Complementary Health for All Ages
It’s never too soon to start thinking about wellness, and complementary therapies can be as beneficial for your children as it is for you – it’s all about identifying their needs and providing the right support.
Julie Quinn, the Programme Manager for Complementary Health at Morley College, discovered this when she was hired as a massage therapist in a primary school where several pupils had been permanently excluded in the past. Julie says, “It's well known that exclusion causes children to become angry, using attack as their only means of defense, often resulting in them becoming lost in a system and feeling particularly unwanted, adding to an overall lack of self-worth.” The problem of being excluded compounds things further – an excluded child’s issues are never properly addressed and are instead carried over to their new school, which often results in worsened behaviour in response to complex life changes. Julie was hired when the school participated in a university study into how to resolve the problems that children may have within a school setting. They achieved this by creating an environment that “did not feel or look like school”.
“There was a soft area for children to hide away in if they felt they needed to,” she says. “The room was filled with functional toys and aides that could allow the children to explore their feelings in a safe environment, without being overwhelmed. These children would also see me twice a week.”
There is a definite need for this type of intervention for young children to ensure a good and positive emotional health.
Julie Quinn, Programme Manager for Complementary Health at Morley College
As well as offering massage treatments to both pupils and staff, Julie used a range of complementary therapy techniques to help children who were identified as having particular behavioural problems, ranging from making a “smelly tissue” which the child could use as a sensory reminder of a time of relaxation if they felt stressed and was made using aromatherapy essential oils of the child’s choice; to breathing and mindfulness techniques, which could also be invoked by teachers if they noticed a child becoming distressed. “On one occasion, one of the boys I was seeing had got into a fight with another and had built himself into a rage,” Julie recalls. “The teacher was aware of the work we were doing together to cope with his anger management and she called out for him to ‘breathe’, at which point he went straight into the deep breathing technique he had been shown, which managed to calm him down and defused the whole situation.”
Julie worked in the role for almost ten years and took a great deal of satisfaction from watching children build their confidence and self-esteem as a result of the study. “There is no doubt in my mind that there is a definite need for this type of intervention for young children to ensure a good and positive emotional health, even if life circumstances leave them feeling otherwise,” she says. “Surely it’s obvious that anyone in a high state of stress could not be expected to sit down quietly and take in information to learn when it feels like your world is falling apart!”
Our range of Complementary Health courses for Autumn 2017 is available to view online now. Or you can visit our Complementary Health Open Day on 11 July to find out more about what we have to offer and how complementary health treatments can help you and your family.