Oct 2016

Autumn 2016

A warm welcome to our information packed newsletter which includes great articles on MISP in Kosovo, MISP Progress Report feedback, Anti-Bullying Week information and SAVE The DATE for the first ever MISA International Conference! (Yes it will be in London next year!).

We have also now set up an account with Easy Fund Raising. You can help raise vital funds to continue MISP’s work in EWNI with your online Christmas shopping!

Quick and simple to do, please take 5 minutes to visit the website and register.

  1.  Go to www.easyfundraising.org.uk
  2. Search for Massage in ‘Cause’ and Massage in Schools Association will come up and click on it.
  3. Register your details
  4. Add the reminder ‘add on’ to your browser or app (optional but recommended)
  5. Start shopping online! Debenhams, Argos, Ebay, Amazon, Clarks, John Lewis to name but a few and help raise some much needed funds to promote our vital work further.

Don’t forget we are active on Facebook and Twitter – find us – follow us – share with us – stay in touch!
Thanks so much for continuing to support the essential work of spreading connection, inclusion, compassion through respectful touch,
Kate Norfolk, MISA EWNI Chair & Director


MISP in Kosovo

Earlier this year, Sarah Greenwood put a post on MISA EWNI Facebook page about her work in Kosovo with her charity Phoenix Aid and asked if any MISP instructors would be interested in volunteering. On a bit of a whim, I contacted Sarah and approximately six months later found myself on a flight to Pristina.

Sarah had arranged for me to introduce MISP to children attending education classes at The Ideas Partnership centre in Fushe Kosove. The families in this neighbourhood are predominantly Roma and Ashkali and face a lot of challenges due to poverty and discrimination. The Ideas Partnership provide education to enable children to catch up and attend state schooling alongside a whole range of other projects (for more information on this amazing project visit www.theideaspartnership.org).

Things didn’t go exactly to plan – on our first day in the centre our arrival coincided with a visit from a local TV crew. Understandably the children were rather more excited by the prospect of being on TV than us so our session had to be cut short (although we did make a very brief appearance on the resulting TV item!).  Other challenges included fact that the children were aged from 2.5 – 7/8 years old, there were different children there each day (as it isn’t compulsory to attend the staff have to spend time working with parents to send their children to the classes) and most obviously, the language barrier.

Given these difficulties and the limited time I had available I decided to use mini-MISP with the children. The children quickly grasped the idea and by the end of our third and final session, were able to do the routine. I left with the children and teacher saying they would continue to practise the routine every day and requests to come back again next year.
Justine Merton MISP Instructor & MISA EWNI Director


Anti-Bullying Week 2016!

From the 14th to the 18th November a majority of schools throughout the UK will focusing their efforts on Anti-bullying week activities. This years theme is “Power for Good” and there are many resources available www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/anti-bullying-week/ for you to download as well as a link for children to nominate a member of school staff for the ‘Power of Good’ award.

MISP Instructors are encouraged to create and use existing positive touch activities to create a focus for all ages during ABA Week.Why not login to the members website and look on Resources, Positive touch activities. What about organising a whole school or year group positive touch activity and help to promote the ‘Power for Good’ theme?

Please don’t forget to share with us your ABA week activities and stories, email to admin@misa.org.uk.  

Sarah Wadsworth (MISP Instructor)


MISA International News!

Save the Date! We are happy to confirm that the first ever MISA International Conference will be held on Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th May 2017 and the Trainers meeting on Monday 8th May 2017. The events will be at the Kairos Retreat and Conference Centre, in Roehampton, London.
More details to follow…….

There will be the 8th Training of Trainers intensive in Czech Republic from 29 April to 4 May 2017, so if you know of any MISP Instructors interested in becoming a MISP Trainer, please contact us.

Claudio Natale
MISA International Managing Director

MISP Progress Report

This touching and inspirational feedback from Diane Stephenson really shows the huge benefits that MISP can bring into any educational setting. Diane works at Marchbank Free School and has implemented MISP throughout the school from Years 1 to 6. Marchbank opened 3 years ago and focuses on children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH). Diane trained as a MISP Instructor in May last year and has achieved a huge amount of progress in only a year.


What are the main benefits of the MISP to the children and others in your school / organisation?  Include comments from parents or others who may be involved.

The children use the massage as calming session after lunchtime break to settle them ready for afternoon lessons. It is used every day with year 2 – year 5, and on alternative days with year 6.
It has helped with peer relationships and making new friendships as the children are encourage to change partners each new session.

At times the children have requested the Weather story as an alternative routine and find this just as beneficial.
There has been a noted reduction in negative behaviours from pupils at the beginning of afternoon sessions, as pupils knew when and where they should seated and wait patiently for everyone to settle ready to begin.

It has been noted by our first Ofsted inspection (May 2015) that they children appeared relaxed and appeared to be enjoying the sessions and they believed it to be beneficial for our SEMH pupils.

Professional visitors from other schools, parent/carers who visit with new pupils for our school before the start often arrive in the afternoons and are surprised to see a calm, settled classroom with pupils giving each other massage. It is then explained how it benefits everyone and how it has changed the afternoon sessions to become more focused and pupils are  ready to learn as they have calmed and become focused after their running around and play at break time. 
The pupils often comment that they give their mother’s in particular a massage when they are ‘stressed’ and it helps, we believe it helps them to bond (something positive, when we first meet parents and child that it not always evident).
The pupils have themselves stated they feel calm and enjoy the time to relax. Last year the year 6 pupils would often request massages at break time from peers.
At my recent appraisal the HLTA and Senior Management admitted that they were sceptical about the introduction of massage into the school but can now see the benefits for the children and themselves.
Pupils are ready to learn, have made friendships with some they have struggled to accept. They agreed the whole school is calmer, the children now understand what acceptable areas to touch and appear more relaxed. 
For the classroom, afternoon session begin with a calmer, quieter atmosphere and for some pupils who find tasks difficult, massage sessions has the option not to participate or use a cushion, this is very rarely seen.
It allows teachers additional time to prepare for lesson or mark work as it is delivered by myself, but the children can now follow the routine with only the sound of relaxing music in the background and need no reminders when to change movements.
As the whole school (47 pupils) follows the routine it is seen as a consistent approach across all year groups and continuity from year to year.

Spring 2016

Feels good to know we are through winter, and the signs of spring are all around us. This can be reflected in the picture at MISA EWNI too! There has been a lot of work and change going on behind the scenes, and after some serious ‘pruning back’ – the signs of new growth and brighter days are strong. The website redesign is complete (minor tweaks still occurring) please do take a good look and let us know how it works for you. The Croydon office has now closed and Sarah – our amazing administrator is working on a self- employed basis to help cut costs. We have also switched to a lifetime membership policy to create a feeling of inclusion among members and to reduce hours spent on following up renewals.

We have also offered free places to people supporting refugee children and families on recent trainings. We know what a difference the programme can make to people who are suffering. More news on this to follow.

Included in this newsletter are articles from Justine Merton who survived the terrorist attacks in Paris and has renewed her desire to work with MISP- an incredible account also an update from MISP in Tanzania and MISP Trainers Training in Thailand.

Please remember we are active on Facebook and Twitter – find us – follow us – share us…..- stay in touch!

Thanks so much for continuing to support the essential work of spreading connection, inclusion, compassion through respectful touch

Kate Norfolk, MISA Chair & Director


To refresh or not

On November 13th last year my fiancé and I were upstairs on the balcony at Le Bataclan enjoying a gig by ‘The Eagles of Death Metal’ when the venue was attacked by terrorists. We were extremely fortunate and managed to escape via a hatch in the ceiling onto the roof and then into an apartment at the top of the building where we hid, along with others, for the next three hours until we were found by armed police. We saw the worst of humanity that night but we also saw the best – acts of kindness & compassion to complete strangers, without which we might not have survived.
Since that night I have been horrified and upset by the way in which the events have been used to whip up an atmosphere of distrust, suspicion and hatred. I feel that I owe it to the memory of those who died that night to promote a positive message of hope and love; to show that we aren’t defeated or afraid.
That, for me, is where MISP comes in. I originally did the training back in 2012 but, due to personal circumstances, hadn’t implemented it; however, its philosophy of using nurturing touch to promote values of respect, empathy & connection seems more important now than ever before. MISP may not be the panacea to all our ills but it certainly seems a good starting point to me and so I have returned to the MISA family with a renewed sense of passion and commitment.
As Robert F Kennedy said: “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Every child we teach as MISP instructors is another tiny ripple of hope sent forth into the world. Together we can make the difference and bring those walls of fear and hatred crashing down.

Justine Merton, MISP Instructor.


Update from Tanzania, East Africa

Like many other natural healing alternatives, MISP integrates well into an overall wellness plan that might include various benefits for children and their family.
I continued running training sessions at schools and at private venues for groups of mothers.
It’s been an interesting experience to see how mothers and children found a new way of bonding together and spending quality time together.
I also trained a group of teachers in Myworld preschool. This wasn’t only beneficial to the team as a bonding or ice breaking activity but also laid a path for the children to experience positive touch in their little time they spend at school.

Thank you to the MISP team. Sakina Teja, MISP Instructor based in Tanzania.


Trainers Training in Thailand October 2015
In October Carol Trower (MISA EWNI Director and International President) and I had the pleasure of joining the international training of trainers in Bangkok Thailand. We were supporting the intensive week as Trainer Advisors and have continued to support several of the trainees through the next stages of the process. All in all there were 12 trainees from 4 different continents – and a real feeling of MISP spreading globally. It was a wonderful week – to actually spend some face to face time together and of course share respectful touch. There are amazing things happening all over the world and the MISP family is growing at a pace. The International board are about to release a newsletter and we will make that available on our website.

Kate Norfolk, MISP Trainer, MISA Chair & Director.

See the next available MISP Training/MISP Refresher course dates

Jul 2015

Welcome to the summer edition of the MISA newsletter. Wow!!! How full is our
newsletter, with lots of positive stories about how well MISP is being received. I was so
lucky to join the directors and members at the conference day in London and even got
to speak about the readiness for learning in Stoke on Trent. The children from
Kingsland Primary wrote some lovely comments on how they enjoy massage. What an
amazing few weeks I have had, massage in Stoke is great especially within some
schools, I have had the honour of working within the nursery class at Goldenhill
Primary, working with both children and the staff. This week I have been invited to the
nursery where the parents come in for the morning to see what the children are
enjoying, parents are coming to see how and why their children love mini MISP so
much and to learn it, so they can take it home ready for the summer holidays. Also
this week I am off to the Children’s University to see some of the children collect their
awards and MISP has helped them on their way.

Well the summer holidays are nearly upon us and I have to take this moment to thank everyone within MISA who has helped me along my way, I start a new chapter in my professional life in September, I am going to continue with my Massage and I am hoping to develop an after school club within my new job.
Ceris Walker, guest editor and MISA Director.

Don’t Forget!

YOU MUST be a full/current member of MISA (EWNI) CIC to be able to
practice the Massage in Schools Programme (MISP).
MISA Conference & AGM 2015

Massage in Schools Association (MISA)
England, Wales and Northern Ireland (EWNI)
Newsletter – Summer 2015
MISA’s 12th AGM and Conference themed ‘Back to Basics’ on Saturday 25th April was a great success with many a MISP Instructor (and trainer!) travelling considerable distance to share knowledge & enthusiasm for MISP and positive nurturing touch. The kinaesthetic workshop was a huge success and talks from our guest Editor Ceris Walker on MISP and Readiness for learning and of course the all important MISP Stroke
review, an enjoyable day for all. Please note that the resources, notes and presentation are available on the member’s website to download.



Mary Atkinson brought along red felt hearts to share our solidarity with fellow MISP instructor and Coroco charity founder Takiko Ando who practices MISP in Japan to help traumatized children & families after the devastation caused to by the tsunami of 11th March 2011.

Dear friends and colleagues,
I am Kate Norfolk and I stepped into the role of Chairperson at our above mentioned AGM. I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge and heartfelt ‘Thank you’ to Anne Crease who has been our chair for over 5 years. Anne has worked tirelessly supporting the organisation and members to grow and move forward – often at difficult times and I am so grateful she will continue as a MISA Director.
Thanks to you too for all that you do to bring positive touch into children lives and so creating a healthier society. Have a wonderful summer break and look out for some exciting developments at the start of the new academic year!
Future Events – Save the Date – MISA Member’s Day 2015 will be on Saturday 7th November at the Everton Family & Children’s Centre, Spencer Street, Liverpool, L6 2WF, more details to follow shortly.
Mothers Day Massage Event – TORFAEN, Wales
These photographs are from the Mothers Day Massage event which took place in Class 9 classroom at Crownbridge Special School, on Friday March 13th. These parents cashed in their ‘Mother’s Day Massage Vouchers’ where they received the weather story and our new positive touch activity ‘Wonderful Wales’ that was carried out over the Spring term. As you can see the Mums really enjoyed the massage as did the
children. We are very proud of our pupil’s achievements and the responses that parents have given, since this event two pupils have mentioned that they have given massage at home to their siblings and parents.


Mandy Aherne, MISP Instructor since 2008. Please note that although MISP is for 4 to 12 year olds (2 year olds if using Mini-MISP) older SEN children can use the MISP and it has been very beneficial in both SEN and mainstream settings.

Some Call It Pampering – Some Call It Massage!


These are my experiences that I have had after I completed my MISP training last year. I have a passion for massage and I have always believed that massage is a destressing and a healing magic. You just have to have the right mind, heart and hands.
For years many people have believed in massage and many of us are aware that it is human nature to touch as a way of showing love and affection. This touch stimulates the body in positive ways to help it grow and develop. Massage is beneficial at any age but because children are still developing it can be especially helpful for them.
Africa, being a continent that has preserved many traditional practices including massage, lacks the understanding that massage benefits both mother and child. Massage is the key to solving a huge problem: understanding that Parent-child massage is a wonderful way to bond with your children while offering them health benefits. Bonding is the key to successful relationship which can help to raise happy,
healthy and confident children.
When I first advertised my parent–child workshop, it included a long written explanation to let the parents be aware of the program and the benefits.

I started with only 2 parents; it was a 2 day workshop and in the first session, I had the mums come in to chat and discuss and understand the program and the next session they were empowered to run the routines (the steps/routines for massage) on their children.
After this, I hosted a few more workshops from home and in my work place called ‘My World Pre-School’. It is a centre of Excellence based in a town called Dar es Salaam. One of the most important skills that I feel I have imparted through these workshops is to respect and value each other by asking permission and thanking the person who has let you massage them. This program helped children feel good about themselves and my parents realised that this is where the gap stands. We have never given that respect, value and importance to our children.
Moreover some of the children felt awkward to ask permission before they started and to say ‘thank you’ after they finished; because according them, they just have to receive the massage when offered.
I must admit that I love sharing the knowledge I have gained. I have seen the benefits not only through the feedback from my parents and children who have participated in my workshops but I have seen a difference in my own relationship with my own children. I can clearly see the bond getting better as well as my girl’s self esteem blossoming. They understand the concept of giving and receiving as nurturing touch. I am very thankful to the MISP founders and trainers to have designed and delivered such a unique programme that helps every individual to realise how gentle touch can make a life changing difference in us all.
Sakina Teja, MISP Instructor since May 2014, based in Tanzania.


How Did MISP Help A Year 5 Class In Stoke on Trent?

These are the comments from the year 5 class when asked what ways we think
massage has helped us in School:

  • It has helped the whole class to work together as a team
  • It helps to get on with our work
  • We calm down when we do massage
  • We forget all the bad things we have done
  • It gives us friends
  • Stay relaxed
  • Pushes us in football
  • Using kind hands
  • Help people to forget bad memories
  • It makes us relaxed and it’s a stress relief
  • Helps if you had a family loss and pet loss
  • When we don’t feel great it helps us feel better
  • Helps a teacher feel relaxed if the teacher had a stressful day
  • It has helped the class to learn and listen better
  • Helps them to get better
  • It helps you to be more confident
  • I think it helps us to think be kind and learn more
  • It helps us to act better and to play with each other and not leave anyone out
  • It helps to work together and others
  • Helps people to not talk when a teacher is helping us learn
  • It helps us to think about others and to help us learn.

Thank you to Kim Webb, MISP Instructor since April 2015, Stoke-on-Trent.

MISP Instructor of the Season – Summer
Thanks to Loretto Cattell our MISP Instructor of Season for Spring and we would like to congratulate Vanessa Salter MISP Instructor of the Season Summer 2015.
Vanessa trained with Kate Pigeon-Owen in August last year and has since found success by running MISP in the family parenting workshops at her local Children’s centre in Portsmouth. At the MISA conference & AGM Vanessa shared with us her amazing work folders that she has put together. Thank you Vanessa for sharing your passion for MISP and family work, you’re such an inspiration.
I learned such a lot by teaching the course (MISP) and found the information in the manual about getting the teaching staff involved in pairing the pupils, participating in the sessions and identifying a leader to complete the evaluations and maintain the programme, invaluable. My Trainer Kate Pigeon-Owen and the MISA resources of Sarah and Anne and Stroke Cards and Charts were also a real help. I could never have
done the course without your help. Thank you. Loretto Cattell I realise it is a very beneficial practice; however my work has taken me in other directions. I still recommend MISP whenever I can, Keep up the good work. Mandy Stead no longer practices as a MISP Instructor but still supports our amazing work.
Sadly I have now retired and am no longer using the programme. Thank you for all the good work done by MISA. Long may it continue! Jane Mosse.

MISA EWNI & Social Media

Did you see the latest article in TES on MISP? 22nd May 2015
MISP guest blog on KalliKids by Elspeth Simpson,
We have a public page & private group on Facebook and a Twitter account – Come and
Join us!


Don’t forget your MISP Resources; login to the MISA members website and click on ‘MISA warehouse’ and ‘MISA Materials’ link to order/view the products or email admin@misa.org.uk.
We are in the process of rebranding the MISP A5 Bi-fold colour flyers and aim to have them available September along with other useful business tools to support you and your business.
Don’t forget to – Renew your MISA Membership Why keep your MISA membership up to date?
Provide the resources needed for parents and inspections.
Find policies to aid successful delivery of the MISP on the members’ website.
Be prepared!
NB- you MUST be a full/current member of MISA (EWNI) CIC to be able to practice the Massage in Schools Programme (MISP).

Read more

misa_newsletter_summer_2015 (full pdf)

Alternatively you can print this page:


Apr 2015

Welcome to the spring edition of the MISA newsletter. MISA has received some wonderful feedback from instructors and staff who are using the programme on a regular basis and also ideas to enhance the normal provision to children. Parents are becoming increasingly involved and families benefit.
Schools are adapting to the new national curriculum and it is very noticeable that the MISP, when used on a regular basis, is contributing to the improved concentration of children and their ability to work cooperatively, so supporting their learning.
The focus of the conference after our AGM on Saturday 25 April will be ‘Back to Basics’. I hope you will be able to join us as we consider imaginative ways in which to integrate the MISP into the curriculum and the wider school community, focusing on the way in which the MISP aids children’s readiness for learning.
Anne Crease, guest editor and MISA Chair

This newsletter contains information about:

  • MISA Conference and AGM 25 April 2015
  • MISA Member’s Day November 2014
  • Stoke-on-Trent Mental Health Conference
  • Managing Massage and the Media Article
  • MISP Christmas Challenge in Worcester


YOU MUST be a full/current member of MISA (EWNI) CIC to be able to practice the Massage in Schools Programme (MISP).
MISA Conference & AGM 2015 – Saturday 25th April

We are pleased to confirm that MISA’s 12th AGM and Conference entitled ‘Back to Basics’ will be on Saturday 25th April 2015 from 9:30am to 5pm at the Croydon Head office. The day will include a Members Forum and cover MISP and Readiness for Learning and a workshop on MISP Best Practice and kinaesthetic Learning, not forgetting the all important MISP Stroke review.
We hope you are able to attend. Please download the booking form from the member’s website or email admin@misa.org.uk for further details.
Save the Date – MISA Member’s Day 2015 Saturday 3rd October the location is yet to be confirmed……Hopefully we are looking at a venue further north!

MISA (Member’s) Day

On Saturday 22nd November 2014 MISA EWNI held their first Members Day in Croydon
since Bristol (MISP & Special Needs) in November 2009.
We were a select group of 12 who enjoyed ‘Change’ and ‘Goal’ workshops with Marjorie Grant to help us focus on MISP and new beginnings. Discussions focused mainly around the programme and its evolution, MISA International development, new Curriculum links and parents/twilight workshops and of course a MISP Stroke Review.
We were also lucky enough to have all six MISA Directors together! Albeit only for the morning session but a fun filled day – thanks everyone.


A good day spent with very nice people & I will return to school with renewed vigour!”
Helen Niven

Wonderful welcoming atmosphere, more practical activities to use in classroom (touch activities) and fitting with curriculum topics” Clare Hollingsworth

Stoke-on-Trent Mental Health Conference

In October I was very kindly invited by the Behaviour Support Team to deliver a massage workshop alongside massage lead, Ceris Walker, at the Mental Health Conference. It was a pleasure to assist Ceris in her delivery and it was great to share the benefits of the Massage in Schools Programme in relation to learning and achievement.
When approached by the MISP team I did think ‘Well, I’ll give it a go but I’m not sure how it will benefit my children’s development’. I was so wrong to have this thought as it has benefited my class immensely, in many different areas. It is unbelievable how the programme can develop the children both socially, as expected, but also helps to develop their attainment and progress.
There have been many in ways in which my children have developed due to this incredible programme. The children have a very calm approach towards each other and the number of physical incidents has reduced considerably as the children use appropriate and kind touch naturally. It has developed the children’s confidence when working with people that they previously may not have chosen to. The children understand the importance of building relationship with people in our group that they
perhaps might not otherwise have chosen to. They children are now extremely confident in their delivery of massage and on many occasions the children have led the positive touch sessions.
There has been a massive change in some of the pupils’ attitudes towards their learning. They now take a calmer approach to learning challenges that they may have found tricky to approach prior to the programme. They seem to be more determined to
achieve and let their confident, calm attitude guide them through their learning. I feel strongly that the MISP programme also helps to improve attendance percentages, as the children love delivering massage. They are constantly asking when
it is time for massage although we deliver the same session, everyday, at the same time. The children have commented when they have not been in school about how they have missed the sessions.
When thinking about classroom management, this is a tool for all schools to consider. The strategy can be used to calm children after a busy lunchtime or can be used if the children don’t appear to be on task. On occasions, I have stopped the taught session and have delivered a quick massage session and have found that the learning after the massage session has improved in relation to the learning prior to the massage break.
In my opinion the MISP programme is a ‘must have’ strategy for all schools. I have stated the benefits for children’s development, but I feel that it has a positive impact on members of staff and their teaching delivery. Both my Teaching Assistant and I feel more relaxed and confident when delivering taught sessions after massage, as we are
feeling calmer, therefore, as we all know well, our body language has a massive impact on our children’s learning and attitudes.
May I take this opportunity to thanks the Behaviour Support Team for the invitation. It was a pleasure to share the practical benefits of the MISP programme. May I also state that we welcome anyone into our school, who would like to see a Positive Touch session taking place; I feel that you will be able to see the immediate benefits of the programme.
Kim Webb – Kingsland Primary School, Stoke on Trent

Managing Massage and Media

It still surprises me when I find out that there are people that have not heard of Massage in Schools Programme. After using it in the school since 2007, I seem to take it for granted that everyone knows about it. I also seem to assume that everyone
would agree that it is a good thing. But, as I have recently found out, there are still some new comers to massage that will ask “Is it…dangerous?”, or “Aren’t you putting some children at risk”? At risk of what, my internal defense system snaps back!? At
risk of relaxing a little, forming some positive emotional connections with peers and nurturing a calm learning environment?!
I found myself having to defend the programme a little this term when our school was contacted by 3 newspapers for interviews regarding the MISP. But how did I get to this place? Let me share with you what it is I do exactly.

I work in a busy Prep school, as the Head of Drama. The children’s timetable is jam packed from 8am – 5.30pm. When I first arrived (18 months ago) and told the Headmaster about MISP he was willing to give it a go. (As we all know, it’s all about
getting the Head on board). The result a year and bit later, is that I run a mixture of different MISP sessions in the school, trying to get in as much as I can as there isn’t the space in the day for it to be run as part of the daily routine. The year 3 and 4‘s each have a massage session with me once every 2 weeks in their PSHE lessons, I run a voluntary after school club for our pre-prep i.e. year 1 and 2, and again for our prep school, year 5/6. The year 7 and 8 girls have sessions with me a few times a term in form times, as an anti stress strategy. I basically do all sorts, but not in the usual way.
And I like that, it works at our school, and it works for me. I have had to be adaptable over the years, and thanks to my confidence with the programme, I feel I am able to do that. (I also teach Story Massage and Mindfulness in schools)
I approached the Headmaster last term saying “MISP is great. The kids love it. You love it. Why aren’t we telling the world what we do? Don’t you think it would be such great publicity for the school”? Before long, newspapers were contacted and a few were interested.
I was so used to everyone being so positive about the programme, that I was little defensive and thrown when the lady from the Daily Mail asked me some challenging questions in our telephone interview. After taking a few mindful breaths and assuring her that our parents had been very supportive and that I didn’t feel we were opening our children up to touching each other inappropriately, I realised I felt a little attacked and un-prepared for negative questions. Why would people want to think such things?
Why do people still see peer massage/touch as a dangerous thing?
After the Daily Mail phoned us and took photos, we had couple of local newspapers come and visit us as well. They didn’t want to watch the massage, only to interview me and photograph the kids. Despite what I have said, on the whole, it was a positive experience. The articles were affirming and the challenging questions not printed. But it made me aware; we do have to be careful when interviewed of what we say and how we say it. The Press can miss-quote and are basically after a story; they want to make news.
The advantages of being in the paper were that the children loved seeing their photos in the paper. The parents loved it too, and the message is being spread around our area that MISP is a safe and good thing to do. I also realised I need not fear the
negative questions. As I asked earlier, “why would people want to think such things”?
The answer is it is human nature. You cannot have the good without the bad. As human beings we question things that are new to us, and we have to learn to be discerning and protective of our children.
So to all you out there wanting to get some press coverage, don’t worry about the difficult questions. There is enough evidence out there to give a strong enough argument. Allow people to question, it is all part of the bigger picture. Just be ready with some strong sound answers (get your information in front of you when doing a telephone interview!). We are trying to educate people that it is ok to touch, it is ok to be caring and kind and to we have nothing to be ashamed of. Welcome the difficulties and embrace them and let’s keep telling the world how important it is that we do what we do.

Mary Spink, MISP Instructor since September 2008, Head of Drama at Ardingly Prep
Please follow this link to see the on-line article

Loretto Cattell, MISP Instructor of the Season – Spring

I have practiced as a Complementary Therapist at the school since 2007 but never considered the Massage in Schools (MISP) training. That all changed one day in April 2013 when a pupil called Angel approached her friend whose hands I was treating with another therapy and asked if she could copy what I was doing. Her friend agreed and in the ensuing minutes my whole perspective changed. I booked onto a MISP training the following month.
In May 2013 I trained as a MISP Instructor with Kate Pigeon–Owen and was convinced that our pupils could learn the MISP strokes and would enjoy peer massage.
Discussion with the very sympathetic Deputy Head Teacher resulted in the Senior Leadership Team agreeing that aspects of the MISP could be introduced in the Autumn 2013 term. I identified three groups with whom I wanted to work:
The Foundation class: I introduced the Weather Massage Story, at their existing weekly complementary therapy session. This then progressed to the Mini-MISP.
Class Five: I taught all the MISP Strokes as a Pilot Project over a five week period and then adapted the strokes to the science curriculum topic (done on a voluntary basis as I needed to know if I was capable of teaching the MISP to this group of pupils).
The Parents for Parents Association: in order to inform them about the MISP. As a result of my presentation, the Association booked a Parents Course for March 2014, which evaluated very well.
Feedback from staff was positive and as a result of the Deputy Head observing Class Five performing the MISP, I was invited to teach the programme to ALL Primary School classes during the 2014 Spring and Autumn half terms. The pupils all enjoyed the sessions and the MISP is now time-tabled as a weekly session for each class.
A review visit to the classes in January 2015 showed the MISP to be alive and well under the leadership of designated members of staff in each class.
The Evaluations of Outcomes show that children in all five classes were more attentive and able to concentrate for longer periods of time and each class showed improvements in several of the MISP Outcome Criteria.
Loretto Cattell MSc, MISP Instructor, Birmingham, trained May 2013.

MISP Christmas Challenge at Westlands First School

I have really just taken on the MISP properly in September 2014 as Elaine Humphreys retired in July, after 9 years of working with MISP. I have had lots of fun going into each class to instruct the staff and pupils on the 15 stroke programme. This has been great as I have had lots of really positive feedback from the children, some of whom have been using the programme for a number of years now. I have incorporated some of their comments into a new display in our central area of school, focusing on which is their favourite stroke and why they like it.

I have just gone into the early years classes this week to start introducing the programme to our reception children, and this will be done over a longer period of time, as will the year one classes.
We are hoping to invite parents in towards Christmas, so that they can receive a Christmas present of a massage from their children, and our experience of this sort of event is usually very positive and very well attended.
What is very clear is the children at Westland’s First School, clearly enjoy giving and receiving peer massage, and staff report the positive impact this has on the children in the class.
I have set each class a “Christmas challenge” to try and give as many different peers a massage in class time by the end of this term, encouraging them to change partners as often as possible. Also to try and resolve any playground disagreements by giving a massage to someone they may have had a disagreement with that day, so the massage is the first step in building bridges with that person and putting things right.
Different classes continue to use massage to support their curriculum learning, and we hope to share some of these massages with other classes and parents in the near future.
Philippa Cavilla, MISP Instructor since November 2013, Westlands First School,


I wanted to share with you how much I have enjoyed introducing massage into the schools I have worked in with staff, pupils and parents. I was trained by Anne Crease and thoroughly enjoyed the course. I am now training as a psychotherapist and am self employed working as a school counsellor.
Because of this change I no longer have the opportunity to practice massage so will not be renewing my membership. However, I feel very sad about this and hope, in the future, to reconnect with MISA and use the wonderful MISP programme.
Catriona Baillie, MISP Instructor since February 2008.

Dec 2014

A very warm welcome to this autumn newsletter! I hope that you are all well and enjoying the rhythm and pace of the autumn term before the hectic run up to the festive season.
It’s certainly been a busy time for MISA and for so many of us working with the program. Please grab a cuppa’ and sit back and have a read of the latest news….
Upcoming dates for action include Anti-bullying Week (17th – 21st November) our MISA Member’s Day (22nd November) and news on the Wrexham Peace Day project and from MISP starting to grow in Bosnia as well as a New Year Stroke Review
Workshop for those living in the North West. Find out who our instructor of the season is and of course how to stay in touch and share our stories with each other.
We are so grateful for your input and your work with children – YOU make a difference!!
Thank you, Kate Norfolk xx
(Autumn Guest Editor)

ABA Week 17th–21st November

Every year the Anti-Bullying Alliance coordinate national Anti-Bullying Week; a week where children and young people, schools, parents and carers come together with one aim: to stop bullying for all. This year we are calling on the school community to take action to stop the bullying of ALL children and young people – including disabled children and those with special educational needs – children who are significantly more likely to experience bullying in schools and the wider community.


Lots of FREE downloads from the ABA website are available

MISA Member’s Day 2014

On Saturday 22nd November we will be coming together to for our ‘MISP and New Beginnings’ Members Day at the MISA head office in Croydon, South London. From 9:30-5pm we will be engaging in ‘Change’ and ‘Goal’ workshops, looking at ‘New
Beginnings’ with MISP in the England, Wales & Northern Ireland, Promotion, Ideas in to action and of course a MISP Stroke review. The event only costs £15 for the day including lunch and refreshments. If you are interested in attending please email
admin@misa.org.uk for further details and a copy of the booking form.

World Peace Day Event – Wrexham

For the third year running, pupils from local schools (St. Christopher’s, Rhosnesni, Hafod y Wern, Brynteg, Holt, Bodhyfryd and Rhosddu) marked World Peace Day at St. Christopher’s school in Hightown, Wrexham on Monday 22 September, exploring the theory and practice of peace through a wide range of lessons, workshops and practical activities. While older pupils explored ethical dilemmas in warfare and how the military engages with young people, younger students learned about conscientious objectors in WWI and the lives of children in Afghanistan. Others worked on how to deal with negative feelings, made ‘peace mala’ bracelets, wrote poems, sang songs for peace and talked about climate change.


Brynteg pupils learned to offer each other massage in the cool shade of the trees outside and about Sikh seva (selfless
service) in the heat of the cookery room

The pupils brought things they no longer needed themselves to put on the free stall and were invited to take anything they could use from it – a practical lesson in abundance through sharing.
Other activities included making a rainbow collage and peace badges as well as face painting and co-operative games.
At the end of the day, everyone came back together to share what they had learned. We heard the children’s songs and poems, a personal view on the day from a Rhosnesni pupil and the children who had learned about massage showed us how it’s done with a massage circle that filled the sports hall.


This year, the Peace Day group also offered sessions at Coleg Cambria’s Yale campus where students on public service and
health & social care courses today took part in workshops on Women in Afghanistan, ethical dilemmas in warfare, and military engagement with young people.

All the activities above were organised and offered with love and on a voluntary basis by members and friends of Wrexham Peace Day Group, a network of individuals and organisations who come together every year on World Peace Day to hold peace events in town and in the classroom.
Katy Saxby, MISP Instructor June 2014, Wrexham

MISP in Bosnia

I have been visiting Bosnia, Sarajevo quite regularly over the past 12 years. I first came to Bosnia to provide therapies to victims of the 1992-95 war. It rapidly became apparent that therapy training was needed for local healthcare workers and teachers, so I set up Phoenix-Aid, a UK registered charity, to provide training access in different therapies and new techniques to those working with children and the disabled, as well as other groups that need help for their users.
I’m constantly looking for new, cost effective methods of delivering results, and had heard about MISP, which seemed to be a very useful tool in promoting a ‘feel good’ atmosphere in potentially stressful situations. I thought it would be particularly useful in Bosnia for various reasons, partially connected to promoting ethnic harmony in multi-ethnic organisations, and also, as I used it on my last visit, in a ‘safe house’ for abused families.
After some negotiation I ran two teaching sessions for the people at the Safe House in Sarajevo, and really enjoyed my time there. The group included 2 young boys, one of whom was about 9 and the other about 3. The older one picked up the MISP routine really quickly and then showed the younger one, who was playing and not interested, what he’d been doing. The younger boy thought it felt quite nice and then said he’d do it on his mum, so he did the entire routine on his mum! The older boy also worked on his mum and another helper at the centre, and was brilliant! It went really well and they’re very happy with both the concept and the practical massage.


The lady doing the massage on the right is the group psychologist, who was very good at persuading the little boy to do the massage on his mum (the pair in the middle). The older boy is on the left working on his mum

I’m going to stay in contact with them to get feedback in a month and then again in a couple of months, to see how it was working. I did this for 2 reasons a) because I want to check that they’re using the MISP and b) because I had a meeting with a friend who works in the psychology department at the International University in Sarajevo. She was interested in MISP, so I passed on to her the MISA details so she could read up on MISP. I will also keep her informed on how it was going at the Safe House; hopefully this will lead to some MISP development in Bosnia.
Sarah Greenwood, MISP Instructor, February 2014, Wakefield

MISP Instructor of the Season

In my school I have taught MISP in reception and year one classes. The feedback from the teachers has been very positive, the children are much calmer, I have also been working with individual parents who have been struggling to settle their children to sleep (mostly 3 and 4 year olds) and have lots of grateful feedback from parents who are now getting their children to sleep at a reasonable time and have their evenings/beds back!! I have also been approached by an adoption support group to teach their children. I love MISP and enjoying the challenges of getting it into my school and I would like to get it into other schools soon.
Julie Griffin, MISP Instructor, Rothwell Victoria Infant School, Northamptonshire,
Trained May 2013.

North West Regional Support Group

MISP Trainer and MISA Director Kate Norfolk will be running a MISP Stroke Review Workshop at Everton Nursery School & Family Centre, Spencer Street, Liverpool, L6 2WF on Thursday 22nd January from 1:30pm-3:30pm. Please do get in touch and let us know if you can come along…there will be a small charge of £5. We always have a great cake baked in the local community bakery to enjoy


I have spent roughly four weeks implementing MISP in both KS1 and KS2 in our school and so far feedback has been positive. The children have very much accepted it and enjoy the sessions, and teachers are noticing a change in the children and their respect for each other.
The sessions have a very calming effect on the children and the music we use for the massage is also being used during reading time and independent work helping the children focus better.
Maureen Bell, Wellbeing Officer at Bridgewater School, Newcastle, Trained May 2006.

MISA Warehouse

Please note that a new warehouse order form has been put on the member’s website with an update products list. Please login to the member’s website to view the products and books available.

Jul 2013

We hope you are all enjoying the fabulous weather and a well-deserved wind down as the end of term approaches. Thank you all so much for your continued efforts to bring MISP to children across the country. It is impossible to truly gauge the reach our programme has but I like playing with numbers so here goes……
In Liverpool I have delivered to, on average 20 classes per week; that’s 600 children a week and over the academic year that’s 24,000 peer massaging kiddies! Many of whom go home and share with their families.
If it were possible to do the sums across the country, we would begin to see the emerging picture of more and more children experiencing the profound effects of MISP and despite the difficult financial climate – we are having major impact!!!
Well done all and keep up the good work
Down to business, this summer’s newsletter includes:
June Conference review – such a lovely day!
Updates from Story Massage in Japan from Mary Atkinson
Sarah and I have been busy launching Facebook and Twitter – a great way to stay in touch and raise the profile of the programme….please ‘like’ our page and invite your friends to like us too and do get involved, make posts etc. It all helps
keep up momentum!!
Lots to report about in the Autumn Newsletter (due October) but until then have a wonderful break!
Kate Norfolk, MISP Trainer and MISA Director

MISA Conference 2013
‘Celebrating 10 years of MISA – Moving On’

Saturday 8th June – Croydon
In May 2003 a small group of MISP instructors, with the founders of the MISP, Mia Elmsater and Sylvie Hetu, formed the Massage in Schools Association (MISA). In June this year, at the annual conference, three of the founding members celebrated their tenth anniversary of MISA membership. With over 4000 current and past members, MISA (England Wales and Northern Ireland) is well established and now there are MISA branches emerging worldwide.
Our celebratory conference day started with the AGM and then continued with members updating each other on progress in their various fields. We identified the positives and the challenges.
The afternoon session gave the opportunity to consider some new developments which support the programme. Mary Atkinson and Sandra Hooper outlined the development of their Story Massage and the members were involved in practical
activities, more information below.
Carol Trower is in the final stages of completing her work as the development coordinator for MISA, funded by the Tudor Trust. She outlined her recent work which involved the training of MISP instructors and the across school implementation of the MISP in several Croydon schools. A full evaluation is being undertaken to see the effects of the MISP on various age groups and a final report will be sent to the Tudor Trust later this year.
During the past year there has been a development of the mini-MISP for children 2-4 years. Kate Norfolk, MISP trainer and MISA director, has been working with the Everton Children’s Centre who trialled the mini-MISP. She gave the background to the development and then organised members in performing the sequences used by the children. We all very much appreciated Kate’s input and the opportunity to be involved in the practical activity.
Kate and Sarah (MISA’s administrator) are also involved in the development of the social media for the branch and now the public and members can join MISA on Twitter and Facebook.
Time was becoming limited when members started their discussion about the further development of MISA and it was recognised that another workshop*
would be needed to explore some of the issues in greater detail. However, some new instructors benefitted from the experience of others in considering how to contact schools, who to contact, curriculum links, what to charge, how to
organise implementation and much more. It was a successful day.
Anne Crease, MISA Chair
*The next workshop is arranged for Saturday 19 October in Croydon.


Anne Crease, Helen Lawton & Carol Trower, three of the original founding members of MISA EWNI,
10 years on and still going strong!


MISP Stroke Review in action


MISA Conference and AGM 2013 – group photograph

We have booked the conference room again in Croydon for Saturday 19th October 2013 for a follow up – ‘Meeting of Minds’ for open discussion and sharing of ideas of how to strengthen MISA (EWNI) and help MISP grow in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Places are limited to 20, if you are able to attend please email admin@misa.org.uk to secure a place. Refreshments will be provided but please bring a packed lunch.

Story Massage


Mary Atkinson & Sandra Hooper demonstrating with the help of Anne Crease MISA Chair their Massage Story at the MISA conference 8th June

An exciting new Story Massage project was announced at the MISA AGM in June 2013 and given a positive ‘thumbs up’ by members.
The Story Massage project, developed by Sandra Hooper MISP Instructor/Trainer and Mary Atkinson MISP Instructor, uses an interactive combination of website (www.storymassage.co.uk), social media, newsletter, e-book and training options to encourage opportunities for all children to benefit from positive touch through story massage.
The e-book Once upon a touch…. story massage for children includes step-bystep instructions with carefully filmed video clips for ten easy to follow basic stokes plus 25 ‘tried and tested’ story massages which vary in length, complexity and content. Designed to help build confidence with story massage, some of the stories 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 basic strokes.
Once upon a touch… story massage for children (£4.99) will be published in September 2013 but can be pre-ordered from the website. Details of the FHT accredited training, which comprises a 3 hour workshop based on the e-book, are also on the website. (www.storymassage.co.uk)

Story Massage in Japan – Update

The Story Massage project is a natural development from Mary and Sandra’s work with the Japanese charity, Cocoro, using story massage for the children who have been so badly affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami.
You may remember reading in a previous newsletter that in April 2012, Mary visited Rikuzentakata with Takiko Ando, MISP Instructor and founder of Cocoro Charity, to introduce a story massage into nurseries and kindergartens. The Smiling Flowers story massage, based on the healing power of nature, was so popular and beneficial that the teachers and children began asking for more story massages on different topics.
Whilst writing another story massage for Cocoro charity, Mary and Sandra recognized the need for an e-book of simple story massages to be used at home, in school and within the wider community – all over the world.
The latest story massage written especially for the kindergartens is called Gull Meets His Friends and holds the message that people from all over the world are still thinking about the victims of the tsunami. Alice Clark, a talented student from Brighton who has warm memories of being taught the MISP routine by Sandra, illustrated the story massage with bright and colourful drawings. The illustrated story was then translated into Japanese and made into laminated A4 story books to be presented to each of the six kindergartens.
It was wonderful to have news that MISP trainer, Tomoyo Nozaki, had joined Takiko Ando to introduce the massage story to children and teachers in June 2013. “The new story was very, very popular,” says Takiko, “As soon as we had finished doing it, they wanted to do it all over again!”
Two years after the disaster, the situation in Rikuzentakata remains very depressing and people are struggling to cope with so much loss. However, Tomoyo and Takiko said that the local people were really moved to know that they were still remembered by friends in the UK. The smiles on the faces of the children and teachers whilst doing the story massage shows the far reaching benefits and amazing power of positive, nurturing touch for children.
For more information about Cocoro’s work with story massage please visit our website www.storymassage.co.uk or http://tinyurl.com/CocoroUK
By Mary Atkinson, MISP Instructor
COMING SOON – MISP Promotional film!

Apr 2012

news_ewni_japanWelcome to the spring newsletter, we have some exciting and inspiring developments to share with you.  A year on from the devastating tsunami in Japan, Mary Atkinson writes to tell us about a fantastic project she is involved with, in the heart of the affected community.  It is so inspiring to hear how compassionately and creatively peer massage will be used and the difference it will make.
Carol Trower, MISA’s development coordinator, has had a busy start to the year.  Read on for her updates and report.
You will also find out about conferences, evaluation training, and the members’ survey and hear fabulous feedback from MISA’s instructors.
The directors and Sarah (in the office) have continued to Skype regularly; the AGM & conference are planned so make sure you book your place soon.  We have designed a new MISP flyer to help promote the MISP.  If you have a little time to spare why not consider joining us as a MISA volunteer?
We send a big ‘thank you’ to all our members for their continued commitment to improving the well-being of children. We know what a huge difference safe nurturing touch makes when we instruct children in the MISP.  We make a difference.  Read on and enjoy!

MISP Helping Tsunami Victims in Japan

Two Massage in Schools Instructors, Takiko Ando and Mary Atkinson, are travelling to Rituzentakata, Japan, in April 2012 to teach peer massage to children who have been so badly affected by last year’s Tsunami.
Takiko, a Japanese aroma therapist and founder of Cocoro (a charity that provides aromatherapy for people in the disaster area of Japan) met Mary when she was giving a talk on ‘Positive Touch for Children’ at Camexpo in October 2011. Takiko and Mary have now forged a strong bond with a shared passion for teaching peer massage to children and they are looking forward to working together on this important project.
The Japanese people are conditioned by their culture not to burden others with their suffering and find it hard to express their emotions. However, with calming massage, Takiko has found that adults begin to talk more openly about their grief and trauma, and say they sleep better and feel new hope for the future.
A year after the disaster, many children are suffering post traumatic stress with recurring nightmares, depression and high anxiety levels, so Takiko and Mary are concentrating their efforts on these vulnerable children. They will be visiting a number of kindergartens in the tsunami-destroyed area and sharing a simple story massage which they have written with the help of Sandra Hooper, Carol Trower and Anne Crease. The story has now been translated into Japanese and the plan is to create story books so that the children and teachers can continue to use the massage moves over the coming months and years.
Mary has been fund-raising for the project which has involved giving many talks and holding a Japanese evening.  She has been delighted by the support and interest generated not only in the forthcoming trip but also in the Massage in Schools Programme.
You can read more about the initiative by using the links below:
Takiko’s Blog: http://cocorojapan.blog105.fc2.com/
Mary’s website: http://www.maryatkinson.com/healing-touch-for-tsunami-children/
I will also be writing a follow up article for the Summer Newsletter upon my return.
Mary Atkinson, MISP Instructor and Information, Marketing and Promotion Committee member.

MISA Conference & AGM 2012 in Croydon, London

MISA’s 9th AGM will be held this year on the night before the conference allowing extra time on the conference day itself for speakers and forums. The AGM and a social get together (meal) will be held on Friday 25th May from 6pm, followed on Saturday 26th May with the member’s forum and Conference (9am – 4pm). The cost for this is only £35 for members and £45 for non-members, from 1pm onwards. If you are interested in attending please email admin@misa.org.uk to book your place.
MISA Directors 2011-2012
Development Coordinator –Development Job 3 Update
Like our administrator Sarah and chair Anne, much work goes on the background that is unseen.
The work thus far includes putting together two surveys.   One is for our members where we ask for views on MISA/MISP development. This is vitally important as we engage with social media and support our members with new technologies in the continuing development of the MISP.  If you work in a school, we know MISP is only a tiny fraction of your face to face work with children but your support feedback is very important as we build the bigger picture within England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Do fill in the questionnaire it will only take 5-10 minutes and the results will be invaluable.
The other survey is a general survey to our associates to try and gauge how many schools are using MISP and over what period of time.  This is the question that comes up, time and time again, from journalists and other media researchers and our instructors on every training course. For the benefit of all our children I do hope these questionnaires will provide us with some relevant data.
On talking to many commissioners of school services around the country it has become clear that proof of continuing professional development is now vital and one reason that the directors have taken the decision that all instructors trained from September 2012 must maintain their membership to continue to provide MISP.
We are pleased to say all MISP official research has now been put into one document that we hope you will find very useful in your MISP work.  This will be available in the Research section of the public website www.misa.org.uk
We have also been busy writing funding bids to expand the work of MISP and are awaiting the results of two bids with others in the pipeline.  If you would like to put a joint bid in with MISA, send the office an email.  Joint working and partnership strengthens the chance of bids being accepted, expanding the benefits of this wonderful programme to more children.
On March 21st there was a twilight session in Leicestershire organised by two MISP instructors with the aim of expanding the programme into more schools.  I attended to give an overview of the National picture. It is hoped more joint working around the various local authorities and regions will be possible in the months to come.
I continue to represent MISA at the Anti-bullying Alliance, although meetings are less frequent due to the reduced funding from central government.  Please remember to mark anti bullying week in November in your diary.

I look forward to receiving any contacts or ideas in developing MISP into more schools.
Carol Trower Development Officer & MISP Trainer

News Update from the MISA Support Committee

News from the support committee:- Kate Norfolk, MISP Instructor and EWNI’s most newly qualified MISP trainer attended a national voluntary sector conference in Manchester with Children England. Many of the biggest and busiest third sector organizations who support children and young people were present, as was the minister for children and families! Hopefully some useful connections were made.  There were some really interesting workshops such as how to engage schools, neglect-current research, how it affects service delivery and peer review for organisational development.  I will be providing information and feedback via our website when all the notes are together.
Evaluation tools…We have been looking at ‘the outcomes star’ (www.outcomesstar.org.uk) as a useful evaluation tool and will be attending some training in using this with children and families. Again, feedback will be made via the website.  Have a look online and let us know what you think.
Getting creative in the classroom…As we move into the lighter days of early spring, we invite you to make the most of the wonderful natural changes happening in the outdoors and perhaps use the theme of ’growth and change’ in class massage sessions. This is a real opportunity to tap into children’s creativity and let them take the lead in developing a spring massage!
We would love to hear from you if you have been using touch in the curriculum. Please share your successes and ideas so we can continue to grow and inspire more teachers to use touch with their children.
Kate Norfolk, MISP Trainer & Support Committee Chair

We also have new positive touch activities (courtesy of Michelle Curtis) available for members to download including a ‘Gruffalo Massage’ and ‘Fire of London Massage’ – Login and go to ‘Resources’ & ‘Positive touch activities’.

Fabulous Feedback! Quote Corner

I just wanted to say what fabulous energising training I experienced provided by Kate Pigeon-Owen in Daventry this week. I’m really looking forward to taking this forward.  Thanks Kate
Veronica, Specialist Senior Educational Psychologist Early Years (Jan 2012)

Wonderful two days!  This course will impact not only on my professional life but family too.  We seem a long way off getting the balance right for children (academic achievement/emotional security) but this course is a huge step in the right direction.  Many thanks.
New instructor, Exeter

I just want to share with you some of the lovely quotes my scrummy Massage in Schools class had to say about the 6 sessions I have spent with them.  They are 6 and 7 year olds, with many having English as a second language.  For the last session they sat and showed me the routine all the way through, that they had practiced with their teacher over the 6 weeks.  I felt very much the proud mummy watching her baby take its first steps.  If I could have bottled their concentration I would have!!! I’m looking forward to re-visiting them in the future.
Sonia, Assistant Healthy Schools Programme Manager

Children’s quotes:

“It was really fun and relaxing and I enjoyed it a lot” “I enjoyed it because it was a little bit tickly!” “Before we started I was very excited because I wanted to know what it felt like, I had never had a massage before!” “I did the whole massage for my Nan and she didn’t want it to end!” “Thank you for teaching us the bear walk – that was my favourite part” “I loved doing those massages. I couldn’t do the scooping one but you kept teaching me and then I could do it at the end!” “I did the hearts massage on my baby sister, very gently, and she fell asleep!” “It makes us all nice and calm” “My favourite was the ice skating” “My mum liked the butterfly massage the best”


You may be aware that MISA received some media attention earlier in the year, when a small number of parents from a school in Sheffield raised concerns about the programme and the issue of consent. Our development coordinator Carol Trower responded strongly on Jeremy Vine’s radio 2 programme, helping to set the record straight.
We also followed an online debate via www.netmums.co.uk  Interestingly the majority of mums thought the programme a great idea and the initial negative attention generated interesting and positive discussion regarding touch in education – with some parents stating they would be asking their local schools to bring the MISP!
It is also useful for us to be reminded of the importance of consent from parents so that we are all providing quality assurance in the delivery of our brilliant programme.

Find an Instructor

Most MISP instructors are already working with children in schools and other situations but a number of our members are independent and able to work in a variety of settings.
There is a search facility for school staff or health professionals looking for someone to deliver a workshop or introduce the Massage in Schools Programme (MISP) to children.
Maybe you are looking for some workshops for your Healthy Living Week, Happy Hearts Week or other event.  Perhaps you would like someone to introduce the Massage in Schools Programme to the children in your school, after school club or youth group.
Members of the public can search for MISP Instructors by region and local education authority (LEA).  MISP Instructors that can work independently will be listed by name, telephone number and with an email contact facility.  If there are no names shown, then adjoining LEAs can be checked to see if there are members there that can assist.
MISP Instructors can ensure that they can be contacted for work by going to the members’ website and selecting ‘MY MISA’ & ‘Public contact’.  Check the box and give the telephone number you wish to use.
Please contact admin@misa.org.uk for further advice if needed.
Can you help?

Hello my name is Lee Stang and I am a Massage Therapist in Connecticut in the USA. I will be working as part of the London Sports Massage Team, volunteering at both the Olympics and Paralympics. I am a member of the American Massage Therapy Association here in the States. I am looking to see if anyone in your organization might be interested in hosting a few Massage Therapists during the summer games. As you may know these positions are all voluntary and three of us from CT are in search for either a host family or some reasonable hosting. If you can be of assistance I would greatly appreciate it. To learn more about me you can go to www.bridgestohealth.net. Thank you for your time, respectfully, Lee Stang. Please contact Lee directly of you can assist – lstangbth@aol.com.

Oct 2011

ewni_2011_news01Early autumn is an exciting time for all children. They are entering a New Year group, meeting new teachers and perhaps making new friends.  We have included in this newsletter some ideas to ensure that the children you work with have a good start to the new academic year. Try creating class friendship massage circles.

  1. What are the qualities we look for in our friends and how can we turn each quality into a massage/touch movement?
  2. How can each of us support ourselves to achieve success at the start of a new term? Consider aspects like getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, exercising, trying hard and represent them as massage/touch movements?
  3. Set Halloween and bonfire night competitions, which classes or small groups can begin thinking about and working on.
  4. Many schools are now working within the framework of creative curriculum. Find out what’s coming up as a topic and link in with massage.

November 20th is the United Nations International Childrens’ day. Use this as a focus for encouraging global perspectives and promoting the rights of children all over the world.      www.internationalchildrensday

If you are looking for a way into a new school or wish to re-energise your massage in schools work for the new academic year, consider setting up a family after-school club. Parents also aim to start the new school year with as much support as possible for their children and will be open to trying out family massage sessions!! Good luck.

Mary Atkinson  Keynote Speaker at Camexpo 2011


As a member of MISA’s Implementation and Marketing Committee, Mary Atkinson is always keen to find ways of promoting the benefits of the Massage in Schools Programme.  In the first photograph are Carol Trower, MISA Development Coordinator and Sandra Hooper, MISP Trainer, with Mary in the red jacket.
Last year Mary was presented with the Camexpo (The Complementary, Natural & Integrated Health Care Show) Award for Outstanding Achievement 2010 for her work in complementary therapy. This year, Mary has been invited to give a keynote speech at the exhibition on Sunday 23rd October 2011 from 12.45 to 13.30.
Her subject, naturally, is Positive Touch for Children.

“Life can be challenging for children growing up with the demands of the 21st Century,” says Mary in her ‘blurb’ for the programme, “Research has shown that touch therapies can help young people cope better with anxiety and stress.  This lively, interactive session will share some simple techniques and suggestions that have been ‘tried and tested’ by therapists, parents and, of course, children at home and in the classroom.”
Mary is planning to include the work of MISA and share some of the valuable research carried out by Jane McLennan and Donna Davis which was presented at the AGM in June.  You can see Jane’s research findings by clicking on the Research option on the MISA website.

So if you are planning to go to Camexpo this year, then Mary would really welcome your support at the event. You can find out more details on the Camexpo website www.camexpo.co.uk or contact Mary through admin@misa.org.uk

Save the date! MISA Conference & AGM 2012 in Croydon, London

MISA is trialing a new formula for 2012. Our conference and AGM will be in Croydon, where the MISA head office is based. The directors are looking at ways to ensure another successful event, with the option of having the AGM and a social get together on Friday 25th May from 6pm, followed on Saturday 26th May with the member’s forum and educational day. Space will be limited, so if you are planning to attend please email admin@misa.org.uk to reserve a place.
MISA Directors 2011-2012


MISP’s tenth anniversary

The first Massage in Schools Programme (MISP) instructor’s training course was held in London in December 2000. That makes MISP ten years old. Happy Birthday MISP!
Above are photographs taken at this year’s conference showing Sylvie Hétu, co-founder of the MISP, the birthday cake, and Sarah, MISA’s able administrator.
As a thank you to ALL we have introduced a special 10th anniversary MISA membership renewal offer. If your MISA membership expired over a year ago and you would like to renew, you will be entitled to a special half price membership renewal rate of only £12:50 (valid for renewal during 2011). Please email admin@misa.org.uk to arrange and send your cheques payable to ‘MISA’ to: MISA (EWNI) CIC, Acorn House, 74-94 Cherry Orchard Road, Croydon, CR0 6BA.

Fabulous Feedback! Quote corner

Just to reassure you that Massage in Schools is now well established within Cotwall End Primary School with ALL children from Reception through to Year 6 involved in the programme.  This year we have all members of staff, parents and governors on board.  Interestingly, and I feel well worth mentioning, is the response that we have had from parents of children newly joining the school.  As MISP is now an everyday part of school, they have all just signed for their children to take part as a matter of course when completing registration paperwork.  It is amazing how, once you have everyone behind the programme, the concerns which were originally raised are simply wiped away!  What a difference the programme makes and how much calmer the children appear.  As one of our children said, “I feel relaxed but at the same time ready to work!”   Keep up the good work and we’ll keep spreading the word.   Sue Sullivan Deputy Head/SENCO

Find an Instructor

Most MISP instructors are already working with children in schools and other situations but a number of our members are independent and able to work in a variety of settings.
MISA has introduced a new facility on the public area of its website.  This is for members of school staff or health professionals looking for someone to deliver a workshop or introduce the Massage in Schools Programme (MISP) to children.
Maybe you are looking for some workshops for your Healthy Living Week, Happy Hearts Week or other event.  Perhaps you would like someone to introduce the Massage in Schools Programme to the children in your school, after school club or youth group.
Members of the public can search for MISP Instructors by region and local education authority (LEA).  MISP Instructors that can work independently will be listed by name, telephone number and with an email contact facility.  If there are no names shown, then adjoining LEAs can be checked to see if there are members there that can assist.

MISP Instructors can ensure that they can be contacted for work by going to the members’ website and selecting MY MISA / Public contact.  Check the box and give the telephone number you wish to use.
Please contact admin@misa.org.uk for further advice if needed.


Get ready for Anti-bullying Week, 14 – 18 November 2011

This year’s Anti-Bullying Week slogan ‘Stop and think – words can hurt’ challenges children, young people and adults to stop and think about the language they are using in their face-to-face and digital communications.
Since Anti-bullying week was first launched by the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) in 2005, Anti-Bullying Week has gone from strength to strength thanks to the enthusiasm and support of children and practitioners across the country. The annual campaign – promoted by ABA and its member organisations – is an opportunity for us to stand together and say loud and clear that all forms of bullying are unacceptable.
MISA and its members have always been proactive in the support of antibullying week and have used the opportunity the week brings to promote the MISP and all its benefits.
Over the years we have produced a “hand massage rap” and specific massage routines linked to the anti-bullying themes.  Through the idea initiated by Cornwall’s members, MISA has encouraged our members to organise whole school or cluster of schools massage circles.  For several years pupils from all over Cornwall have gathered together at the Eden Project to form a large massage circle, often joined by Pudsey, as Children in Need usually coincides with ABA week.  So the idea can also raise money for Children in Need, this year on November 18th or indeed for ABA, for since 2010, the ABA has had to raise its own funds to ensure this key initiative in the ABA calendar continues.

This year’s ABA theme is focused on tackling verbal bullying, the most common form of bullying. One of the aims of the week is to encourage children and young people to make a conscious effort to speak positively and to compliment others.  What an opportunity this presents for MISA members to make a difference in their schools and communities. For MISP instructors who are still planning their first class/school, this is a ready-made marketing opportunity.

The sections below offer information and resources
LOGO – Include the ABA Anti-Bullying Week Logo on your own materials will show your support and commitment to the national campaign.
2011 BRIEFING PACK NOW AVAILABLE!  ABA’s Anti-Bullying Week Briefing Pack reflecting this year’s theme can be downloaded free of charge. It includes easy to use information and practical resources for school leaders and teachers, school governors, FE colleges and youth workers. It also contains advice for parents and carers and a cut –out –and keep top tips z-fold for children and young people.
Merchandise from the ABA shop Anti-Bullying Week merchandise is also available from the ABA Shop including stickers, posters and pencils and a special offer pack for primary schools.
For details and resources please visit: www.antibullyingalliance.org.uk
Carol Trower, MISA’s ABA representative

Evaluation experts…..

The support Committee is currently looking at ways of developing evaluation tools and techniques, which would enable standardisation of the evidence of the effectiveness of MISP. If anyone has any suggestions regarding successful evaluation techniques we would love to hear from you.  Please email admin@misa.org.uk
Request for Information
For all those working in schools, the education chair would appreciate information on policies relating to the use of the MISP in school. Please forward any information to the MISA Education committee via admin@misa.org.uk
MISA website
The MISA website is being reviewed and the Information, Marketing and Promotion committee (IMP) would like to ask if there is anything that our members would like to see on the website either on the public side of the website or in the member’s section. If you have any suggestions please contact admin@misa.org.uk
Money is available for community projects via the Co-operative Society website. http://www.co-operative.coop/membership/localcommunities/community-fund/  There is an online application process.
‘UnLtd’ is an organization that offers support and opportunities for individual ‘social entrepreneurs’ to make a difference to their local communities.  MISP instructors and trainers would be able to apply for these awards (2 levels) individually so they can make a difference in their local community/area.  For further details, please visit  www.unltd.org.uk/index.php
To take the eligibility test follow this link www.unltd.org.uk/template.php?ID=77&PageName=level1_quiz

Question – What do these countries or regions have in common?
Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada (British Columbia), Canada (Ontario), Canada (Québec), Cyprus, England, Wales and N. Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA, Venezuela.
Answer – They all have fledgling or established branches of Massage in Schools Association (MISA).  Look how far the MISP has spread in just ten years!
MISP’s has had an article written about it in the Daily Mail and a subsequent article in the London Metro (free newspaper). To read the daily Mail article please follow this link: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2044403/Primary-school-pupils-youngtaught-head-massages-calm.html
Following on from this publicity the school & MISP featured on the Channel 5 News on Thursday 6th October.