Once Upon a Touch …
Mary Atkinson and Sandra Hooper
A number of years ago while working as an early years teacher in outer London, I participated in an excellent massage course given by Mia Elmsater (and several follow up courses). From this first, I think, UK course of its kind, developed the Massage in Schools Programme (MISP). I then introduced peer massage into my school and one I moved on to. So, my own experience tells me that the narrative method documented herein – ‘Story Massage for Children’ yields enormous benefits and is a tool well worth every primary teacher acquiring. To this end, two experienced MISP trainers have put together this book.
It comprises a short introduction followed by three brief sections that outline the benefits of story massage for children and offer guidelines on how to use same. Here the importance of respect is stressed as well as taking into account the needs of individuals.
We are then introduced to the ten massage strokes that are the bedrock of the whole programme; and clear, illustrated details of how to do each stroke (and some variations) is given.
The main part of the book ‘Story Massage in Action’ contains over 30 story/rhyme massages that draw on these basic strokes, and this is divided into six sections. The first contains well know tales and nursery rhymes with the visual symbols for each massage stroke to be used.
The second section has six seasonal offerings; the third ‘In Your Imagination’ has a musical interlude, a pirate encounter, a visit to the fair, a balloon ride, an aeroplane flight and a circus trip. The remaining two are topic related and wide ranging.
Having read and absorbed this excellent little book, adults should be in a strong position to try the approach perhaps with their own children in the first instance knowing they have the tools to be confident and sensitive in providing, calming relaxing massage sessions for the young.
Once they become confident in using ideas from the book, readers can begin to choose stories and rhymes for themselves to add to their repertoire of story massages; many well-known picture books, traditional tales and nursery rhymes work well.
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