The Massage in Schools Programme (MISP) offers a new solution to the unsettling problem of classroom bullying. It aims to increase respect and tolerance in schools by teaching children empathy through peer massage. While the program is now in its tenth year and quite well- established in the United Kingdom and Australia, it is just beginning to gain attention in Canada. For the first time in BC there will be an MISP instructor’s training course on January 29th-30th 2011.
The foundation of the Massage in Schools Programme is quite simple. A qualified instructor leads the children in a seated chair massage with a partner. Massage is done on the head and over the clothes on the back, shoulders and arms. It follows an 8 minute routine, with children exchanging roles so that they all experience massaging and being massaged. The reported positive affect from these short sessions is astonishing.
Teachers who are using the program in their classrooms report a quieter and calmer atmosphere where children are more respectful. The MISP has also been observed to help children with confidence and aggression issues. Parents claim that children involved in the MISP at school fight less with their siblings at home.
One reason that the MISP works may be because of the hormone oxytocin which is released into the blood stream during massage in both the giver and receiver. Oxytocin is one of the hormones in humans responsible for feelings of calm and wellbeing and is also linked to social bonding. At a biochemical level, peer massage helps children to relax and get along, even if they don’t realize it.
The two-day training workshop is ideal for teachers, early childhood educators, school nurses, massage therapists, infant massage instructors, parents and anyone else who works with children. If you would like to learn more about how to bring this powerful anti-bullying tool into your community please visit www.jennjohnsonrmt.com/classes-and-workshops or go to The Massage in Schools Programme website at www.massageinschools.com.