The hand reflexology chart has proven to be very handy to me recently. Some years ago I took a class in hand reflex points and basic hand massage, as well as foot reflexology. It was very effective for using on both myself and my kids.
Then recently when the local visiting nurse came to her twice-monthly meeting with Dad and me, lo and behold, she brought us the wonderful gift of hand massage, along with her own hand massage chart. And it was very similar to mine.
(See the charts below).
If you study this art, you will find that there are several versions of the hand reflexology chart. So this is not meant to be a diagnostic tool or cure, but to offer a soothing method of stress relief, and perhaps some healing, to you and the person you care for. It is a wonderful addition to senior and elderly activities. And a comforting enhancement to elderly health care.
The areas designated on my charts are general. If you massage a particular place in a general way, you will most likely be quite effective in targeting the area you want.
About Hand Reflexology
As with foot reflexology, there is a correlation between parts of the hand, or zones, and various other parts of the body, as shown in the hand reflexology chart (one for the front and back of the hand – see below). These are areas are interconnected through the nervous system, and in Eastern traditions, it is believed they are also connected through energy flow, or chi.
So when you massage a zone in the hand (or foot), you also affect the correlating body area. This is an excellent elderly activity to do with the person you care for. It provides social interaction, gentle touch, and genuine stress relief.
There are various elderly issues that we need to be aware of when doing hand massage. My father’s skin, for instance, is very thin and tends to bruise and spot. Others may have sores or broken skin.
Be sure to ask your senior recipient if they have recently had surgery (and avoid massaging those correlating zones), or if they have pain in a given area, or if they’re under any medical restrictions.
Check in with them frequently as to whether they are experiencing any discomfort during the massage. You may need to adjust your pressure. The rule of thumb in all cases is gentleness.
Unless you are a bona fide health practitioner experienced in these techniques and are familiar with a more complex hand reflexology chart, you would be doing this only for its soothing benefits, not to try to induce a healing process – although it could result anyway.
To help create a relaxing environment, you can first begin by playing calming music and using scented candles or other aromatherapy methods. Then take a look at the hand reflexology chart and discuss with your recipient what you’re going to do, and if they have any special areas to work on.
Elderly usually, though, enjoy having their whole hand massaged, rather than just a particular zone, although you can pay particular attention to it if you know an area needs special attention.
Also ask about their favorite hand lotion, and ask them to bring it to you (if you are in a place where they can get it). Otherwise, bring your own scented lotion. Lavender and vanilla are popular scents, as well as citrus and often coconut. But anything nice will be appreciated.
Put a generous amount of lotion on your hand, and rub them together, coating both of your hands. You will then massage until the lotion has been absorbed by your recipient. A gently rubbing motion is excellent to use with seniors, as perhaps careful pulling. However, deep pressing (as with acupressure) may not be recommended.
Elderly problems that are common include easy bruising and sensitivity to pain. This is not meant to be the type of massage in which you press until pain is felt.
Hand Reflexology Chart
Feel free to print out either hand reflexology chart, above. They are basic and meant to be used for a simple, soothing hand massage. (A professional will have a much more detailed chart). The senior in your life will definitely enjoy and appreciate this activity.
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