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How to Give a Shiatsu Hand Massage

Learn how to give a shiatsu hand massage from shiatsu practitioner Shandoah Goldman in this Howcast video.


The hands are one of the most important parts of our bodies. We use them every day in pretty much everything we do, so they get very tight and need a lot of work. To work on the hands, we have three yin meridians that run up the front of the arm, all the way through the palm and end in the palm, and then three yang meridians that run down the back of the hand all the way through the arm.

So again, by working on the hand and actually working on the whole body, a very important principle in shiatsu, is that it is holistically based. We're going to open up the palm by placing my pinky in between her pinky and ring finger, and my other pinky in between her thumb. Then the rest of my hands just fan out right behind her wrist. I'm going to work with my thumbs and just stroke down from the wrist to the middle of the hand. This can be pretty firm pressure. I want to be really aware that I'm not working with tense shoulders, so I just release my shoulders and just let my thumbs trickle down to the center of the palm.

Another great thing to do for the hands is to open up the space in between the thumb and the pointer. This is a webbing space and it can get very tight. Just using a squeezing action, I'm going to squeeze down from the base of that webbing, all the way to the end, and then slide. It can be very intense. And it's like I'm just tossing out any stale energy. It's a squeezing, slide, and then just sending it out. That really helps to release the whole arm. If anyone has wrist issues, it’s great for that as well.

Another thing we have here is the side of that webbing. I'm going to thumb down, just using pressure in towards the hand, and then opening up the back of the wrist, just sliding from the wrist out, all of those little puzzle-like bones that make up the wrist, then flipping the palm over. It's a nice stretch here for the front, and again, just stroking upwards a little bit for the front of the wrist. Then just some circling, letting the hand... she's doing a great job of just completely releasing, so all those bones of the fingers and hands kind of soften. Extending through all of the bones of the arm, up to the hands.

So, some great techniques for working on the hand, which not only helps to release the hand itself, but helps release all of the associated energy pathways that start or end within the hands and travel into the rest of the body.

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