It always surprises people when they discover the delights of a hand massage. The hands are not normally considered an area of tension, but as we use our hands in practically everything we do it is hardly surprising that they often feel stiff and tired. Anyone who constantly uses their hands; that is anyone who writes, types, participates in text messaging, knits, plays a musical instrument, or grasps the handle of a racket will find hand massage full of enormous benefits.
The hands are one of the first places to show neglect. As they have very little fat, they age and become wrinkled quite easily. Massaging the hands with lotion or oil moisturizes the skin and stimulates the blood supply keeping the hands soft and smooth.
Hands are easy to reach and as there is none of the inconvenience of getting undressed. You can also give a hand massage anywhere. Everyone is used to having their hands touched and so people who are slightly nervous about having a massage can often be initiated with a hand massage.
Our hands are one of the most sensitive parts of the body. Hands contain thousands of nerve endings and have proportionally the largest area of the brain to register sensation in the entire body. Your dominant hand can actually become quite muscular if you work with you hands.
To be able to give a hand massage is one of the most useful skills in the world. I have always found it invaluable because wherever you are; you can always relax and comfort someone else or yourself with a hand massage.
There are additional popular techniques, but for the scope of this article I have limited the number of useful techniques.
1. The fingers benefit from a firm massage even though they are small and bony. Hold the person’s hand palm down in one hand and use the other to work on each finger separately. Stroke from the tip to the knuckle, then squeeze all over the finger.
2. Do circular pressures around each joint with your thumb, then rotate the finger in each direction. Finally, make your hand into a fist and grip the finger between two of your fingers. Stretch it gently to ease the joints, but don’t jerk it.
3. Change hands when you reach the thumb and massage it deeply. Strong, firm pressure usually feels good here as gentle pressure can be annoying. Turn the hand over to do to firm circular pressures all over the muscular area at the base of the thumb.
Hold the person’s hand palm up, in one hand and stroke the palm with the heel of your other hand. Push down toward the wrist then glide back.
Turn the hand over and support it with your fingers. Stroke the back with your thumbs, making fanning out strokes from the knuckles to the wrist.
STRETCHING THE HAND
1. With your hands palm up, interlock your little fingers with your friend’s hand, one with her little finger, one with her thumb. Bring your other fingers underneath the hand to support it, and then open the hand to stretch the palm. This counteracts our normal clutching movements and helps to release tension from the hand.
2. Keep your little fingers interlocked with your friend’s hand, and continue to stretch the palm. Bring your thumbs around onto the palm and stroke it all over with fanning out movements. Then, using only one thumb, make small circular pressures all over the palm. It can be tense anywhere and firm pressure feels good.
STROKING BETWEEN THE TENDONS
Turn the hand over and support it with your fingers. Stroke with your thumbs in furrows between the tendons, starting between the knuckles and stroking toward the wrist, one thumb following the other. Do this a few times in each furrow then turn the hand over and stroke the palm firmly with the heel of your hand as you did at the start.
THE FINAL TOUCH
1. Stroke the whole hand, then turn it over and sandwich it between your palms. Press them together firmly for a couple of seconds.
2. Release the pressure and slide your hands slowly off the fingers. The hand should now be completely relaxed. Repeat this a couple of times.
See Foot Massage for techniques used in giving a soothing or invigorating foot massage.
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