How it works
A short massage routine for the hand or the back, head and shoulders. The massage helps to build up emotional resilience and ‘feel good’ factor in children. It is for all children and is done fully clothed with the child’s permission. Training is based upon C2C Peer Massage.
The programme itself comprises a series of strokes that are taught through routines. The programme can be introduced through the use of materials, cushions and soft toys for younger pupils or for those pupils who are more touch sensitive than most. The quality of the touch is determined by the receiver; the one who gives the massage must always take notice of the feelings of the receiving partner.
Permission to touch has always to be sought and given before each of the routines. For those children not wishing to take part, their wishes are always respected, and they can simply enjoy quiet time. The ethos of the intervention is to encourage the children to develop ownership of their own bodies, offering opportunities to become empowered to accept or refuse touch, develop social skills, respond appropriately to their partner and engage in joint problem solving. It is a truly inclusive model as all the children can access the work and make a valuable contribution at their own pace.
In a world where touching is often seen as “not something that we do” or only “OK” if it is pushing, shoving and fighting, Peer Massage at home or in the classroom provides a different window on the world of relationships through touch. It is also good fun!
The massage itself produces a physical response which promotes a natural stimulation to the immune system and promotes relaxation and a reduction in anxiety. It allows children to develop the cognition between intellectual and emotional experience and to develop clear links between thoughts, feelings and actions. The approach is therefore integral to the SEALS curriculum.
Many schools are adopting peer massage as a whole school response to Every Child Matters agenda, Personal Social Health Education and Citizenship, for the Emotional Health and Wellbeing of children. Peer Massage also fits very well into a Rights Respecting School Award framework – for Health and Safety, Dignity and Respect, Fair Treatment. It is a practical expression of the school ethos in many schools, bringing together nurturing and respectful practices. Research has shown it also supports Working and Learning as children can, after massage, have improved concentration of up to thirty minutes.
It is suitable for all children and helps to teach the importance of looking after ones-self and others. Peer Massage can be done as part of a circle time, after lunch or as a five-minute session in the morning or just before bed.