Lusk massage instructor wins Best Practice Award

by Rose Barrett
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By Rose Barrett

Melanie Murphy, a Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI) was chuffed recently when she was informed, she’d won a Best Practice Award from The Story Massage Programme.

The mum of two who lives in Lusk, has worked for the past 14 years with ‘Preparing for Life’, a programme based in Darndale under Northside Partnership.

“For the past seven years, I have delivered infant massage courses for parents and babies up to 11 months of age.   I was looking for something to continue on as the baby grows into infancy.

“I researched and came across The Story Massage Programme which was founded by Mary Atkinson and Sandra Hooper from the UK in 2012. They volunteered with families impacted by the tsunami disaster back in 2011 – their one-off massage programme entitled “Story Massage Smiling Flowers” had such a positive impact on the tsunami survivors.

“Owing to popular demand, the 10 easy to follow stroke programme was born.

“Five years ago, I discovered the book “Once Upon a Touch” and then I trained for the programme in 2018. I became a qualified instructor and introduced it to parents and babies, while keeping in touch with the founders and other instructors.

“Mary Atkinson approached me to submit an application for the awards and then, they confirmed that I was an award winner and would be receiving my certificate! said an excited Melanie. “I’m chuffed!”

Melanie stated the technique offers a fun, inclusive way of combining story, song and rhyme with the benefits of positive touch and is open to all ages and ability.

“During Covid, I gave 30-minute sessions about once a fortnight via Zoom, to an average of four to ten families, and I’m looking forward to running more during the summer months. It is so stimulating but calming and is so good for infant mental health.

“It’s all about the little interactions between parent and child, those little magic moments shared and I often tie the massage story to a special occasion, a birthday, back to school, etc.”

She has found the “drum” and the “squeeze” strokes particularly useful to sleep deprived parents as it helps to release tension built up in aching muscles as they adjust to caring for a new-born.

Melanie added: “Einstein said, if you want your children to be intelligent/smart – read them fairy stories, and if you want them to be smarter, read them more stories!

“A particular highlight for me was when I featured the “Gingerbread Man” at a Zoom workshop recently,” said Melanie.

“One of the three-year-old participants read out the story while we practised the routine as she had read the story the day before. It was heart-warming to see her and her sister enjoying the self-hand massages to “I am special” and “Round and Round the Garden”. They were having fun while developing language, literacy and communication skills.”

Melanie works 21 hours from Monday – Thursday at Preparing for Life Northside Partnership based in Darndale.  See on FB or

Contact Melanie at 087 290 8386 or 01 877 1509, email: [email protected]

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