School massages for Sussex children

By Fraser Ward

The Massage in Schools Association – it exists and it could be coming to a school near you.


Photo used under creative commons by Nick Webb

The modern curriculum encourages the children of today to be more proactive but some schools might take a more relaxed approach to improve their education.

Youngsters at Thomas A Becket Middle School in Worthing are being offered up to 45 minutes of relaxing massage time a week.

A teacher at the school said: “It’s hoped this will calm them down and make them more confident.”

The Massage in Schools Programme (MISP) is an international scheme that says “human beings need touch for their healthy development”.

It claims that although massage is as old as mankind itself and is common in many cultures, only recently has science been able to explain its benefits.

The MISP website says: “Studies have shown that when children give massages to each other they become calmer, concentrate better and have more confidence.

“They learn to respect themselves and other children.”

Each child gives permission for a massage to take place and if children do not want to give or receive a massage they sit and watch.

In a letter to parents at the Worthing school, it said they could come and watch a DVD explaining the virtues of offering massages to children.

The letter said: “Children wear their normal school clothes and give massages to each other on the back, head and arms.

“They take part in ten to fifteen minutes massage two to three times a week.”

The intentions sound harmless and according to the MISP the suitable ages for massage breaks are 4-12 year old.

Worthing Borough Council member Ann Barlow, for the Gaisford ward, said: “I’ve never heard of the project. But anything that helps children to relax is good.

“I don’t have any issue with it, it’s better than them sitting watching TV.”

But how long would it be until half the class just wants to massage the same person, while poor old ‘smelly Dave’ is left in the corner like the one who gets picked last in P.E?

Is that unfair? After all, you shouldn’t knock something until you’ve tried it (or in this case, until your children have).

Perhaps teachers will have to hold an initial trial period in the staff room first.


One thought on “School massages for Sussex children

  1. Unfortunately the photograph above does not depict the correct setting for MISP. Children are clothed as they would be at school. Further information can be found at
    No child would be left by themselves, the program is such that each child teams up with a friend, someone they are comfortable with (their ‘massage buddy’). Children also have the option of not participating but most of the time see the positive outcomes and change their minds.
    Parents are informed about the program before the Massage in Schools Instructor commences the program in the classroom.
    MISP is an international program that has had many positive responses worldwide. Relaxation is just one of many benefits.

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