I have been enjoying sharing this book with the children I work with.  Once Upon a Touch by Mary Atkinson and Sandra Hooper is a wonderful book to introduce the relaxing power of massage and to teach various massage techniques through the use of story.  For ages 3-11, this book is produced by Singing Dragon (check out their website for many other amazing mind/body resources for children and adults alike:  www.singingdragon.com).

Once Upon a Touch

Some of the benefits that the authors highlight as the result of story massage include:

  • The relaxation of mind and body, easing tension and the cumulative effects of stress
  • The promotion of “feel good” hormones including oxytocin, which help to boost general well-being
  • The opportunity for children to experience dedicated “calming time”
  • Learning the essential life skill conscious relaxation through first-hand experience of the benefits of recharging and refreshing the mind and body

I would add that it makes relaxation practice fun and engaging for both children and adults!!  The kids I work with have loved how we get to tell stories while practicing massage.  In the schools we practice self-massage, but at home, as a parent, you can practice with your child directly.

Each of the 10 massage strokes included in the book is introduced and given a code that is used in the story to determine what stroke corresponds to what part of the story.  As you are telling the story, you get to practice a stroke that “goes with” what you are reading about, (see below)


The stories are engaging too!  From nature walks through winding rivers to meeting animal friends and baking a cake to fantasy stories such as Cinderella, there is a wide variety to meet many different interests.  Also included are songs to sing and nursery rhymes for younger kiddos!


I love this book!  The authors have included ideas for making the story massage times personal for your child and explain how this connection time can work to build trust between you and your child.  Also encouraged is helping your child to create her own stories with massage built in.

Always please be sure to check in with your child as you are trying out the massage techniques to see what she likes and doesn’t like.  We all differ in our preference to touch.  Some children respond to deep pressure and others to light, gentle touch.  For some children touch is not a comfortable or relaxing experience and must be approached with extreme care.  Above all, make relaxation practice a fun engaging experience that results in good feeling and increased wellbeing.

Have fun relaxing!!


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Filed under One Minute Relaxers, Preschool Relaxation Practice, relax where you are, Relaxation for Test Taking, Relaxation Practice, relaxation resources for children, Stress Management, stress management for kids, stress reduction for kids

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