I qualified as a Massage in Schools Programme (MISP) Instructor in November 2017 and since then I have been gradually increasing the teaching I do for older children.
This term I have enjoyed visiting two local nurseries to delivery some simplified, mini-MISP sessions, to children age 3-5. The children have practised self massage and we’ve tried some different relaxation activities – with varying degrees of success! I taught the children a very simple peer massage routine based on four MISP strokes on back, neck and arms. The weather massage and other stories have been very popular, although the younger ones do struggle with listening to the story whilst continuing to massage their partner.
One crucial aspect of the MISP teaching is that permission is always sought and the children are encouraged to listen to their partner. Learning to read body language is a tricky skill but with practise the children soon notice the non-verbal cues their partner gives. There is always some very enthusiastic checking in and the children always enjoy asking their partner ‘how does this feel?’ usually quickly followed but ‘and how does this feel…and this….and this?’. Every massage section concludes with thank yous and again, the children tend to be exuberant in thanking their partner for the massage and for allowing them to give a massage. It’s one of my favourite parts of the session.
This summer, I will be offering some one-off family workshops for parents and children to experience some of the MISP. Siblings or friends can learn some peer massage; parents can learn how to massage their older children; everyone will have a fun and relaxing time!