challenges including COVID, divorce, bullying, enuresis, new family members and moving home. She usually makes three to four visits to each family and takes along her demonstration doll to show the Story Massage strokes. Barbie says there are sometimes tears but also lots of smiles, sighs, shoulder-dropping and sleepyheads. And she loves watching the adults laughing and releasing their inner child.

“I had a lovely experience recently with a lady struggling with peri menopause and anxiety. She is a reflexology client who requested a massage story. Cinderella is a favourite childhood story. She loved it, and released tears as she realised she had lost her purpose and dreams. She is now making exciting plans to fulfil her dreams. Watch this space…” Barbie White, Family Holistic Health Therapist


Sarah Combe

Sarah is a Senior Mental Health and SEND Lead across two village schools in Berkshire. She is also a Relax Kids Coach and leads a bespoke PSHE, Mental Health and Wellbeing curriculum designed to teach children about their brains using psycho-education. Sarah’s social media is under the name Creative Minds Inclusion, and she shares tools and techniques to help children SHINE BRIGHT and find their INNER CALM.

Sarah uses a different theme each week and personalises the massage story during the ‘Feel’ section of her Relax Kids classes. The children are now familiar with the ten Story Massage strokes and follow correctly through the story. As well as helping with relaxation and building connection with peers, Sarah says the Story Massage Programme is a wonderfully sensory way of learning facts. One example is using ‘The Great Fire of London’ from the Story Massage book as part of a history topic.

“I wholeheartedly recommend using the Story Massage Programme in schools (and in your own home!) as the children LOVE it. There are many benefits from introducing this into your setting and you can spark creativity and imagination by inviting children to design their own massage stories too.” Sarah Combe, Relax Kids Coach and Senior Mental Health and SEND Lead in primary schools.


Claire Gage

Claire is a Relaxation and Wellbeing Coach working in primary schools in the Glasgow area with her own business JustB. Claire runs Just Relax sessions for classes, families and groups as part of the health and wellbeing curriculum. Her aim is to help individuals to grow in confidence, deal effectively with stress and anxiety and develop awareness of their own mental health.

Her Just Relax sessions include a ‘Be Connected’ element which features the Story Massage Programme and is one of the children’s favourite parts as they find it relaxing and calming. This is usually a peer massage session, but some children prefer self-massage on hands or legs. The children are taught to ask permission before giving massages and to say ‘thank you’ afterwards.

Claire makes the most of resources available from the Story Massage Community Facebook page but also loves putting strokes to poems and stories that tie in with different themes.

“Sharing a massage story seems to create a wonderful bond between children and it is the start of new friendships being formed.” Claire Gage, Relaxation and Wellbeing Coach.


Julie Whittingham

Julie is a Relax Kids Coach and Forest School Leader with her own business Northern Calm in Nature. Julie runs indoor and outdoor sessions for children and families in the community in the Northumberland area. She runs a whole variety of different classes for babies, children, teenagers and adults and incorporates the Story Massage Programme whenever possible. She also runs standalone Story Massage workshops.

Julie was recently running a workshop at a Children’s Activities Festival where lots of other providers were offering busy, active sessions with stimulating toys and flashing lights. Julie focussed on offering relaxing Story Massage activities. At the end, one parent thanked her and said her screaming child was now fast asleep!

“The combination of positive touch and story makes the Story Massage Programme appealing to children as they can easily relate to it. They focus, listen and fully engage in the moment.” Julie Whittingham, Relax Kids Coach and Forest School Leader.


More Feedback from our Wellbeing Best Practice Winners

“Children loved our Valentine Themed Story Massage session. They used heart shaped hand warmers and really enjoyed the feeling of warmth that comes from being loved.” Sarah Combe, Relax Kids Coach and Senior Mental Health and SEND Lead in primary schools.

“I love seeing the interaction of families with the Story Massage Programme. Parents and children really love it. My advice to everyone is just go and do the training!” Lucie Ellis, Certified Infant Massage Instructor.

“I enjoy running my Story Massage and Relaxation sessions outside in nature. My Tree Baby sessions bring parents and babies together to bond with each other and enjoy the fun and freedom of an activity in the fresh air.” Julie Whittingham, Relax Kids Coach and Forest School Leader.

“The Story Massage Programme had a really positive impact on one particular family. The grandmother was struggling to care for her family affected by devastating trauma. It offers stability, support, security, and safety. It feels quite magical when you witness the joy of being in the moment and sensing real connection with family members. If one of the children is having coping difficulties, they will ask for a massage story and the results are almost instant.” Barbie White, Family Holistic Health Therapist.

“Some children who have specific needs can struggle to feel calm, but they really benefit from the Story Massage Programme. There is often a reduction in hyperactive behaviour after the session. It can really help children as one of the strategies to manage their anxiety.” Claire Gage, Relaxation and Wellbeing Coach.


Our Flexible Online Training Course

Are you inspired by the work of our amazing Best Practice Award Winners? Find out all about the Story Massage Programme online course here: Story Massage Training Online.

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