Simple holds on certain parts of the body can be surprisingly effective for a basic self-massage technique like this, especially when it comes to inducing relaxation and relief to that area. Though massage is often associated with movement, the stillness of the hold technique can allow for a more focused stress and tension relief. Moreover this technique also allows for a self-induced reassurance and comfort similar to the way a hug with a friend would provide.

A hold is characterized by maintaining static pressure on a certain body part for a certain time span, and here is how you do it:

How to do it

  1. Rub your hands together for at least 10-15 seconds as preparation.
  2. Choose a body part, like the eyes for example to relieve tired eyes or the top of the head to relieve pressure and tension from your head.
  3. When applying the hold, try to use the entire surface of your palms and fingers for maximum contact.
  4. Hold for at least 30 seconds, longer if possible.
  5. Experimenting is important, alternate between more pressure and less pressure. You’ll get the knack of what fits that body part best.
  6. You could also add variation by gently rocking the area at the same time, though keep the movement slow, gentle and rhythmic.
  7. If a certain body part requires extra pressure, a so called ‘reinforced hold’, place one hand on top of the other.
  8. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths to get the best from the technique.
  9. To stop overthinking, you can focus on a color in your mind or the natural ebb and flow of your breathing.
  10. When you reach the end of the hold, release the pressure very gradually so that you feel your hands gently lifting.

Where to use

You can use a hold on just about any part of your body that you can comfortably access with the palms of your hands. We recommend body areas like the head, eyes, face, neck, stomach and feet.

Eyes

Cup the palms of your hands and place them over your eyes. Hold this for a minute or two. The self-created darkness is great to relax and refresh tired eyes, especially if you’re frequently using the computer or phone.

Head

Open your hands wide and place them above your head, close your eyes and apply pressure according to your needs. Focus on your breath to calm your thoughts. Sometimes this can be so relaxing that it’s all that you need to lift a mild headache.

Temples

Place the index finger, ring finger and long finger of both hands on each side of your face, right beside your eyes on your temples. This is great for relieving tension in the head and for balancing and refocusing your mind.

Woman holding her temples self massage

Neck

Place one or both of your palms on your neck. If you use both palms keep a straight neck, if you use one palm on one side of the neck, you can either tilt your head towards the palm or tilt your head away from your palm. Try both and see which fits you best.

Feet

Use both hands when applying the hold on your feet. There are many variations to explore when it comes to holding the feet, for example you can stretch your toes or you can pressure the middle of your sole with one of your thumbs. Try and see, it’s easy to get creative.

Benefits of holding

By applying the holding technique you can allow yourself to move into a sense of stillness and calm. In this hustle and bustle of a society and modern life, we need more moments of stillness and serenity so we can collect our thoughts and our sanity. Especially post-corona. A fitting metaphor is the eye of the storm, where the center is calm and the surroundings are chaotic. So treat your body and mind with care and respect, find your calm even though your surroundings are panicking.

Holding provides you with the time and mental space to simply stop what you’re doing and thinking, now you can relax, refresh and refocus. Last but not least, another relaxing aspect of holding is the heat generated by the palms of your hands, this is something that shouldn’t be underestimated, namely the fact or miracle that you’re alive.

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