Melanie Murphy, Infant Massage Instructor with Preparing for Life, has won a Best Practice Award from The Story Massage Programme.
The Story Massage Programme offers a fun and fully inclusive way of combining the creativity of story, song and rhyme with the benefits of positive touch. Everyone can join in, whatever age or ability. It is enjoyed by children and adults of all ages and abilities in a wide variety of settings.
The workshops Melanie delivers give parents/guardians ideas on how to incorporate the “Story Massages” into bedtime routines or explain concepts to children. She has used the “Everybody Worries” book by Jon Burgerman as a story massage to explain about the coronavirus.
During week four and five of the face to face infant massage groups, the parents pair up and Melanie introduces them to Story Massage routines. (This is separate to the routine that is taught with their babies.)
Once the pandemic struck like everyone else in the world, Melanie had to became familiar with Zoom and started delivering thirty minute “Story Massage” workshops. These were aimed at parents and their children of all ages meaning older siblings could join in if they wished. Initially fortnightly and then intermittently during school holidays and now whenever there is space in her schedule.
Story Massage is easily transferable and can be delivered face to face or online. No preparation or special equipment is required to take part in the workshops and there are short videos available on Preparing for Life's Facebook page for people to view before they attend. https://www.facebook.com/preparingforlifedublin/
Melanie often ties the story massage routines to whatever special occasion is happening at the time e.g. if it is someone’s birthday, Easter, back to school.
She found the “Drum” and the “Squeeze” strokes particularly useful to sleep deprived parents as it helps to release tension build up in aching muscles as they adjust to caring for a newborn.
Since the pandemic, Melanie has introduced some of her groups to the Hand and Self-Story Massage. There are lots of giggles during the class (even if on Zoom!). Sometimes the babies sit on their parents laps while they perform the hand massage, so they are still part of the class. Providing nurturing touch to parents, especially those that are feeling isolated during the pandemic, demonstrates how easily adaptable the programme is.
"A particular highlight for me was when I featured the “Gingerbread Man” at a Zoom workshop," said Melanie. "One of the three year old participants read out the story while we practised the routine. Herself and her mother had read the story the day before and she wanted to share it with us. This little one, along with her six year old sister enjoyed the self hand massages to “I am special” and “Round and Round the Garden”. It was so heartwarming to see firstly the enjoyment on their faces and secondly without them realizing that they were developing their skills in language, literacy and communication. After all we all learn best when we are cool, calm, collected and enjoying ourselves!"
To read more about the awards, visit https://www.storymassage.co.uk/our-best-practice-winners-june-2021/