What is it?

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.


The Massage In Schools Program (MISP) was officially founded in the year 2000 by Mia Elmsater from Sweden and Sylvie Hétu from Canada. Both believe in the contagious effect of a credible, well-structured yet simple program. 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 program 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 program. Their ultimate vision is that there will be thousands of MISP instructors and hundreds of MISP Trainers, all teaching the program, all sharing their dedication with love so that the nurturing touch will become a way of life for children in all schools, world-wide. 

The programme

The MISP is a simple yet well-structured program that is based on an ethos of respect.  The child-to-child massage program has been developed as an inclusive whole school strategy for reducing children’s stress levels, aggression and bullying, and can actually save teachers time as children settle more quickly to their lessons after their massage time.   

The clothed, peer massage is:

  • For children 4-12 years old 
  • Given and received with the child’s permission
  • Given by the children, to each other
  • On the back, head, arms and hands
  • 10-15 minutes daily
  • Introduced into schools by trained instructors
  • A peer massage program (students paired with students)
  • Based on an ethos of respect (for self and others)
  • Child centred (children have he right to say ‘no’ or to ask for changes in pressure)
  • Performed with the child’s permission 
  • An inclusive program
  • Easily implemented in the classroom
  • A way of incorporating all learning styles
  • Appropriate for children 4-12 years of age
  • Easily incorporated into the daily teaching program
  • Applicable across curriculum areas
  • Adaptable for students with special needs
  • Performed on the back, arms and head only (clothed, seated)
  • A proactive model for teaching children to cope
  • FUN!

All children ask permission from each other before they start and say ‘thank you’ to their partner at the end.

The program is an effective tool for improving child mental and emotional health and has had positive benefits for the children participating, such as improved concentration and increased confidence.

Children are empowered to make choices and they develop respect for the needs and feelings of others.

Members of the school community and parents are consulted before implementing the Massage in Schools Program, which links to aspects of the school curriculum.

Positive touch activities also provide teachers with a tool that enhances their ability to cater for all teaching and learning styles.

Please note that the Massage in Schools Program is covered by international copyright and may only be introduced to children and family groups by a qualified MISP Instructor.


Founded in August 2003, the Massage in Schools Association England Wales and Northern Ireland (MISA EWNI) is a national not-for-profit voluntary organisation, we became a Community Interest Company (CIC) in 2009. Our purpose is to support our membership of Massage in Schools Programme Instructors and promote the Massage in Schools Programme (MISP).

Our goal:

Our goal is to develop a committed, enthusiastic organisation that will work with integrity to support the membership to empower every child through the Massage in Schools Programme.

Our vision

Our vision is that every child attending school experiences positive and nurturing touch every day, everywhere in the world.

Our members are Instructors with the Massage in Schools Programme (MISP). They include teachers, head teachers, teaching assistants, learning mentors, health visitors, school nurses, school governors, parents, complementary therapists, counsellors, educational psychologists, childcare workers from Sure Start, Barnardo’s, National Pyramid Trust and others!

hands_cat_grip_colOur membership services include access to the Member’s section of this website, where Instructors can obtain resources to support their activities and share best practice. We host annual conferences and other opportunities for gaining CPD points as well as networking events, which are held throughout the year. More information can be found in the section; Membership Benefits.
We operate to an agreed set of policies and procedures. We also play an important role in raising awareness of the Massage in Schools Programme throughout the world as part of MISA International.

The Massage in Schools Association is a member of the Anti-bullying Alliance (funded by the DCFS) and Emotional Health Alliance.

If you are a member of MISA, we are always looking for new members to join the committee, so whether you’re a good organiser, can write with flair or you’re just keen to help out, get in touch with us today to discover how your skills can benefit the Association. Use this link to register your interest.


Children are more caring to each other, especially those who have not shown this side of their nature.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email