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> Back to Self-Care Excerpts List

Self-Care Excerpt from Don't Weight

Hand Massage (A Physical Representation of Self-Care)

Remember when you discovered that you use food to meet many of your emotional needs? If you were not going to use food, you would need other ways to meet your emotional needs. Here are a few ideas. I did not think of this myself. A very clever client thought of this in one of our counseling sessions. I have, however, used it ever since. I use it myself. I recommend it to my other clients. You can use this whenever you need to relax, unwind, feel tended, feel nurtured, be appreciated, be acknowledged, center yourself, tune in to your physical self, and more. What could accomplish so many things?

An experience ...
An experience in pleasure ...
An experience you give yourself ...
A hand massage.

I know. This sounds silly. It is not. It is significant. When your right hand massages and tends your left hand, you are experiencing a physical representation of this entire process of self-care. You are not waiting around for someone else to give care. You are not distracting yourself from the pain of needing care. You are not being angry at your unmet needs. You are taking care of you. Every time you take care of you and tend yourself, you heal from the times in your life when you did not receive the care you needed. Every time you take care of yourself, the world becomes a safer place in which to live. You are building a sense of trust in yourself. You are learning to trust that YOU will take care of yourself and get your needs met. Take a moment. Take your left hand in your right. Give your left hand a wonderful massage. (Yes, you will give your right hand the same pampering next.)

Choices, choices, you have so many choices. Do you want a quick few second massage sitting right there at your desk? Will you simply squeeze and press wherever it feels good on the palm, on the fingers, at the tips? You don't even need hand lotion for this kind of massage. When one hand is done, roll your shoulders, sit up tall, lay your hands on a pillow on your lap or just on your desk, and do the other hand. Breathe. Be.

Or, do you want to sit down, when tasks are set aside for a while, and pamper yourself? This is a time when you might take a little longer and use hand cream or lotion. When your hands are slippery, you will find all sorts of motions that feel good. Rubbing in little circles, sliding your fingers or knuckles across the palm, pulling as you slip down the finger to a little press on the finger pad. Ahhh ... you deserve this. And you deserve twice as much relaxation and enjoyment because you have an entire other hand to go. Change sides and let the other hand feel tended.

There is more than just relaxation going on here. When one hand is being massaged and relaxing, the other hand is getting a gentle, rhythmic, vigorous, workout. The muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your working hand are all being used as you squeeze, press, and kneed the left hand. This is great exercise. My clients with arthritis and carpal tunnel have found that their symptoms actually reduce when they use this massage technique a few times a day!

Oh, but there is more. A healing art called reflexology has been used for centuries. According to reflexology, there are points and regions on the hands and feet that correspond to areas of the body and organs. My clients report that they find themselves pressing on or massaging specific areas of their hand or foot, just naturally, with not specific intent. Often, when we look at a reflexology chart, we see that the specific spot in the hand or foot that they were drawn to press or massage is precisely the spot that corresponds to a body area or organ where they have had illness or problems.

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By Kelly Bliss M.Ed., A.C.E. author of Don’t Weight, Eat Healthy & Get Moving NOW!
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