Tag Archives: Self-help

Therapists – Take Care of Your Hands

We’ve Got The Whole World in Our Hands…

This is a topic that affects every single one of us as Holistic and Beauty Therapists!handshake

The Basics: It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or me) to tell you that your hands are a vital tool for interacting with the world around you. As a guide, we all have 27 bones and 29 joints in each hand, along with at least 123 ligaments, 34 muscles, 30 arteries and 48 major nerves that branch into a more sensitive neural link between the fingertips and the brain than from the eyes. Imagine that.

But it’s not just about the power of touch here – it goes much broader. Who can tick any of the following as an important part of their business lives

• Keeping their hands clean and/or soft
• Keeping nails short or well manicured/presented
• A confident handshake to reassure a new client
• Reiki healing or energetic exchange
• Using a keyboard/tablet/mobile to book clients, send emails or social media
• The need for strong, steady and/or warm hands
• Handling jars, bottles or equipment with repeated usage (hygiene)
• Last but not least, massage or hands-on techniques?

Yes. The health and longevity of our hands is essential. So here goes with upping the self-care…

Firstly, on the outside. No one expects to see any health or well-being practitioner with dry, rough hands or broken/nibbled nails – but constant washing/sanitising, whether as a healer or hands-on therapist, along with our UK weather, stress/busy lifestyle, nutrient depletion, cleaning our therapy rooms, houses and bodies with detergent-based products will eventually take its toll.

What can we do?

Hand cream1. Keep hands exfoliated to remove dry skin – look for natural products with ground rosehip seeds and/or fruit enzymes
2. Invest in a good manicure at least every other month (yes, men too)
3. Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise, especially overnight when the skin heals – ethical products containing shea butter, olive and/or coconut oil are good ones to look out for. Include your nails as they will benefit too.
4. Try to get plenty of zinc, iron, vitamin C and B group vitamins in your diet – all proven to alleviate brittle nails and enhance skin health.
5. Get those Marigold gloves out for washing up, gardening or cleaning the car – and your fingernails weren’t designed to remove staples!

What about cold hands? Thankfully less common, but this can be an annoying companion if working in the hands-on industry! But is there any self-help available? Maybe so…

1. The most important single factor is to keep your therapy/consulting room warm enough. Even if clients are on a heated couch with fluffy towels over them, you still need to make sure the air temperature is comfortable. Your body closes off small arteries in your skin if you’re too cold.
2. If your therapy uniform is only one layer thick or synthetic fibres, get those thin cotton layers or long johns on underneath during chilly days.
3. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that helps blood flow (found in oily fish and green leafy veg). Ginkgo Biloba supplements also help blood flow to extremities.
4. Ditch the caffeine – it is a vaso-constrictor – and up the water and herbal teas to re-hydrate.
5. If largely sedentary, do keep active between clients – have a 2 or 3 minute walk, or go up and down the stairs a few times. You need to encourage the blood flow back into your hands by getting the heart pumping.
6. If all else fails, buy some re-usable hand warmers! A Google search will bring up many affordable choices.

Reiki Healing
Hot Tip: Reiki Healers
– using your hands as a conduit to direct Universal energy is a wonderful gift to the world – but does anyone really know what energy, electro-magnetic and/or physiological changes are left behind after a session? Keeping hydrated, grounded and hands washed is of course essential. But there’s more…

We know that one of the best ways to cleanse and re-charge the energy of a crystal is by soaking it in salt-water – so why should your hands (and body) be any different? Treat your hands like a crystal by soaking them in a bowl of warm water with dissolved sea salt, Espom salt or Himalayan rock salt. Even add a few of your favourite crystals in there. Follow by moisturising with a natural ‘salt’ range such a Dead Sea Spa. Take regular baths in salts too to keep charged up and free of negative energy.

Finally, for the hands-on and massage therapists – over-used, sore and aching hands are a hazard of our trade. Yes, there are many “hands-free” massage therapies out there and use of knuckles and elbows instead of fingers and thumbs is more and more commonplace – but there’s no getting away from it for certain moves and treatments (including facials or ironically hand massage!).Hand Massage

Talking of which, there’s nothing better than having your own hands and arms regularly massaged. This should ideally be monthly via a professional (to save your own hands!), therapy swap or alternatively the following simple moves can be performed on yourself at the end of a busy day –

1. Stretch the fingers of your left hand by holding them as one unit with your right hand and pull them gently downwards to the wrist to feel the stretch. Repeat on the other hand.
2. Putting your palms together in prayer position, push your left fingers gently backwards to feel the stretch. Repeat on the other hand.
3. Clench your fists and rotate your wrists in circles clockwise and anti-clockwise three times.
4. Massage firmly all over the palm of your hand using your opposite thumb. Repeat each palm for 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Firmly squeeze each finger and thumb in turn using your opposite hand. Repeat on each hand three times.
6. Slowly and firmly massage each knuckle and finger joint with the opposite hand.

Regularly stretching the neck, shoulders, chest and arms will also go a long way to protecting the mobility of your hands and wrists. Also factor in rest periods and vary your treatments as far as you can.

For all of us, a lovely treat just before bedtime is to rub a few drops of pre-blended (German rather than Roman) chamomile oil into each pulse point on the wrist and over the base of the thumb where we can store tension. To make your own blend, simply add about 4 drops of chamomile oil to 1 teaspoon of rapeseed oil. Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties as well as soothing muscle pain and spasms. Its calming aroma is legendary and perfect to also help a good nights’ sleep.

Now that’s essential for any therapist.

Enjoy this topic? Want to know more about our exclusive Tibetan Hand/Arm Massage training (just £69 + VAT) – then please click here for more info. 🙂

How to Give Yourself a Stress-Busting Facial

D.I.Y Facial Massage – here’s how!

Relaxed and Happy - Facial Massage

 

Oh yes. Even the most zenned out holistic professionals among us have found themselves frowning from time to time, or struggled through a hectic schedule to end the day with a clenched jaw or a headache! We may not always realise how much tension we hold in our facial muscles… and how wonderful it is to have this tension relieved.

The face has no fewer than 42 muscles, all 12 meridian channels of the body can be accessed via the face, the facial nerve has over 10,000 neurons of which 7000 control facial expression and there are 6 lymph nodes that filter and clean the facial lymphatic fluid of toxins, germs and destroy foreign cells such as cancer.

That means that not only will a professional facial massage relieve muscular and nervous stress, the right moves can also energise and rebalance Chi, cleanse the upper dermis of toxic build-up, brighten dull skin – and if you add the benefits of aromatherapy, hydrating lotions and even music, you take it to yet another level.

So can you do any of this to yourself? Of course!

As you can imagine, there’s a multitude of methods and teachings out there (if time, do have a look at the benefits of Eastern Acupressure Facials) – so here’s the basic low-down on some simple moves that will help melt that stress away – in just 10 minutes. Make sure your hands and face are thoroughly clean first and ideally use a massage product so your fingers will glide on the skin and not pull it. Breathe deeply and let yourself relax…

The “Shampoo” Soother (2 mins)Shampoo soother - Facial Massage

A move often used in Indian Head Massage, simply use your fingers to massage all over your scalp, as if shampooing your hair – but nice and slow. Press firmly enough to feel your scalp moving and make sure you cover the areas around the ears, temples and back of the neck where a lot of tension is stored. If your hair is long enough, also pull it firmly as you go to encourage blood flow.

 

Brow buster - Facial MassageThe Brow-Buster (2 mins)

Using the index or middle finger of each hand, place both fingers in the centre of your forehead, one higher up the forehead than the other. Press firmly, then simply slide the lower finger and higher finger away from each other towards the ears and then swap their positions (high to low and low to high) in a zig-zag movement. Repeat these zig-zags all over the forehead, especially in the “frown zone”. Keep it nice and slow.

Eye Socket Pinch (2 mins).Eye Pinch - Facial Massage

Use the thumb and middle finger of each hand and literally pinch the skin whilst pressing down all around the eye socket. Avoid the delicate skin immediately around the eyes. Start between the brows and slowly and firmly pinch until you have a pressure you are comfortable with. Move around the eyebrows, pinching as you go – and underneath the eyes too. Repeat the circuit for 2 mins and finish off with some slow, smooth circles around the eye sockets, just using your middle finger.

Jaw dropper - Facial MassageJaw Dropper (1 min).

Using all of your fingers on both hands like paddles, make broad, circular sweeps along the jaw line from the ears to the chin and back again. Massage over the cheeks and jowl areas too to get rid of any tension and encourage blood flow.


Temple 
Touch (2 mins).Temple Touch - Facial Massage

We all know this one, because it does work – and quickly. Find the deepest point in the depression of the temples. Place two fingers on this and simply press firmly for 2 minutes. You can use slow, circular moves here if you prefer. Focus on your breathing and relax.

 

Ear Pull - Facial MassageEar Massage and Pull (1 min).

Using the thumb and index finger of both hands, slowly and gently massage along the outer rim of the ear from lobe to top and back again – pulling the ear gently away from the head at the same time. To finish, pull the ear lobe down and away from the face and hold for 30 seconds.

 

Once completed, drop your hands and arms into your lap if seated or by your sides if lying down and relax for a few moments.

Want some more advanced techniques? Click here to read more!

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