Book: Story Massage for Children

Book: Story Massage for Children

This innovative Story Massage book by Mary Atkinson and Sandra Hooper is written for everyone who would like to know more about story massage. It offers a practical and fun guide to the benefits and safe and appropriate use of story massage for children.  Once upon a Touch… Story Massage for Children (Singing Dragon, £11.99) is designed to encourage you to enjoy and explore the benefits of Story Massage in the home, school or the wider community.

Central to the book are step-by-step instructions with illustrations for ten easy to follow basic stokes. The strokes, given through clothes on the back, head, shoulders and arms, are pleasurable and simple to give and receive.  With names such as The WaveThe Drum and The Calm, the ten moves can be used to represent a choice of objects and actions within a story massage.

We have used the ten basic strokes to create over 25 story massages which vary in length and complexity.  Designed to help build your confidence with story massage, some of the stories. songs and rhymes contain only a few strokes and take less than a minute to complete.  Others may take up to four or five minutes and involve most or all of the ten strokes.


Story massage offers a simple and fun way for families to connect with each other through the natural power of touch. The Green Parent Magazine

An excellent resource for all parents, teachers and health professionals working with families. The story massages in the book can be enjoyed in a variety of child-orientated settings, including home and school. International Therapist Magazine

Once upon a touch…. walks you through the concept of story massage – applying a series of simple touches to a child during the telling of a story. You learn how to ensure your touch is respectful and that the individual needs of the chid are taken into account before learning a series of different touches which are then used to share the different stories in the book. These include perennial favourites such as Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood as well as a range of stories designed to promote trust, relaxation or imagination. The book provides the information you need to approach story massage confidently and sensitively and with a real sense of enjoyment. There are many benefits to story massage both for the child and the adult. Amongst other things it promotes calmness, relaxation, wellbeing and bonding.

I found the book easy to use and the stories highly enjoyable. I tested some of the stories out on my five-year-old daughters and found it to be the perfect way to relax before bedtime. My girls have also enjoyed learning to use the different strokes on each other, and this provide a chance for fun and bonding between them. I can imagine that these stories could work well in a wide range of circumstances, particularly where a child is in need of calming or emotional support or where focused work is needed on attachment building. I can imagine that these stories may work especially well with children with special needs or children in foster care or adoptive families.  Dr Pooky Knightsmith, leading expert in Child Mental Health


Small - Once Upon a Touch copy


Story massage is simple, effective and great fun. This book offers a wide selection of stories suitable for children of different ages and abilities. In addition, those people who have undertaken training in story massage report that they have used it successfully in many different situations to extend their current work.  Choice Health and Wellbeing magazine

There is a choice of massage stories for children of all ages in the book.  Story massage opened up a whole world of possibilities, giving us fun and creative ways to incorporate peer massage into our existing lesson plansThe Earthchild Project, Cape Town

The massage stories in this easy-to-follow book are a valuable resource to enable us to continue sharing the benefits of positive touch activities in the kindergartens in the tsunami-destroyed area of Japan. Story massage has now become very popular with children and teachers. Cocoro Charity (working in Rikuzentakata)


 More about the Story Massage

To find out more about accredited day training courses in Story Massage and a range of other resources and positive touch activities for children please visit the website: Story Massage 
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