What is Massage in Schools?
It is an inclusive programme of positive touch and clothed peer massage for students. It is used in schools, child centred organisations and the home, to improve children’s wellbeing. Students and staff give gentle massage to each other on the back over clothing, head and arms. All massage moves are taught and assigned a special symbol and done to calming music. A trained instructor (Sarah Walduck and Vikki Maskell ) will train the staff in school. It is a respect and choice programme which gives the students the option to choose if they would like to take part on any given day, their decision will always be respected. Permission from the student is asked for before every session. If students choose not to participate they still benefit from being in the calm environment which is created during the session.
Why we do it?
The outcomes from the studies in this overview of research show that the main benefits of the MISP are:
- Improved calmness and concentration
- Increased self confidence and self esteem
- Improved social skills with a greater number of relationships/friendships with peers and adults
- Happier and more relaxed children
- A reduction in aggressive behaviour and bullying
- A more positive attitude and greater engagement with learning
- Improved ability to work in groups and independently
- Greater creativity and problem solving
- Increased awareness of the body and signs of stress and anxiety
What impact has it had?
All the techniques of the IMPACT Wellbeing Programme have a positive effect on the body allowing it to return to a state of calm more quickly than it would naturally have done. The techniques are promoted by health services and use a mindfulness approach.
The relaxation techniques help to calm young people and this in turn clears the mind and aids concentration. This gives the opportunity for improved attainment and increased confidence.
Example of plan
The ten main strokes used combine the benefits of positive, respectful touch with the creativity and engagement of storytelling. The ten simple massage strokes from the basis of the Story Massage programme. These strokes have a child friendly mane, such as The Circle or The Sprinkle, and an easy to recognise symbol making it accessible for all. It is a fully inclusive activity, all clothing remains on for the students.
Equipment we use
The equipment used for Massage in Schools are a computer, sensory objects and aromatherapy oils.
Gaining consent for Story Massage Sessions.
Consent is a very important part of the Story Massage for Children with special needs. Each student is asked for their consent before each massage starts, this can be as simple as an arm movement, or taking a hand. We are also looking at starting to use que cards for non- verbal students, for consent and that they know what is going to happen.
All lessons start with some nice relaxing music appropriate to the season, subject and pupils needs. The sort is then shown on the screen, laptop or ipad. They all have the words in symbols, instructions for the staff to follow and interesting pictures.