The best free gift you can give a loved one is a hand massage. Our hands do a lot of work from the minute we wake up until we go to bed. When was the last time you gave a loved one a gentle hand massage? A gentle hand massage is one of the best free gifts you can give someone at the end of a long day. You can also use these basic techniques and methods to relax your own hands when they are tired or sore.
I was fortunate enough to work with two massage therapists a number of years ago who showed me some basic techniques for hand massage. Here are some basic principles you should follow:
1. The massage should never be painful. If the other person feels pain in their hand or up their arm, stop immediately.
2. The motion and direction of the massage should always be towards the heart, as in helping the blood flow towards the heart.
3. Never finish a massage with a pat. There is no medical reason for this, it just breaks the relaxation effect.
4. Do not ask for a massage back on the same night, since you just relaxed their hands.
5. Decide how long you have to give the massage. Divide that time in half so you have enough time to give each hand a gentle rubbing.
6. If you remove your hand from the massage point to move to another area, keep one hand on the person to maintain a sense of connection.
7. Do not give any type of massage to anyone with circulatory problems or arthritis or other medical conditions affecting the joints or hands without a doctor’s or nurse’s okay.
How to Give a Gentle Hand Massage
Start with the person’s dominant hand, since that hand probably worked harder during the day. Start by taking the hand gently into yours. You may use a bit of massage oil or moisturizing cream if you want a little more pliability with the skin.
Rub the top of their hand gently, covering all areas.
Turn the hand over and begin working the palm. Gently loosen it by placing your thumb into the palm with your four fingers on the other side of the hand. Gently press around the palm, and the thumb. You can shake the hand slightly to check its state of relaxation.
You can start at the base of each finger and work your hand down the palm to the wrist. Do this on the entire palm.
Tip: Be very gentle if rubbing in the wrist area, especially for anyone who may be prone to repetitive motions during the day.
With the gentle hand massage also spend some time working the thumb. Use your thumb and fingers to massage the thumb from the palm and from the top of the hand. Then start at the top of the thumb and begin rubbing with small movements.
Move your hand down over the thumb, over the knuckle and down to the palm. Repeat or move on to the area between the thumb and the pointer finger.
One important place to remember to rub is between the fingers. Rub that area between the thumb and first finger. Also gently open the fingers to stretch the area between the fingers.
Next place your fingers at the top of the pointer finger and rub it, gently squeezing. Move your fingers down over the joint, and towards the knuckle.
Continue working the skin between in each finger, and then down each finger, in a methodical and orderly way.
When you are done, place both of your hands over the massaged hand, giving it one last gentle, overall rub.
Now you can do the second hand.
Warning: The gentle hand massage can become addictive for the the recipient.
If you would like to know more about developing your own safe hand massage techniques, check these resources: