Try a therapeutic hand massage

Whether typing an e-mail, fixing dinner, or brushing a child's hair, our hands are in constant motion. Making time for a hand massage once or twice a week can leave your digits feeling relaxed and refreshed. Because the hands contain many nerve endings, hand massage can also benefit other parts of the body that traditional Swedish massage techniques can't reach, says Taylor Brown, manager of massage therapy at Spa Space in Chicago. "Hand massage not only feels great, but can also have a huge effect on internal organs and aid in digestion and headache management." Brown offers the following tips for treating a friend or a loved one to five minutes of pure relaxation.

  • Get into position. Ask your partner or friend to lie on his or her back on a firm yet comfortable surface with palms facing up. Standing and working above the person will allow you to provide proper pressure to the hands.

  • Moisturize the hand. Rub a mixture of lotion and oil in your hands to warm it before applying it to your partner's hand.

  • Knead the palm. Using circular motions, knead the thickest part of the palm with both your thumbs.

  • Knuckle the hand. Make a loose fist and match your knuckles to the fingers on the inside of the hand. Using even pressure, slowly trace the line of the fingers with your knuckles from the tips of the fingers to the top of the wrist.

  • Separate the fingers. Use your hands to spread your partner's digits, gently stretching the hand muscles. It also feels great when you massage and gently pull each finger up and away from the palm.

  • Add the finishing touches. Gently rotate the wrist and stroke the back of the hand with your fingertips.

  • Switch! After working on both your partner's hands, trade places.