Beginnings in UK
The Massage In Schools programme (MISP) was officially founded in the year 2000 by Mia Elmsater from Sweden and Sylvie Hetu from Canada. Both believe in the contagious effect of a credible, well-structured yet simple programme. It is with this spirit that they combined their experiences to create MISP.
They also believe in the principle that a shared common core curriculum as a solid base is necessary for a programme to be successful. This solid base can also serve as a tool to help credibility and professionalism to become an integral part of the ethos of the programme.
Their ultimate vision is that there will be thousands of MISP instructors and hundreds of MISP Trainers, all teaching the programme, all sharing their dedication with love so that the nurturing touch will become a way of life for children in all schools, world-wide.
Using massage in schools is quite a new concept in modern day society. Although massage, in some native and traditional cultures, is as old as mankind itself. It is only in the past century that science has been able to explain the benefits of massage. When the profession of massage therapists became recognised in modern society, studies regarding massage began to emerge everywhere. The studies give credibility to the practice of massage itself as a tool for health, Stress management and well being.
There are many schools of thought and many forms of massage. Massage Therapy Schools offer a wide variety of different types of massage courses. Some massage therapists have developed approaches directed to specific populations and age groups. Infant massage is now well recognised throughout the world mainly because of the work of the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM). IAIM was founded by Vimala McClure, who became inspired by the massage she observed while working in an orphanage in India. Subsequently, she created a routine of massage strokes for parents that consisted of Indian massage, Swedish massage, reflexology and gentle movements derived from yoga. Other approaches to baby massage brought into modern culture have also been mostly inspired by massage in traditional culture.
Massage and Children
Massage therapists have also developed massage approaches for individuals with special needs, young children in pre-school, and elderly people living in nursing homes. It is only recently that massage was introduced in schools. It has been done at local levels by individuals searching for ways to help the well-being of children at schools.
Various authors have written books on massage for children. Some of these approaches were for therapeutic reasons and some were developed for massaging children in hospitals. Others were developed for the nurturing touch and the enjoyment of massage, and many times the parents were included.
The idea of children massaging each other (peer massage) was slowly brought to consciousness by individuals who saw that there are amazing ways of improving relationships and social skills among children by using a nurturing touch approach.