The benefits of ‘story massage’
Story Massage is a wonderful way to engage in touch, learning, play or therapy in a safe and creative way.
- All ages and abilities can enjoy Story Massage.
- Story massage underpins basic good manners
- Story Massage can help people, especially children, process through a playful medium.
- It is inclusive on many levels:
- People can choose to give or receive massage. Permission is always asked. (link to values)
- Not everyone wants to touch or be touched, & even tactile people may not always be in the mood to give or receive a massage. People can choose to do “air massage”, “ground massage”, massage a teddy or doll or go through the motions in a playful way if they prefer. This can bring a story to life.
- People can choose to simply listen and engage in watching the actions play out and tell a story through hands & words. Even watching other people being massaged releases oxytocin, the calm & connection hormone.
- People with sensory issues, for example, can be engaged in another activity or be in another area & still be able to listen & engage in a way that suits them.
Permission and touch is a very important issue. Part of the wonder of story massage is that it underpins respectful touch, tone and empowers a person to be respected when they say “no.”
These boundaries are clearly explained in every session & reminded at regular intervals to encourage safe, respectful story-telling with hands and words.
Before giving a story massage an individual always asks if it is OK for them to give a story massage. They can only proceed with consent. An individual can ask for the massage to stop at any time.
Verbal & hand signal tools are also given to everyone to provide feedback to the person massaging:
At the end of a massage, all participants are asked to thank the person for allowing them to give a massage & receivers are encouraged to be thankful for their massage.
Massage by its nature promotes connection through positive touch. These connections help people build respectful relationships which then ripple out into the wider community as people grow. Massage reduces bullying and aggression between people by promoting empathy & trust.
I love being involved in community events to promote positive nurturing touch.
One example of a community project which uses Story Massage to rebuild family connections, is with True Butterflies (link to website www.truebutterflies.org), a foundation which supports survivors of domestic abuse & their families.
I facilitate workshops which empower individuals to reconnect to positive touch. Safe, positive touch can help rebuild relationships for families who have been through traumatic experiences. True Butterflies and myself provide a safe space where survivors are empowered to use Story Massage to reintroduce nurturing touch to rebuild attachment & trust between them & their loved ones.
For details on how Story Massage can enable you or your organisation to address trauma, attachment and rebuild relationships, contact Nicolle.
I love to work with people from all walks of life. Whether you would like me to work with you to develop a bespoke workshop or project to help achieve your personal or organisational aims do get in touch. Healthy people and healthy community is at the heart of all I do.
Rhyme and Reminiscence
This collaborative service connects older people, some who may live with dementia & children within their communities using Story Massage and rhyme.
Music and song is well documented as having a profound “quickening” effect for people living with dementia, enhancing their cognitive ability and enabling them to connect more effectively. It is also an age old tool for teaching children in a fun & effective way.
Combine this with the power of positive touch and a profound connection occurs between people which enhances mental, emotional and social wellbeing. This in turn improves physical health.
I work with care homes, memory cafes, schools and preschools to create unique, fun opportunities for older people to be teachers & experts helping young people to learn rhymes, songs & stories from a bygone age. Rhyme and Reminiscence creates a safe space where everyone can share and enjoy the fun of being a child, whatever age you are. It is a learning experience for children as they find out about the personal history people in their community and how dementia can affect people. They will learn how they can connect with people who are affected by this disease with compassion, dispelling some of the fears that are often associated with people who have impaired cognitive skills.
For some older people, it may be the only contact they have with people outside their residence, or the only connection they have with younger generations especially if they have profound physical disabilities.
If you wish to work in this innovative and fun way contact Nicolle for details.