What is MISA?
MISA stands for the Massage in Schools Association. This association was set up to support instructors trained in the Massage in Schools Programme.
MISA Branches from around the world are linked to this website and in countries where the isn’t an established branch, there may well be trained MISP Instructors, so do get in touch.
MISA International is the umbrella organization that aims to support the international network of Branches and our Team of MISP Trainers.
What is MISP?
MISP is a world acclaimed MISP stands for the Massage in Schools Programme, which is a peer massage programme for children aged between 4-12 years old. A qualified MISP instructor implements the programme in primary schools, and other child-based settings, teaching the children a formal 15-stroke, imagery based massage routine, as well fun and creative massage activities and games.
Does the programme involve adults touching the children?
No. This is a child to child massage programme which means that children are only paired with other children. Instructors make this very clear from the start and teachers are informed of this regulation. The only exception is if a child has additional needs and requires an adult to assist. In this case, permission is always obtained from the parents/carers.
Why Massage in Schools?
More and more research studies point to the importance and necessity of nurturing touch in infancy and child development. Our society often ignores this vital importance, however, and too many children grow up without experiencing this regular, positive touch. The programme is not aimed as a therapy, but as a way of encouraging children to have positive social contact in a simple and creative way.
Can it be implemented outside of schools?
Yes, although it is called Massage in Schools, the programme can be implemented, and fits very well into many other settings. Examples include after-school clubs, holiday camps, Girl Guides and Scouts, family support groups, daycare centres, children’s homes, family fund days and much more.
There are also other mini courses that Instructors can implemented in their communities, e.g. touch and movement.
Can younger children also take part?
The programme has been adapted for 2-4 year olds and is called ‘Mini MISP’. This has been carefully tailored to the abilities of this age group.
There is also a Touch and Movement Programme currently being launched for younger children.
How does this programme fit into the school curriculum?
Aside from helping to create a calm classroom, the MISP can be used as a learning tool, complementing other learning activities. Your MISP instructor will have been trained on how to incorporate massage activities into school subjects, helping pupils with memory, creativity, and teamwork. Think, building pyramids on a partner’s back when studying the Egyptians, or making math sums by drawing the numbers on each other and guessing the answers, or a picture in the style of Monet. The possibilities are endless!
What changes will I notice in the school?
When practiced regularly, teachers and pupils have noticed many positive changes to the school environment. These include a calmer and more focused classroom, improvement in social interaction between pupils, levels of empathy and respect, and the ability to stay focused on task and carry out work efficiently. Please visit our research section for more information.
What happens in a typical session of massage in schools?
The children work in pairs and always ask each other’s permission before starting the routine. They carry out a sequence of imagery-based moves on the back, head, neck, arms and hands whilst fully clothed in the classroom environment for 10-15 minutes a day. In addition to the formal strokes, teachers can choose to use creative touch activities and or massage stories too.
What does the programme cost?
The price differs depending on the country, location and whether the instructor has other funding available.
Please get in touch with the Association to find an instructor and discuss prices or to introduce the programme into your country.
How can I get the programme into my school?
There are three options.
- The first is to contact the local Branch Association to find an instructor near you. He/she will then implement the programme for a 5-8 week period, depending on your school’s schedule. This can also include follow-up sessions.
- The second option is to send one or more of your teachers on a 2 day training course. To find a course near you please visit out Training page.
- The third option is to organize an in-house training for the whole school, depending on the availability of Trainers in your country. Taster sessions can also be arranged.
Once trained these teachers will be able to teach the programme to the pupils, but will not be able to teach other teachers.
Who can become an MISP instructor?
The course is open to anyone willing to work, or already working with children. As the programme is not intended as a therapy, no massage qualifications are necessary. The programme can be used as a great tool for people who work with children already, be it as a teacher in a primary school, or with a children’s charity. Otherwise, you can market the programme to schools and various other settings, implementing as an independent instructor. The course includes advice on how to go about this.
Cost of trainings differs between countries. To find a course near you check this list
What does the course cover?
The Massage in Schools Instructor Training Course is run over a 2 day period and is a very comprehensive balance of practical tuition and theory and includes:
- The background of the programme and why it works
- The benefits of the MISP for children, teachers, schools, families and society
- How the MISP links to child development
- Current research and how it supports the MISP
- How the MISP activates the brain and nervous system, reducing stress and anxiety in children, making them available for learning
- The MISP massage routine
- Adaptations for special needs, ADHD, autism
- Incorporating touch and movement into the learning of all school subjects
- How to implement the programme in schools as well as community centres for children and their parents
- Safeguarding children, professionalism and ethics
- Mini MISP for 2 and 3 year olds , making it accessible to nurseries, playgroups, toddler groups etc and a follow-on from baby massage for parents
What happens if my child doesn’t want to participate?
No problem. They’re encouraged to watch quietly whilst the MISP takes place, and can join in by carrying out the moves in the air in front of them, drawing pictures of the strokes, or just sitting quietly. Normally after watching the MISP for a few sessions and seeing the other children enjoying it they often decide they would like to try it.
My child has learning disabilities; will they be able to participate?
Generally children with learning difficulties gain enormous benefit from participating. It sometimes takes longer to become comfortable with the process and the routine, but once they have they usually thrive on it.
All children find it very empowering to participate in an activity that is common to all.
My child has physical disabilities; will they be able to participate?
Yes, usually the massage moves can be adapted to suit the individual where there are physical disabilities. Children with disabilities are usually used to finding their own ways of doing things anyway and as long as they are included and acknowledged in the process, they generally love the activitiy.