A programme of workplace based relaxation techniques to aid wellbeing

Benefits of the Massage in Schools Programme

The Massage in Schools Programme (MISP) was first introduced into UK schools in 2001.  It is a programme of positive touch and clothed peer massage for children aged 4 – 12 years and their parents.  It is used in schools, child centred organisations and the home to improve children’s wellbeing. 

'I have loved watching the reactions in the children I have worked with, how adults' attitudes are changed when they see the power positive touch has on the children they work with.'
Behaviour support teacher, Bridgend 

A number of studies have been done in the UK using different methodologies.  See the MISP Research overview.  

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

Extract from a study
“Findings indicate the intervention had a positive effect on children’s relationships both in the classroom and in the playground: increasing social networks, creating a sense of calm and reducing aggressive behaviours.”
Education and Research Centre at Brighton University 2008

Children’s comments

“It made me concentrate and made me rest, calm and made me work a bit harder in school and a bit at home”

“It was relaxing, a time when you can forget about your worries and have a peaceful time.”

Benefits to the school
In school, the Massage in Schools Programme links with the school curriculum as it contributes to children's Emotional Health and Wellbeing (Healthy Schools), Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE), Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) and the objectives of Every Child Matters. The use of the programme aids social integration throughout the school community and contributes to a school’s anti-bullying measures.

Teachers’ comments
“Our year 1 are very immature and boisterous. They needed to develop cooperation skills and an understanding of how their touch affects others. Their teachers have been very impressed by the way the children have developed in these areas and use it (MISP) daily to refocus after morning break.”
SENCO, Somerset

“Individuals in need have responded so well to such positive touch. They have then asked staff “Can I have a hug?” Children who have learnt massage take booklets home and massage the family. Children are proud of their skills. It is going so well that we would be interested in having training for the whole staff.”
Teacher, Sheffield

Benefits to parents
Children take the programme home and use it with their parents and siblings. It provides an opportunity for family discussion and relaxation!

Parents’ comments
“Lena enjoys doing massage and tries out the movements on us at home, which is very nice. She asks permission first though!” Parent of girl in Year 4

“Joe enjoys the massage sessions. He is very good at relieving headaches and stress when massaging me. He also massages his disabled sister.” Parent of boy in Year 5

“She came home totally relaxed. She explained how it was done and what they were called. She has totally enjoyed it and so have we.”
Parent of girl in Year 3

© 2011 Touchline Training