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The oxytocin that good relationships produce is our personal healing nectar.

Kerstin Uvnäs Moberg  The Oxytocin Factor, Taping the Hormone of Calm, Love and Healing

The Massage in Schools Association (MISA) is a not-for-profit organisation, bringing together and supporting Massage in Schools (MISP™) Trainers, Instructors and branches from over 30 countries worldwide.

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We are often asked how MISA/MISP  started and when the different aspects of the association happened. Below is a brief timeline of our global programme and association.

1994 –1998 The co-founders, who were Trainer colleagues with the International Association of Infant Massage, were working in their individual countries with massage and touch and movement in school and day care settings. By 1998, they had developed a pilot-project. They were nervous about the global reactions to massage for children and made strict guidelines about who could give the massage, as well as the respect required to keep the children, instructors, and the programme safe.

1999 In May, Mia was asked to present a talk about Massage in Schools at a conference in London, England. This resulted in requests for Massage in Schools to be brought to the UK, mainly for prevention of bullying. The first “pilot” instructor’s course was in London, 7 months later.


2000 In March it was decided that there would be a “proper training” and not just a pilot project. We worked on a more elaborated instructor manual. After this training, the instructors of the two courses came together and built a committee.


2002 “Growing pains” presented itself to the 2-year-old association. Because of the circumstances combined with our realization that the MISP was becoming international, we created MISA, which would become global with branches in the world. MISA would bring together and support instructors and trainers dedicated to the MISP. Bylaws and global guidelines were established. MISA's very first logo was an "old fashioned" school building with the letters MISP forming the roof. The teacher is leading the children in touch. The logo was sketched by Sylvie on a napkin in a café in Scotland.

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Old logo

2003 In May, the first intensive Training of Trainers was held with 7 instructors from Scotland, England, and Sweden. MISA EWNI (England-Wales-Northern Ireland) and MISA Scotland were created with a small yet dedicated group of instructors and became the first two “MISA Branches”.

2004 MISA became a legal non-profit association with its bylaws with its seat in Montréal, Canada. The first set of Policies and Procedures for global functioning were written.

2005 A new and comprehensive Instructors Manual was written. Ur Publications and Programmes became the legal owner of the MISP and all its published material. All trainings of trainers were now organised under Ur.

2006 The first satellite programme for teaching the MISP to Parents and Children was developed. This gave instructors the possibilities to not only bring this into schools, but also in the children’s homes as well as within community and sport centres.


2007 Branch/Forming Branch contracts were written, linking the countries to the international organization. The Trainers agreements/contracts were introduced for all MISP Trainers. The logo, which was a picture of an “old fashioned schoolhouse” became digital.

2008 Ur developed agreements for the manual and materials to facilitate distribution and protection of our material. Each Branch was encouraged to have their own warehouse to support the members. Ur also encouraged each country to have their own manual distributor with the rights to print the manuals. Requests for translating the manual in various languages emerged.

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Touch In Schools Book Cover

2009 The MISA international website came on-line.

2010 The book: Touch in Schools by Sylvie Hétu and Mia Elmsäter was published by Ur.

2011 After a successful pilot project in Liverpool, England, Mini-MISP, the second satellite programme was developed to implement a shorter version of the MISP with children who are 2-3 years old.

2013 The logo underwent major changes. The present-day logo needed an entirely different look. The MISA logo pictorial element consists of five cut-out figures, which are joined through massaging each other and linked to the MISA acronym: hands-on respect. The four MISA letters are intentionally touching each other by the “M” touching the “I”, which leans into the “S”. A heart is formed with the upper part of the “S” and “A”. This interaction symbolises the mutual nature of the MISA Programme.

2014 Within 12 years of the first course, instructors from 30 countries brought the MISP into their
respective schools/centers/and homes.

2015 The 50th MISP Trainer was trained, helping to meet the need for requests for the MISP to be implemented in new countries. This has made the MISP to quickly become the world's largest international programme bringing massage into schools, before/after school programmes, community centres, etc. The first edition of the MISA Newsletter was published.


2016 Touch & Move to Learn became the 3rd satellite programme and was developed in August. This gave instructors new avenues and fostered the creation of massage stories and movement activities. An international flow chart was created showing how all parts of MISA/MISP/Ur are interwoven.

2017 MISA’s first International Conference was held in the UK in May with the intent of having this international gathering every three years. The Instructors Manual and Trainer’s Manual continued to go through revisions and updates. Today there is a policy is that any instructor can create activities and run them by Ur to be approved and become an official MISP activity.

2020 A global pandemic hit our planet leaving no one untouched. The 2nd International Conference was postponed and will happen online in October 2021. The pandemic never stopped the MISA board with their goal of keeping its members connected. They organised a Trainer ZOOM meeting as well as a ZOOM meeting Representatives for Branches/Forming Branches. Ur created the Rainbow Massage to freely distribute on the planet. It can be found on the international website.


The Music Group activity was also created for situations where children were not allowed to touch. Documents for Trainers and Instructors with ideas of how to keep the MISP alive with some online possibilities were created.


2021 Because of the situation many instructors have not been allowed to physically go into schools or promote the MISP for more than one year. Ur, along with the support of the MISA international board, created guidelines and policies to allow for temporary online MISP trainings, as well as guidelines for MISP instructors to be able to implement online with groups of children.

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New logo

The programme is now present in the following 48 countries:

Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Canada (Québec, British Colombia and Ontario provinces), Chile, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, England, France, Germany, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, India, Italy, Japan, Reunion Island, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tasmania, USA, Venezuela, Vietnam, Wales

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