Regular news and comments from Mary Atkinson | Mary Atkinson

Indian Head Massage Techniques – Back, Shoulders and Neck

Students on my courses find that videos are a helpful aid to remembering the different moves. Here are video clips of my four favourite Indian Head Massage techniques (filmed with a friend in my kitchen!) for working on the back, shoulders and neck. These are just a few of the different moves that you learn when attending my courses in Indian Head Massage.

The videos show the techniques without oil, but they are wonderful with oil too! For some of you they will be a refresher, for others an inspiration to learn more. My next blog will be looking at Indian Head Massage Techniques for the head.

1. Shoulder Sweeping

This is the perfect start to a therapy session. It is one of the calming Indian Head Massage techniques that can be enjoyed at any time during the massage. Including the neck adds extra comfort and relaxation.

2. Kneading

We love to experiment with different kneading moves on my courses. It is so important that you find a technique that you can perform without putting strain on your hands and wrists. So during my courses I spend time with each student helping them to develop their own personal approach to Indian Head Massage.

3. Ironing Down

This is a real favourite with my students and clients – especially when you include the neck and elbows. Many of my clients are elderly and they find this gives comfort and reassurance.

4. Neck Scooping

This move is just bliss …. it is one of those Indian Head Massage techniques that will get your clients booking again! Make sure that your hands sweep right up and under the occipital ridge. Enjoy!

More about my FHT accredited Indian Head Massage Courses

Book now for courses to be held in May 2018 in a beautiful venue in Birdham, near Chichester, West Sussex.

  • Introduction to Indian Head Massage for beginners or therapists wishing to work on family and friends. £85. Tuesday 15th May 2018
  • Diploma in Indian Head Massage. This is a 3 day accredited course that gives you a qualification in Indian Head Massage. £300. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 15, 16th and 17th May 2018.
  • Indian Head Massage Refresher. Open to qualified Indian Head Massage therapists to refresh and update their skills and gain confidence and/or inspiration. £85. Friday 18th May 2018.

For a booking form please contact Mary Atkinson on

For more videos please visit my You Tube Channel Mary Atkinson Holistic Therapy Courses.

I think Mary is a truly inspirational teacher. She has a fun and warm approach to teaching, I really love her style and how she made it so easy to digest lots of information. From the practical side to the course notes to her ongoing support she is just wonderful. I have been able to use all my skills gained from her in so many areas of my work from home life with my children to my music groups, one to one with people with multiple and profound disabilities to nurturing women through labour.  Shirley Stump, Holistic Therapist and Doula


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Celebrating the New Indian Head Massage Community

Our exciting new Indian Head Massage Community (IHMC) was launched with an inspiring and well attended CPD Day at Purple Turtle Academy in Brighton on 18th November 2018. Feedback was very positive about the organisation, content and supportive atmosphere during the day – and everyone left happily with new information, skills and contacts. As one attendee wrote: “brilliant launch day with wonderful info, support and fun – here’s to the future.” 

Indian Head Massage as an Ancient Practice

We were delighted to welcome Kush Kumar, pioneer and leading authority on Indian Head Massage, as a guest speaker. Kush is picture below with Amy Taylor, Mary Atkinson and Sue Adlam, founders of IHMC. The day began with Kush sharing his personal experiences of different practices and techniques applied by the elders and younger generations in India. “Indian Head Massage has been a passion since childhood,” he says, “I am always interested in new takes on the ancient practice so it is my pleasure to support the new Indian Head Massage community CPD day.” Kush, who is author of Authentic Indian Head Massage: Malish shared some valuable insights into self-care for therapists and mindful practice.

Using Fixed Oils in Indian Head Massage

Next, Sue Adlam, Indian Head Massage therapist with extensive experience of working with oils gave a fascinating talk on choosing fixed oils for use with clients. We were invited to feel and smell a selection of the most popular fixed oils (11 in total) suitable for Indian Head Massage while Sue described their physical and therapeutic properties, plus any cautions. Sue’s expert knowledge was supported by a handout which we all agreed was a really informative and useful document for future reference.

Mary’s Top Ten Techniques

Mary Atkinson, Indian Head Massage therapist, tutor and author of The Art of Indian Head Massage, followed Sue’s session with a demonstration of her top ten techniques as voted for by students and clients. Attendees didn’t need much persuasion to share these techniques with each other. The room soon became very quiet as therapists relaxed and gained some of the benefits enjoyed by their clients.  There was general consensus about the value of continually learning, adapting and refreshing techniques to maintain high standards.

Making your Business Successful

Amy Taylor, Indian Head Massage therapist, tutor and owner of Purple Turtle Academy and Purple Turtle Well-Being talked to a rapt audience about business and marketing skills for therapists. Business is not a topic that therapists tend to focus on – but Amy’s enthusiasm won us all over! We were invited to focus on our own businesses as Amy guided us through a SWOT analysis to develop strengths and overcome obstacles. Amy was generous in sharing valuable tips and ideas that have made her own holistic centres so successful.

Looking Forward to the Future

The day ended with a Q & A session with the expert panel. Among the topics discussed were choice of chair or couch for Indian Head Massage and contraindications when working with clients in palliative care. There was also a chance to share business cards and information. And everyone agreed that it has been a very successful day in a welcoming venue. So here’s to the future of the Indian Head Massage Community.

About the Indian Head Massage Community

The Indian Head Massage Community was set up by Mary Atkinson, Amy Taylor and Sue Adlam in June 2017 with the aim of sharing information and offering support to therapists. Both Mary and Amy are highly qualified tutors and Sue is a practitioner taught by Mary. They are working on a voluntary basis to promote the many benefits of Indian Head Massage as a holistic therapy. It is an inclusive community of people who may be qualified or wish to become qualified.

The group has a popular closed Facebook Group with nearly 600 members and a website with a regular blog featuring updates, news, discussion points and interviews with tutors, practitioners and authors. We hope you will join us – you can find out more here: Indian Head Massage Community.


For more information on Indian Head Massage Courses

Mary Atkinson and Amy Taylor run Indian Head Massage courses from beginner to accredited diploma level plus approved CPD days.

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Refresh your Indian Head Massage skills

Need a bit of a refresher? Need to build up your confidence in using Indian Head Massage? Then this one day Indian Head Massage Refresher Course is ideal for you.  Continue reading »

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Free CPD for Holistic Therapists – 10 simple tips

Concerned about getting sufficient CPD points to meet the requirements of your professional body? Well, here are ten simple ways of achieving your Continuing Professional Development without putting pressure on your bank balance.  Your professional body will provide you with full details of the policy for CPD for holistic therapists. Many will also have templates to help you record your CPD activities. Continue reading »

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Indian Head Massage Community – CPD Day

Join us for our first CPD Day. Be among the IHM Pioneers!

Date: Saturday 18th November 2017

Venue: Brighton, East Sussex

Cost: £60


Continue reading »

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Healing Touch for Children – new edition

My book Healing Touch for Children is now out in a new edition – supported by a You Tube channel with demonstrations of the techniques. It only costs £3.99 from Amazon and is also available as a Ebook at £2.99.

About the book

I’ve written Healing Touch for Children for parents and grandparents wishing to share the benefits of nurturing touch with their children and grandchildren, but the book is also enjoyed by therapists. There are plenty of self-help tips too. It’s practical and easy to use – with ideas for introducing simple massage, reflexology and acupressure techniques to help ease common ailments such as headaches and exam stress.

The book is written to help children, but the simple routines are valuable for people of all ages. Research by the Touch Research Institute in Miami shows that short, simple touch therapy sessions can help reduce stress, increase concentration and boost energy levels for everyone. So check out the book to discover some of the ways that you can make touch therapy a loving and caring part of your family life.

Positive Touch for Children You Tube Channel

It is always so helpful to actually see the different techniques in action, so I’ve created a You Tube Channel to support the Healing Touch for Children book. You can see me demonstrating basic massage, reflexology and acupressure techniques on children. Click here to access the demonstrations. Positive Touch for Children with Mary Atkinson.


About Mary Atkinson

Mary is an award-winning author and holistic therapist with her own training school. She believes passionately in the power of touch for children of all ages and abilities – and works to share ideas for developing positive touch activities in a fun and engaging way.

The photos below were taken when Mary was working with refugee families in Dunkirk (March 2017) and with children affected by the tsunami in Japan (April 2012). On both occasions, nurturing, positive touch brought real benefits of reducing anxiety and bringing comfort to the children.

Feedback for the Book

“Mary Atkinson clearly wholeheartedly believes in the power of touch and is passionate about her subject. I would recommend the book to any parent as a way of encouraging them to utilise the power of positive touch and spend quality time with their children.”
Journal of Holistic Healthcare 

“This book embraces a new way of thinking, is hugely informative, clear, concise and an absolute joy to read.” Embody Magazine 

“A step by step guide for home use written by an experienced massage therapist, reflexologist and aromatherapy practitioner. Mary offers easy to follow practice routines which can be easily picked up by even the complete beginner. Excellent.”
Yoga and Health

“Featuring user friendly treatment sequences and practical advice on dealing with emotional issues such as stress and anxiety, this book will show you how you can make a loving and caring touch part of your child’s daily routine.”
The Green Parent

“This practical and accessible guide offers easy to follow step-by-step instructions and valuable health tips and advice.”Bamboo magazine, Conscious Family Living



Healing Touch for Children by Mary Atkinson

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Reflections on Volunteering at the Women’s Centre, Dunkirk Refugee Camp

I’m just back from a week volunteering as a massage therapist and general helper at the Women’s Centre in Dunkirk Refugee Camp. The whole experience was made even more meaningful because it was supported by friends and family, and shared with Sue Cooper, a fellow therapist with a very generous heart. I’ve been struggling to find the words to describe the confusing emotions of the week, so here are ten of my most poignant personal memories. written from the perspective of a woman. Continue reading »

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Indian Head Massage for Family and Friends

Looking to learn a new skill? Wondering about exploring your massage skills? Indian Head Massage a favourite beginner’s course because it is fun and quick to learn. Join us to learn a therapy that you can share with family and friends. And have a great day out  with like-minded people too. Continue reading »

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Diploma in Indian Head Massage in Cornwall

Looking to study Indian Head Massage? This popular three day accredited IHM Diploma is now taught in Cornwall. The Diploma is accredited by the Federation of Holistic Therapists for 20 CPD points.  Continue reading »

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Volunteering in Dunkirk Refugee Camp

I’ve been given an amazing opportunity to work as a volunteer in the Dunkirk Refugee Camp. I’ll be travelling out on March 19th 2017 and feeling a little nervous but pleased to be doing something to help. There’s a little more about the trip below. If you’d like more information or to offer a donation please contact me directly. Continue reading »

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