Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Why story massage is great for kids

Photo: Hello Pinecone Photography

I can't believe I haven't written anything on my blog about the biggest thing in my life right now (apart from our food adventure of course)! Remember how last spring I went and got certified in pediatric massage by Tina Allen from Liddle Kidz Foundation? (I wrote a travel paleo/AIP food post about my trip, you can read it here.)

My budding pediatric massage therapist career evolved quickly and spontaneously into teaching story massage. What is story massage, you ask. Very simply, in story massage you tell a story and "draw" it with your hand on someone else's, often a child's back. It is a great way to combine storytelling and nurturing touch with being present with your child. The kids love it!

There are many benefits of story massage but here are few:

  • Massage releases the so called "feel good hormones" and lowers stress hormones and helps relax, sleep, focus, grow, learn and stay healthy and happy. (This is all research based by the way, so you don't have to take my word for it!)
  • Oxytocin, the love hormone, is released, and it enhances bonding between the parent and the child. 
  • The mindful presence and positive touch give the child a message of being valuable and important and can increase their self esteem.
  • The mindful presence of the parent will fill the child's tank with love and security and can thus even prevent conflicts.
  • In the event of a conflict, story massage can provide a way to reconnect.
  • Stories can help to prepare the child for life changes, transitions or new situations.
  • Story massage can be a tool to process feelings. The story and your mindful presence and safe space can also inspire the child to share their thoughts or worries with you.
  • In Europe where story massage is used in schools and day cares, caretakers report story massage being a great tool to prevent conflicts and even bullying. Peer massage is used there too.
  • Asking permission to massage will teach the child that they have the right to say "no" if someone wants to touch them. It also models them about boundaries with their interactions with others - they should ask others before touching their bodies.
  • Pediatric massage teaches about healthy touch and also to ask for healthy touch.
  • Storytelling enhances imagination, listening skills, vocabulary and helps with reading. Massage helps to stay still to listen to the story (and vice versa!) and can be used to learn specific knowledge too - like drawing the numbers or letters on the back or just using descriptive strokes for an educational story made up from the topic the child wants to learn about will help them remember.

For more information about story massage and pediatric massage, check out my website.

Read my story how I ended up in story massage also from the website of this UK based wonderful story massage company.

More about story massage soon!


  1. We LOVE story massage too!! Thanks for sharing the benefits here.

  2. I have never heard of this type of massage before, it's really interesting. It makes a lot of sense, why not physically relax your children while you are also telling them a story? Thanks for sharing this, and also for going into detail about what kind of affect a massage brings to you and why it works well with storytelling.

    William Connors @ The Healing Station

  3. I had never heard of story with massage before, but it seems like a great way of drawing my children into the narrative and also to help them with memory. Touch can create a strong sense of bonding, and as such, a picture or word being used in massage to accentuate a main point can certainly leave lasting memories and impressions for sure!

    Brooke Burgess @ East West College

  4. What a phenomenal concept; creating such a safe place for children is so needed in growing up. Thank you!

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