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Spa therapy for your hands

Just some of the hand treatments one can indulge in at spas around the globe include hand baths, scrubs and reflexology massages. Yes, hands like to go to spas, too.

On a recent spa crawl through the Czech Republic, I experienced my first-ever paraffin hand treatment — a classical beauty tradition in Europe. Here, amid clinical surrounds, I dipped my hands into bubbling hot wax that almost burned me alive. It was left on for about 20 minutes until the wax had cooled and hardened and, once peeled, my hands felt and looked silky smooth.

Over in the East, too, there’s a reason why reflexology spas are open until midnight across Asia. From Shanghai and Hong Kong to Bangkok via Singapore and Malaysia, there are countless centres offering treatments to not only remedy the feet but also the hands. Contrary to popular belief, reflexology is not only for the feet; it’s also applied to our hands. Indeed, acupressure massage on the hands not only promotes healthy skin but creates a deep sense of relaxation and is as good a stress reliever as the much-loved foot massage.

Kim Inglis, author of Indian Spa, explains that certain points on the hand are associated with various organs and systems within the body. “For instance, pressing gently into the centre of the palm stimulates the kidney area, while a massage between the thumb and index finger can help with digestion.

“Hands are a vulnerable part of the body and are subject to premature ageing, so need daily attention,” says Inglis. “A hand massage is an excellent way to stimulate the marma points and energy meridians, thus releasing toxins and invigorating ojas.”

According to the Ayurvedic texts, when ojas, also known as the sap or life force, is flowing freely, we look dynamic, vigorous and attractive. Inglis reports that Ayurvedic doctors often suggest regular nail inspection and daily or weekly hand and nail care.

Physicians and experts from other disciplines including traditional Chinese medicine also study the hands as part of their diagnostic procedures. At a spa in the Maldives, a local elderly healer pressed my fingertips to see the colour and thickness of my skin before prescribing me a series of therapies.

He said he could gauge the temperature of my body through this method, which in turn informed him if I needed to take warming or cooling treatments, food and exercises. Indeed, many modalities seem to believe the appearance of our hands reveals not only clues about our nature but also the state of our wellbeing.

Some of the most popular nourishing ingredients that work well on hands include avocado, coconut, rosehip oil, jojoba oil and vitamin E oil and cream. Aloe vera is hydrating and super for sun damage, while allantoin can help heal and renew the skin texture.

Here’s a handful of recipes to help you retain well-cared-for hands at home.

Coconut hand scrub

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp freshly grated coconut
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream or coconut powder

Directions

Rinse hands. Apply scrub to your hands using circular movements. Rinse well.

Rosewater hand mask

Apply once a week for dehydrated skin types. The oatmeal gently exfoliates while the almond oil nourishes. Leaves your hands smooth and hydrated. Discard ingredients after use.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp rosewater
  • 3 tbsp oatmeal
  • 2 tsp almond oil

Directions

Mix together all ingredients and heat in a double saucepan until warm. Apply the warmed mask to hands (not the palm), wrap in clingwrap or warm towels and leave for 10 minutes. Rinse. Follow with moisturiser or oil.

Green tea & avocado hand mask

This is a very good once-a-week ritual to revive dry, wrinkled and rough hands. It’s excellent for use on elbows and knees. Results include softer, nourished and hydrated skin texture.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp fine oatmeal
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil or 2 tbsp mashed fresh avocado
  • 1 tsp vegetable glycerine or honey
  • 2 tsp steeped green tea (use 1 tsp green or white tea with 200ml hot
    water and steep for 5 minutes, take out 2 tsp and drink the rest)

  • 6–8 drops lemon or lime essential oil or 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Directions

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Find a comfortable spot and gently massage this mixture on your hands (and feet). Leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse in cool water.

Sandalwood & rose oil hand lotion

While sandalwood and rose are wonderfully earthy and nourishing, you can select your own essential oils for this easy-to-make home spa recipe.

Ingredients

  • 6½ tbsp natural lotion such as vitamin E cream
  • 5 drops rose essential oil
  • 5 drops sandalwood essential oil

Directions

Blend the essential oils into the lotion well. Apply over your hands daily to keep them moisturised.

Softening hand oil

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp wheatgerm oil
  • 3 tsp rosehip seed oil
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 5 drops rosewood essential oil
  • 5 drops palmarosa essential oil

Directions

Blend all ingredients and rub into your hands and leave in.

The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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