Special Needs Massage

Special Needs Massage, an introduction: Work confidently with and greatly enhance the lives of people with severe special needs, including Cerebral Palsey, Autism, ADHD, touch phobic and wheelchair bound. We also explore working with Alzheimers and dementia patients.

This is a fun and informative workshop, where we explore role play, different forms of communication, and help you increase awareness and sensitivity to all patients. Learn a simple game which can be used in a group setting (for example within a specialist school).

Get rid of the dogma.

Insights from a student:

The Power of Touch
I attended the Special Needs Massage course, to enable me to become confident with massage techniques that could be used on people who suffer from, for example, cerebral palsy, autism, touch phobia, and down’s syndrome, and people who are wheel chair bound.

We looked at how best to help individuals to and from the massage couch, comfortable positions for the client once on the couch, effective massage techniques, over clothes massage technique, and also using our intuition to better pick up on non verbal cues that alert us to whether the massage is being well received or not by the client, who may be non verbal.

We tried an effective cranio sacral release, that is used around the temples, this can be used on anyone, to reduce stress and headaches, and whilst practising on one another, I discovered that, despite it’s gentle nature, it is very powerful.

Similarly, when we were trying out massage over clothes, it was amazing how powerful and effective it was, just keeping hands on the shoulders, or the feet; not even moving – just remaining still for a few moments. The comfort and reassurance that it brings, whilst bringing the energy down in to a slow and relaxed state… It’s a wonderful thing to experience.

I’m really pleased that I was able to be a part of this course; I feel it has been an invaluable experience and that I am better therapist for it. Touch is powerful, and shouldn’t be denied to anyone. The fact that one’s mental and physical state can mean that someone can go through life without the connections others take for granted is astounding. And something I want to change, and feel that, now, I can do so. Sarah Penman

TUTOR: Emma Gilmore
My very first experience of massage in 1994 was working at a Camphill Community with adults with severe special needs, ranging from, Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Prader-Willi Syndrome, sever epilepsy, physically and sexually abused young adults, amongst others. I was blown away by the positive results created by touch, it is from this point that I have built a very successful career in massage and bodywork. It is from my experience here and my continued work that I draw my knowledge. My son has a diagnosis of dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, which has given me great insights into the needs and sensitivities of these often misunderstood children and adults.”


Next Courses: 19th February 2018

Course duraton: 1 day 10am -5pm

Course Fee: £110 to be paid in full when booking

Pre-requisite: This is an introductory course, open to mothers and special needs teachers as well as therapist.

Sadly we cannot refund your course fee. If a minimum of 4 weeks notice is given, your fee can be transferred to another course. Your fee will confirm your place on the course and your commitment to training. In the unusual event that you do not wish to complete the course the full balance of course fees is still payable.

Tutor: Emma Gilmore

Class sizes are small and therefore places are limited. Please book above.

This course, sensitive and informative in nature has given me the confidence to massage individuals with special needs. Touch is a basic human need that should be accessible to everyone. I felt educated and ready to tackle the dogma.

Sarah Penman

A thoroughly enjoyable and informative day, I would attend further workshops.

Tina Pike

Thank you, I really appreciated the course, it will help me with my job, and I also discovered a school I will use again for sure.

Josiane Labelle-Moise

Responsive to the needs of the class, the new skills can also be incorporated into everyday practice.

Deirdre Richards

I look forward to practicing on my nephew who I know will gain from what I have learned and will have hours of pleasure


Great group of people. Thank you Emma – learned lots – special needs is an area I will look into re. my own practice


A very therapeutic day – informative, thought provoking and nurturing too. Drawing different elements into the general theme of Special Needs Massage. A wonderful group to have been in, met lovely and interesting people


An excellent exploration of the skills and sensitivities required to massage patients with Specila Needs – thank you. I found the mobilisations and holds particularly effective – the ‘holds’ incredibly calming and quietening