Positive Touch with Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline

A creative story massage session proved a great success with 13 visiting children from Ukraine and their host families.The session was part of a programme of events and activities for children organised by the Portsmouth and Hayling Island link to the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline. This is a national charity set up in 1992, to raise money and support ill children of Belarus and Ukraine, whose lives will be forever affected by the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.

The charity arranges for children to have a four week recuperative break in Great Britain, away from contaminated food, water and air with the aim of boosting and recharging their depleted immune systems to make a real difference to their health and well being. During their stay all of the children receive medical attention such as dental care and eye tests. It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for them to meet with others, to see new sights and enjoy uplifting experiences. Most importantly, it shows that others around the world care about them.

We were invited to run a story massage session just three days after the children had arrived from the Ukraine. We wrote and illustrated a story (based on The Weather Massage created the Massage in Schools Association) especially for the children and we called it ‘Our Changing British Weather’. The movement for ‘rainbow’, for example, is an arc shape ‘drawn’ with the palm of the hand. You can just imagine the fun of making the movement for children jumping in puddles!

The story, which was translated into Russian and read by an interpreter, had originally been planned as a peer massage session, with the children massaging each other’s backs through clothes – similar to the Positive Touch for Children of the Tsunami project that we had set up in April 2012.

However, we soon realized that simple story massage offered a wonderful way of encouraging the children to bond with their host families and so, with everyone’s permission, the session became a very happy and supportive team effort!

Feedback from both adults and children was really positive on many different levels. The children drew pictures afterwards and proudly showed us that they had remembered not only the massage movements for rain, sun and clouds but could also say the words in English. We hope they will take the story massage home to share with their families and friends back in the Ukraine. Do contact the charity directly if you feel you can help in any way – it is very important work.

The session was facilitated by three members of the Chichester FHT (Federation of Holistic Therapists) Local Support Group for therapists – from left to right – Sarah Williams, Toni McGloin and Mary Atkinson.

Positive Touch for Children Day Course

If you are interested in the power of positive touch for children through creative story massage, then you will enjoy my FHT accredited day course Positive Touch for Children in which explore ways of using positive touch activities in the family home. We will also work with some of the simple  techniques in my book Healing Touch for Children (Massage, Reflexology and Acupressure for 4-12 year olds).



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