Story Massage...... a wonderful massage therapy based activity that can be shared by the whole family. Wether we are singing songs, nursery rhymes or just telling stories for the last two years Story massage has given my children so much joy for the spoken language as well as becoming the staple relaxation method used in our house.
Story massage was created by its founders Mary Atkinson and Sandra Hooper since 2007 to promote activities using positive touch within the home, school and wider field. These two amazing ladies run a training course which is where I first learnt how to blend 10 simple massage moves with stories. Story massage is used within some schools curriculum, care homes, respite, therapy session's and by parents all over the world. Being such an adaptive skill set to have it can be used in any language and is especially wonderful to use with special needs and disabilities.
For me story massage has enable my children to not only learn to positively interact with each other but to also aide their speech and language skills, phonic's, writing and story telling skills, their concentration, the ability to relax and focus, being able to learn about the environment around them and it is a skill that they will go on to use with their own children one day in the very distant future.....
I also find story massage is great to use as a rainy day activity, while waiting in queues, car journeys, talking about new and exciting subjects and at bedtime there is nothing like settling down to bed with a soothing massage to my off key tones of Lavenders blue, twinkle twinkle and other favourites.
With stories in mind there are some days when my daughter is a little more restless than usual and needs idea's for a new and interesting story. We have the wonderful book from storymassage.co.uk which has nursery rhymes and stories with something for everyone and the massage moves are there for you which is a fantastic book to take out and about with you. Our's travelled to Scotland last year where we enjoyed story massage camping style.
So always on the look out for innovative idea's that I can use I was approached by a wonderful lady at Ignite Imagination's . This lovely lady create's wooden story cubes. I was sent a lovely bundle of 6 cubes, hand decorated with a picture on all 6 sides. Well my daughters love them!!!
When I took them out of the bag my daughters aged 7 and 10 were there within minutes finding pen and paper, rolling the cubes and coming up with lovely stories to share. Here's a story they made up using the cubes....
A unicorn imagined an egg (circle)
But she magicked a fried egg instead (drums)
Then she magicked some trouser's and top (wave)
And decided to go pick some flowers ( sprinkle)
When it got dark, she magicked a light (fan)
And sat down to eat her egg ( calm)
Eliza Age 7
Using story massage as a daytime activity with the cubes has been great fun and something that I hope to share with other parent's and children when sharing Story massage with them.
I have spoken often in my blogs about Story massage and Indian head massage. Why? Because as a parent I firmly believe that these two therapies bring a host of advantages to our family life. Living with a child with Hearing loss, ADD and Anxiety can bring a lot of stress and frustration into our family and especially into my daughters daily life.
Have you ever been for a massage? For many of us through time and money restraints massage may not be possible, it was only ever a luxury I had had a few times since having children. You don't need to go out and spend money though even just sitting with your children giving them a cuddle, playing with their hair can be just as relaxing. We bond through touch, we communicate and we reassurance with touch and we can soothe and relax through touch. I initially trained in Indian head massage as a way to help my own children. From there it has grown into a passion due to the benefits I have seen within my own family and its these benefits I hope to pass onto other children and parent's.
Last year while doing more research into massage I found a wonderful and interesting massage therapy called Story massage. This massage skill is an amazing activity to add to your family life. Story massage is simply 10 massage moves which you use against the backdrop of any nursery rhyme, story, poem, song. The list is endless and I have hours of fun making up my own stories for my children to enjoy. The best thing about story massage is that it is a skill the whole family can learn and enjoy together and it can last 5 minutes or 20 minutes.
As a mother I have found massage to
The beauty of story massage is that you can tailor the story or song to your own child's particular needs. We have stories about holidays, how important it is to eat, stories with my children's names in them and stories about their individual disabilities. The best thing is there is no right and wrong and you can do it anywhere and anytime
The list really is endless. Children as young as two can enjoy the stories and I have had a group of teenagers making up stories and then giving each other a massage :) and one of my eldest wrote me a story massage for mothers day
My Super Mum by Charlotte, aged 11
My mum is like Super Mum, (The Circle)
always there when I need her. (The Circle)
She appears like a ninja all ready to help, (The Upwards Fan)
and swoops into save me when I’m feeling lost. (The Downwards Fan)
My mum is a Super Mum, a Super Mum she is (The Circle)
She sorts out my problems and listens to me (The Calm)
She shows me she cares, she makes me so happy (The Squeeze)
I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. (The Squeeze)
But sometimes I am naughty (The Drum)
Super Mum can shout - very loud (The Drum)
She tells me to be good, to be kind. (The Calm)
I want to grow up to be just like my Super Mum (The Circle)
My Super Mum brings magic and excitement (the Bounce)
I know how much she cares, she shows me everyday (The Circle)
So I wrote this for you, Mum (The Circle)
To show you how much I care. (The Calm)
As a therapist I do offer sessions in Story massage where you can learn the moves and share story massage with your children. Recently I won the Best Practise Award from Story massage and I feel immensely fortunate in being able to share these skills with other parents.
What ever you do tonight give your child a hug and share with them the power of positive touch
x leanne x
To find out more or to book a session contact me here
As readers of this blog know, I love Story Massage and use it at home and share it with others etc. So I am delighted to interview Mary Atkinson, co-founder of Story Massage and author of Healing Touch for Children, on this blog:
When was Story Massage founded?
I’ve worked alongside Sandra Hooper, co-founder of our Story Massage project since 2007 developing ideas for positive touch activities for children. Then in April 2012, I was invited to travel to Japan to introduce a creative Story Massage project for children suffering in the aftermath of the tsunami. Sandra and I wrote a massage story called The Smiling Flower especially for the children in schools and nurseries. The local social welfare team felt that it had been an emotionally healing experience for everyone on so many levels. It was a joy to see the smiles on the faces of the children.
When I returned to the UK, we decided that we needed to share this amazing form of positive touch with everyone – so we published a book Once upon a touch… story massage for children and set up a training programme, blog, facebook and YouTube channel. It has just grown from there – with amazing feedback from so many different people.
What is Story Massage?
Story Massage involves the use of 10 simple massage movements (through clothes), which are associated with spoken words to build up an engaging story. Tracing a large circle on a child’s back, for example, can depict the sun, while raking with the fingers can represent lions’ claws.
The concept of story massage is certainly not new. Indeed, it is as natural and intuitive as both sharing touch and telling stories. Most of us can remember writing our names, adding numbers or drawing pictures on friends’ backs as a creative guessing game. These action games, songs and rhymes are a form of story massage. They have long been enjoyed as a fun and nurturing activity, but we are extending this so they become a way of communicating, engaging interest and encouraging skills such as fine motor co-ordination and emotional literacy.
Our Story Massage strokes can be shared wherever is accessible and acceptable for a child – back, hands, feet, arms, legs…. No oil is used and children do not need to remove any clothes. Storylines and massage moves can be adapted to suit the individual needs of children of varying ages, personalities and temperaments – so it is fully inclusive. It can be shared as a peer massage activity or adult and child, depending on the circumstances.
What are the benefits of Story Massage?
Benefits of story massage can be linked to choice of theme for a massage story. These might include, for example:
How can I use Story Massage at home?
If you live in the Norfolk area, then I’d recommend that you talk to Leanne as she now runs Story Massage sessions for families and groups. She uses Story Massage with her own children and we have been so impressed by the creativity and enthusiasm of her whole family. Leanne has a wonderful talent for Story Massage that she will share with you
How can we find out more about Story Massage?
To find out more about Story Massage training and resources, please visit: www.storymassage.co.uk To celebrate this blog we are happy to send you a free copy of The Smiling Flowers Story Massage, written about the healing power of nature. Simply email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Here at Marsham Holistic Therapy we one to one sessions in story massage here in Norfolk. Contact for more information or to make a booking.
For more blogs see www.leannesihm.wordpress.com
For parents starting out on their journey with a disability I would say:
ADD has taught me so much in the last 8 years and its teaching me a lot more as the months, years go on.
No one child is ever the same and I think that is certainly true with children who have ADD. Every child has their own quirks, breaking points, triggers. No one child has the same symptoms but an array of them making them unique. We as parents have to learn how to adapt to take care of these children. There is no training manual its a case of trial and error!!! Its always interesting and helpful to speak to other parents for support, advice and just for someone that understands what you are going through. Facebook groups are a good place to start.
Elements of ADD will cause you frustration, heartache, anger and you may feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster. Memory problems for me cause me the most headaches and moments of sheer annoyance and anger and tears. I struggle as I am really an organised person to understand some days why my child forgets. Other days I feel sad for the things she looses and events she doesn't understand as she has forgotten them. A diagnosis of anything is no picnic and is never a simple cut and dry case. Just because you can't see a disability does not mean its not there.
I do blame myself as a parent for the way my children are..... Its easy to isn't it?
It's not my fault I know, but some days when feeling low in myself it is easy to play the blame game.We parents put ourselves through so much. We tackle parenthood head on and do everything we can to make sure our babies grow and thrive. The day we parents get our children's diagnosises can be the worst. For me being told my daughter had hearing loss at 2 and ADD at 7 were days that I don't really remember much about. They are lost to me in a haze all I remember doing is crying and then getting on and parenting as best as I could.
At the end of the day remember we are all super Mums and super Dads. In the eyes of our children we are their superheroes no matter what the days, months and years ahead bring. For all the love in the world raising our children to be loved and accepted is in my view what it's all about. Yes I get angry and frustrated but the milestones my children complete and the characters they are will never ever make me think for one second that I wish life had been different. Our children are who they are and we have this amazing job ❤️
Please feel free to get in touch
Xx Leanne xx
As published at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/../../leanne-brown/addso-what-now-mum_b_11569218.html
When looking for a holistic or massage therapy the most common treatment people would go for would be a Swedish massage or Aromatherapy. Both fabulous treatments in their own rights but what about choosing an Indian Head massage?
Most of my clients who book an Indian head massage are doing so for the for the first time. Some have never even heard of an Indian head massage or they may know of someone who has experienced one while on holiday. The key thing to remember is that an Indian head massage with me would be very different from one experienced in India.
A complimentary therapy...
Indian head massage as we know it in Britain is the product of a man called Dr Narendra Mehta. After moving to Britain in the 1970's he began to miss the benefits of massage that he had experienced in India. Massage is a staple of family life in India in where whole families participate from birth through to old age. It enforces the family bond while also having a multitude of benefits. Massage is also practised by barbers.
Dr Mehta returned to india and studied the techniques he saw there and finally his own western version of indian head massage was born. Incorporating the upper back, shoulders, upper arms, neck and scalp that can be adapted to suit almost everyone. I trained with Jackie Hamilton school of therapies here in Norwich 2 years ago and have been practising ever since.
Why try an Indian head massage?
Any where, Any time...
Indian head massage can literally be taken anywhere, all you need is a chair. The massage can be practised with oils allowing for a more tailored massage experience or over the clothes making it ideal for those at work with limited time or in a care setting. The length of the massage can also vary greatly from a 15 minute pick me up to a 40 minute relaxation session.
Practising as a mobile holistic therapist has its ups and downs but knowing that the client is left feeling relaxed and comfortable at home personally gives me great satisfaction of a job well done. Of course for those clients wishing to get away for some relaxation are more than welcome to come to me where i offer a relaxing home from home experience.
I am also available for family get togethers, pamper parties and events. I offer informal relaxing sessions that are suitable for all the family.
Suitable for all....
As with all complimentary therapies there are contra indications. These are circumstances where massage would be unsuitable and in some cases you would be recommended to speak to your doctor first before going ahead with treatment. Bearing that in mind Indian head massage is generally noted as a safe and non invasive massage therapy making it suitable for most. Even so a good therapist will always require a full consultation form to be filled in. While this is a boring part of the treatment and can at times seem invasive in its questions it will give your therapist a good understanding of any medical conditions and wether massage would be a safe step forward. If you have any queries or questions about wether Indian head massage is suitable for you please just ask.
For your information some of the contraindications are as follows:
Indian head massage is widely used in care homes, respite centres and schools and in the work place. It is suitable for those with special needs with the benefits freely available in the form of books and research. An invaluable book on how Indian head massage can be adapted that I have been reading is "Indian Head Massage for Special Needs" by Giuliana Fenwick. This has been particularly helpful in aiding me to adapt Indian head massage for my own daughter who has ADD, Anxiety and OCD.
A recap of the Benefits of an Indian head massage...
Try it for yourself today....
As a little thank you for reading quote Blog and receive 10% off your next massage.
Sleep...... As a parent of any child what is sleep?
It's the time of day when we finally can crawl into bed. The house is silent all is well and we can drift of into the land of nod.
It's amazing talking to other parents how much we all comment on sleep and the lack there of. Before I had children I would take sleep for granted. Now a days if I get a good few solid hours sleep a night I feel grateful. Although personally I get grumpy it's less than 7 hours.
Some parents have very restless nights when raising their children. Babies are all different!! some sleep through the night others are up every few hours, but they eventually get older and become more settled. It is typically expected that at some point your children will go to sleep at night and sleep through until morning. This was the case with 3 of our children.
For some of us this is not the case. Raising a child with ADHD has its challenges. One that in my view has the most effect is sleep. Problems getting to sleep and staying a sleep. We all discover new ways to help our children to sleep or we invent new ones. For us massage has played a huge part in our lives for the past year. Indian head massage and story massage both work really well. As a mother and a therapist I use both techniques to help relax all our children.
Our journey with sleep and ADHD ......
Have you ever got to the point where you are so tired everything in you wants to sleep but you just can't nod of? I know I do as a parent I worry a lot about what's happening;
how the other children are coping?
wether we are doing all that we can for our children?
am I being a good enough mother to them all?
am I raising them properly?
Am I imagining that there are 'things' wrong with my child?
I can feel like I have matchsticks in my eyes and every muscle feels like it's been tightly wound up. Sleep on these occasions is nearly impossible to the point I lie there listening to my OH sleeping, crying. I try not to cry in front of my children as I feel I need to be seen to be strong. I want them to have happy memories of their childhood, I don't want them to have mummy crying all the time as part of that. They know that their sister struggles to sleep and they are so good at understanding and creeping around if necessary. What they don't understand is the need for three of them to share a room so our other daughter is on her own. This they hate but with a three bedroom and no financial room to move as yet this is how it has to be.
(l) is nearly 10 and has ADHD. With that seems to come this inability to sleep. Our daughter doesn't know why she can't sleep. Her brain doesnt seem to tell her body that she is physically shattered. Before diagnosis as mentioned in a previous blog I and my oh would literally work in a shift pattern. I would try and cope with the daily routine while he was at work and the night time routine would mostly fall to him. At this point our daughter would sleep on and of through the nights for an hour at most. By the end of the assessment period we were literally doing everything we could to keep the peace in the house and trying to make sure our other children were not disturbed as they had school the next day. It was very hard.
As someone on the outside many people who read this blog may well have had some experience of sleepless nights with babies and toddlers but imagine it's your school age child and its every night all night with a child you can not reason with or calm down. Your other children go to bed when told but you have one that just can't go to sleep. It's not that she refuses to go, she can not help it, mostly she really wants to go to sleep but she can't. It was like every night without fail. She would make up excuses like she had to clean her room, something was missing,she was hungry ect ect she would literally become so upset she would keep the whole house awake. This in turn started to have an effect not only on my husband and my relationship but also on our other children. They would wake tired and grumpy from the disturbed sleep. They would also become grumpy with their sister.
Eventually our daughter was diagnosed just after her 7th birthday and was started on daytime and night-time medication. Do not think for one minute that I enjoy or take pleasure as a parent giving medication to my children. Up to this point and even now they only get calpol when it's really needed. I don't like giving my children medication and thankfully over the years the need for medication has been low even with four children. Back on point the first night (l) had circadin was a revelation. She actually went to sleep at 6pm and stayed that way for most of the night. We remember waking up just to check on her as it was such an alien position to be in.
Of course as with all things the magic does end. Since then medication has been changed several times as they wear of, stop working or cause tummy pains. We have one that works at the minute but it only gets her to sleep for 4 hours or so. Currently age 9 she sleeps from 7pm until 2am and then she is awake until she goes to bed again. It's horrible as I can see how tired she is. She no longer wakes anyone up which in itself is a marvel as very often she will wake her sisters in a morning and spend a couple of hours making their mornings hell 😟 she lays in bed and sings or wonders downstairs for a drink. I know this doesn't help but it helps her stay calm.
We recently started a new bedtime routine incorporating Indian Head massage and www.storymassage.co.uk. Being able to use that positive touch is a great way to spend some quiet time before sleep. It can easily be incorporated into the bedtime hygiene routine. With story massage we can write our own stories specifically for our daughter and personalise them. She loves having a story that is about her and with her learning difficulties I find she is better able to understand and remember the stories than she would just being told. The whole blend of massage and story telling means that she is engaged for longer. She can feel the story as well as hear it. For us story massage works on so many levels. It calms, relaxes her tense muscles, keeps her engaged and its above all fun. Story massage is a wonderful tool on so many levels. All our children love to write stories and I have many to convert into story massages. I would highly recommend checking out their website www.storymassage.co.uk for more details.
A recent check up has highlighted that (l) is suffering with anxiety. She gets really worried about all sorts of different things, especially at night. It's also become apparent that the medication our daughter is on can cause a side effect of bad dreams. This has made us really sit up and think. I feel terrible as a parent that the medication I am giving her could be causing more problems. It's something we are currently working on with her paediatrician to help in the best way we can. I blame myself though wether because I am tired or I just feel like I am failing....but in reality I am not failing and neither are you!!!
People say I am a great mum but as I write this blog I don't feel at all great. I am worried and scared and sad and I am tired. I am a mum trying to help my daughter the best way I can and sometimes I fail. Sometimes there is nothing that I can do to help her. That's is the hardest part of being a parent wether they are disabled or not. The unknown is scary but together we can raise awareness and support each other.
Xx Leanne xx
As always please feel free to contact me or leave a message if there's anything you want to talk about.
Parenting is a hard full time job. Theres ups and downs joy and sadness. We take on this role knowing that it won’t be easy. Its an emotional, physical and financial role. Most people take for granted that they will be gifted with a healthy child or children that they will nurture and watch them grow up into happy healthy individuals. Sometimes though that is not what happens and for some this isn’t the case. What would you do if you were suddenly faced with a disability? how would you feel if suddenly faced with the prospect of raising a child with additional needs?
Firstly what does disabled mean? if you google it lots of different names and meanings come to the fore. It can be mental, physical, emotional, sensory or developmental. Just because you see someone walking around does not mean that they do not have a disability. For me the sensori neural hearing loss that three of my daughters were diagnosed with was a much easier disability than the later diagnosis of one child with ADHD. This was due to the fact that the children were prescribed hearing aids which are a constant reminder and a visual key to there being some kind of hearing loss. This is not the case with ADHD. ADHD is not an outward disability. Many parents suffer in silence not knowing that their child could indeed have ADHD. Theres a lot of information out in the world. In my opinion its a mixed bag of good advice and bad. My personal experience has been not to google ADHD but to speak to the healthcare professionals involved with your child. For us ADHD took along time to diagnose, 4 years in fact.In this time there were lots of appointments and charts and observations completed.
As a parent already coping with hearing loss you would think that having another diagnosis of yet another disability would not have come as a great shock. You are wrong. I had gotten use to hearing aids and working them, looking after them and never really saw myself in the carer role. When our child was diagnosed with ADHD I felt I was suddenly cast in the role of a carer. The desire to do the best for my daughter was all consuming. There was medication to dispense, appointments to keep, forms to fill in, schools and other healthcare professionals to liaise with. At times i felt more carer than mum. My own emotional and physical needs went on the back burner.
For many parents like myself its a dark, lonely place. Family and friends don’t understand. You feel guilty asking others for help as you brought this child into the world and you feel its your responsibility to do everything without help. You stop going out due to the fear of embarrassment and the danger that accompanies ADHD sufferers. Having a child that has no awareness of the dangers around them or who can run of at any point and not find their way back is a big inducement to just stay home.
You don’t take the time to relax as your always on the alert. For me the hardest thing is that my child has so much energy and is constantly on the go from when she wakes at 4am until she goes to sleep at 7pm. Trying to keep the peace in our house is really hard especially with four girls.
Another massive effect on your life as a parent/carer is that you become ill. I felt sick most days. I comfort ate so that my weight ballooned. I had no energy and I was on the downward spiral into becoming depressed. I started smoking outside so that I could get away for a few minutes. All of this lead me to feeling very alone and sad.
If like us you are in a relationship this can suffer badly.You become carers, co-inhabiters of the same house but unable to keep any other attachment. You fight and argue all the time taking out your frustrations on each other. Then you start to work in shift patterns until eventually one of you seeks warmth and kindness elsewhere. It isn’t until something really profound like that happens that you start to question your ability to cope and the biggest personal realisation is that we were not coping. We stopped talking. We were not there for each other on an emotional level. People around us could see what was happening but we became so wrapped up in caring for the children we didn’t notice.
After my marriage breakdown I was forced to realise that while looking after four children on my own I was stronger than i thought i was. I realised that I could cope and that I wasn’t a failure. Somewhere along the way I found a confidence in myself. We corrected our mistakes and decided to work on our marriage. The biggest change here was making time for each other which meant letting go of the dark lonely place and coming into the light, to realise that we are both stronger together as a team and that we can be both parents and carers but most of all be a family.
coming out of the dark
Looking after your own needs when you have a disabled child is in my opinion the most important thing you can do for yourself and your family. How can you be there emotionally and physically for your child/children if you don’t look after yourself?
I started a course in holistic massage and got myself out into the world. I realised that I had an amazing support network that believed in me. Family were there every step of the way and for some it allowed them to see what we were dealing with. I also have the most amazing best friend and group of friends.They don’t judge me and they take the time to listen and ask questions. We have a laugh and have girlie nights out which means time out for me and a recharge of my batteries.
You don’t have to go out! find time for a coffee and a biscuit, watch a film or read a book. Make an effort for some ME time.
To read more see other blogs or feel free to contact me. Sometime just talking can help.