Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the Massage in Schools Programme (MISP)? »

The MISP is a child-to-child massage program developed in 2000 by Sylvie Hetu and Mia Elmsater. Both women were school teachers and infant massage instructors and were looking for a way to incorporate nurturing touch into a primary school curriculum. The program was first introduced in the UK a decade ago and has now spread to over a dozen countries around the world. Each region sets up its own branch of the Massage in Schools Association, an organization whose aim is to support MISP instructors and educate the public about the program. In January 2011 BC opened the newest MISA branch and we are happy to be supporting 14 MISP instructors in this province.

What does it look like in practice? »

The massage routine is conducted between children working in pairs. The children are seated and no clothing is removed (the exception may be larger jackets or sweaters, but that would be the choice of the child receiving the massage). The MISP instructor leads the children through the routine by demonstrating the strokes, either on the teacher or in the air, at the front of the room. Strokes are performed on the back, shoulders, head and arms. Once learned the routine take approximately 8-10 minutes per child so every child can experience massage in about 20 minutes from start to finish. It may take a little longer in the beginning but once he routine is established it can be implemented quite easily as part of the daily routine.

There are two very important principles that are always adhered to with the MISP:
1. Children only ever perform the massage on each other (i.e. no adult massages the children)
2. Each child is always given a choice to receive massage or not (after parental approval has been given, of course). Before beginning the routine the child giving the massage always asks permission. In this way children learn about boundaries, both their own and those of others.

What are the benefits of massage in schools? »

Studies and observations have indicated that schools adopting the MISP, and children who take part in the MISP, experience a range of positive benefits. For example:

• children become calmer
• concentration is improved
• children become more confident
• it teaches children to respect themselves and others
• it helps children to distinguish between positive and negative touch
• it reduces bullying and aggressive behavior

For Teachers, Principals and day care providers
How can I bring this program into my school, and what is the cost? »

There are two options for principals and/or teachers who would like to implement the MISP in their school/classroom.
1. The first is to bring in a certified MISP instructor who will lead the class or classes in the routine for approximately 3-5 30 minute sessions over a series of weeks or days. Once all of the children are comfortable with the routine the instructor will leave it up to the class to continue implementing the massage as a part of their daily routine. The instructor may come back for follow-up sessions on a monthly basis to do a refresher and make sure that everyone is still comfortable performing the massage. The cost for this is negotiable depending on your budget and will need to be discussed with the MISP instructor.

2. The second option is to take the MISP instructors training and become a certified instructor. The training is an intensive two-day course which teaches the background and philosophy of the program, the physiological and physiological reasons why it works, the MISP routine and how to implement the program. Go here to find out when the next course will be offered in BC. The cost for this course is $320 which includes a comprehensive manual and the two- day training.

About the MISP Training
What is covered on the two-day training course? »

• The background of the program and why it works
• The benefits of the MISP for children, teachers, schools and society
• How the MISP links to child development
• How current research supports the MISP
• How the MISP activates the brain, and nervous system reducing stress and anxiety in children, and making them available for learning
• The MISP massage routine
• The MISP and special needs, ADHD, Autism
• How to incorporate touch and movement into the learning of all school subjects
• How to implement the program in schools as well as community centers for children and their parents

What does the instructor’s certificate allow me to do? »

• You will be able to implement the Massage in Schools Programme into schools and organizations, by teaching the massage routine to the children.
• You will be able to charge schools and organizations for implementation and the certificate gives you a professionally recognized international qualification through which to earn money.

Who can attend the course? »

• Teachers, Teaching Assistants, Principals, School Nurses
• Parents, therapists, child psychologists
• All other professionals working or involved with children

What is included in the price? »

• Two-day course with a good balance of intensive instruction and practical work
• Professional training manual and comprehensive training notes
• Certificate on completion of the course acknowledging qualified Instructor status
• 1-year free membership with the Massage In Schools Association in your province
• Refreshments during the course