Background of Story Massage
Story Massage Programme
Mary Atkinson and Sandra Hooper are co-founders of the Story Massage Programme. They are both massage therapists with a mission to share the benefits of positive and respectful touch with children and adults of all ages and abilities. It is the combination of their interests, experience and talents that has made the programme of ten simple strokes so successful.
Mary and Sandra first started collaborating on the idea of bringing story and massage together as a fun and inclusive therapeutic activity in 2007. With the help of parents and professionals including therapists, teachers and social workers, they developed the Story Massage Programme based on ten simple massage strokes. Their book Once Upon a Touch… Story Massage for Children was first published in 2013. Each of the ten strokes has a name and a symbol which makes it a universal language. These strokes are then used to illustrate the words of the story, song or poem to really bring it to life.
The importance of asking permission when using Story Massage
The most fundamental things about The Story Massage Programme is asking permission to gain consent to touch. If a person doesn’t want to take part then that is absolutely fine. The strokes can be done on a person’s back but sometimes this is not easily accessible so a different area of the body can be used e.g. the back of the hand, the arm, the leg, the foot wherever is accessible and appropriate.
The impact of The Story Massage Programme at Fairfield School
At Fairfield School we have Instructors trained in delivering The Story Massage Programme in each Pathway. As a School we have been recognised for our creativity, commitment and innovation within the Story Massage Programme with our Centre of Excellence Award received in December 2021 and Rachel Holmes and Fatemah Tai individually received Best Practice Awards.
The Story Massage Programme is enjoyed throughout our school in individual classes and as a whole school activity via My Teams. Rachel Holmes leads the live story massages on special events such as celebrating National Massage Day, Children in Need, Chinese New Year, Remembrance Day and Wellbeing Week. The Story Massage Programme is also used at least once a week in every class enabling staff to have one to one time with a student. It has become an essential part of our learning and has nurtured positive well-being at Fairfield. Further details can be found on the Story Massage website: www.storymassage.co.uk