“You have two hands. One to help yourself and the second to help others.” Audrey Hepburn.
I have always thought you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their hands. Take a look at your hands and what do you see? Evidence of your history and your health etched into the lines of your skin and nails.
As we know, the human body is an incredible, complex creation so needless to say our hands and fingers are also awesomely sophisticated instruments that we just happen to find at the end of our arms! Paint a masterpiece or wield a gun. Write a blog or peel an orange….whatever we choose to create in our lives, it is literally in our own hands.
Did you know that fingers do not contain any muscles? Tendons connected to the muscles in the palm and forearm move the fingers. There are twenty seven bones, twenty nine joints and over one hundred and twenty ligaments in one hand…in addition to the numerous meridians (energy channels) that trace through each hand and finger tip.
Undoubtedly most of us take our hands for granted…we use them for everything and I suspect very few of us invest any time to relax and unwind the tension and strain that builds up on a daily basis in these extremities.
Most likely you have experienced the benefits of a body massage or another form of physical therapy so you understand how hands are a powerful way to transmit healing to others, but also to ourselves as a form of self-care.
Massaging our hands helps relieve tension build up in the joints and ligaments – which of course feels good – but we can also positively affect the rest of the body by improving energy flow to our internal organs and regulating specific emotions. According to the Chinese Tao 5 Element system of health and healing, we have points on the hands that correspond to various internal organs, emotions and bodily functions.
For example, if we massage the meaty part of the hand between the thumb and index finger where the bones meet, with small circular motions, we are able to stimulate the energy, emotion and function of the large intestine. How does it feel? tight? painful? Does the opposite hand feel any different? Concentrate on this area until it feels more relaxed.
- the thumb corresponds to the stomach & the emotion of worry
- the index finger corresponds to the lungs & large intestines & the emotions of grief, depression & sadness
- the middle finger corresponds to the heart & small intestines & the emotions of impatience and hastiness
- the ring finger is the liver, gallbladder, the nervous system & the emotion of anger
- your pinky finger is the kidneys & fear
Before you begin this little self-care ritual make sure you are seated somewhere comfortable where your arms can stay loose and relaxed. Remember that where your intention goes, energy flows.
Consciously send love and gratitude to your arms and hands for all the hard work they do for you. Pull healing energy into your hands, visualizing the warmth and energy buzzing through your palms.
As you work over your hands, right and left, be mindful of any points that are particularly tender (stuck emotion) and spend extra time massaging away the tension until the pain has dispersed.
I prefer using a carrier oil such as coconut oil or shea butter to aid the movement of skin on skin and my desert dry vata skin is always grateful for any extra moisture! If you like, you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to aid with relaxation or if you are working on a particular negative emotion then use a relevant essential oil to support you further.
I think we can intuitively reach for the oil we most need depending on our mood but here are a few suggestions you can play with for each emotional aspect:
- Worry/anxiety – lavender, adaptiv blend
- Sadness – peppermint or ylang ylang
- Impatience – sandalwood or lime
- Anger – bergamot or roman chamomille
- Fear – wild orange, lavender or geranium
5 minute Hand Massage:
- begin by using your thumb to massage the middle of your palm in a circular motion (this is where your middle finger rests when you close your fist)
- move to the joint of the bone for index finger and thumb, again using circular motions until the pain has dissolved
- run your thumb over the palm lines, paying attention to where there are sore points using thumb and fingers to massage away any tension or stagnant energy
- massage the back of the hand, pressing gently along the bones of each finger from wrist to finger tip
- activate points on the side of each finger, just above and below the joints from knuckle to the finger tip
- use the thumb and forefinger of the opposite hand to squeeze and release each of these four points
- wrapping the fingers with the opposite hand helps calm the emotion associated with that particular finger
- squeeze each finger on your left hand with the right hand 3 to 6 times then repeat the process for the other hand.
So the next time you are feeling impatient, sad or angry remember to wrap and squeeze the relevant finger.…breathe deeply…. and see if it helps you to feel any different – do you feel more in control?
Written by Zoe @getglowywithzoe
reference: Mantak Chia, The Taoist Way of Rejuvenation