Instant energizer

Whether they're tapping at a keyboard, cleaning, lifting or driving, your arms, shoulders and hands work hard. Look after them by taking regular breaks from repetitive work and trying this self-massage sequence, using the Stimulating massage oil (see right).

■ Support your left elbow with your right hand. Make a loose fist of your left hand and gently pound across your right shoulder. Using your thumb and fingertips, make small circular movements to work muscles, moving from the back of your neck down your right shoulder. Repeat, using your right hand on the left-hand side of your body.

■ Straighten your right arm. open your palm and tap down the inside from the shoulder to the open hand with your left hand. Turn your arm over and tap up the back of your arm. from the hand to the shoulders. Repeat this sequence 5 times, then do the same again on your left arm.

■ llse your left thumb to work your right hand, gently massaging the palm, then the mound at the base of the thumb, pressing deep with your knuckles to release tension. Search out sore spots and press with the thumb, holding for a count of 5. Squeeze and massage the ¡oints of each finger, using your index finger and thumb. Pull out the fingers and briskly rub your fingertips to release stress and tension in your hands. Repeat on the left hand.

Stimulating massage oil This invigorating, skin-conditioning oil blend is an effective pick-me-up for when your energy levels are sagging. Eucalyptus and peppermint have a warming, head-clearing effect, making this recipe ideal for anyone with respiratory congestion.

V2 cup (125 ml) almond oil 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil 10 drops eucalyptus oil 10 drops peppermint essential oil 10 drops rosemary essential oil 5 drops lemon essential oil 5 drops basil essential oil

1 Combine all ingredients in a dark-colored glass bottle and seal securely.

2 Store in a cool place away from direct sunlight. Shake well before using.

Creamy massage blend An exceptionally rich and nourishing oil, this is an excellent restorative for dry, mature, sensitive, inflamed or weather-beaten skin. Use this blend to soothe period pain or ease cramps.

1 tablespoon shea butter

V2 cup (125 ml) macadamia nut oil

1 tablespoon soybean oil

2 x 500-IU vitamin E capsules 10 drops geranium essential oil

10 drops sweet orange essential oil 10 drops chamomile essential oil 5 drops rose essential oil 5 drops clary sage essential oil

1 Place shea butter, macadamia nut oil and soybean oil in a small saucepan over low heat; stir until melted and well combined.

2 Remove from heat and stir through contents of vitamin E capsules and essential oils. Pour into a wide-mouthed, dark-colored glass jar and seal securely.

3 This blend will thicken in cool weather. To liquefy, simply place the jar in a pan of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes.

Floral massage oil With its fine, silky texture and sensuous, luscious vanilla aroma, this is the perfect choice for a loving and relaxing partner massage. Jojoba oil is chemically quite similar to human sebum, so it is more readily absorbed than other oils.

4 vanilla pods

Vj cup (125 ml) jojoba oil 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil 10 drops ylang ylang essential oil 10 drops rose essential oil 10 drops lavender essential oil

5 drops geranium essential oil 5 drops jasmine essential oil

1 Split pods in half lengthwise; scrape out the seeds. Chop pods into small pieces and place in a glass jar with seeds, jojoba oil and grapeseed oil. Seal securely.

2 Store in a dark place for 1 month. Strain off oil, then strain again through muslin to remove fine vanilla particles.

3 Pour oil into a dark-colored glass bottle. Add essential oils and seal securely. Shake before use.

Warming massage oil Mustard is the secret ingredient in this recipe. Its pronounced warming and reviving effect helps to relax tight, cramped muscles. Ginger is also a highly effective ingredient because it stimulates circulation, helping blood flow to the skin's surface, making this recipe ideal for people with arthritis.

'fc cup (125 ml) olive oil 2 tablespoons avocado oil 10 drops wintergreen essential oil 10 drops rosemary essential oil 10 drops ginger essential oil 5 drops sandalwood essential oil S drops frankincense essential oil good pinch of dry mustard

1 Combine all ingredients in a dark-colored glass bottle; seal securely.

2 Store in a cool place away from direct sunlight. Shake well before using.

Di^eresvf strokes

There are several different types of massage movements, and each has a specific effect on the body.

GLIDING This involves the use of the whole hand in long. slow, smooth, broad movements. The first and last strokes of a massage usually consist of gliding strokes.

CIRCLING W ith circling, the hands move over large areas in a circular motion, typically along or across the length of muscle fibers in the back, shoulders, legs or arms. This helps to release tension before deeper strokes are used.

KNEADING After the recipient has been relaxed by the steady gliding movements, kneading (or petrissage) helps to loosen any cramped muscles and knots. These movements involve a firm, squeezing action to encourage the elimination of waste matter and to allow the free flow of fresh, oxygenated blood.

PRESSURE Deeper massage Involves using your thumbs, knuckles or the flat heel of your hand to apply strong, focused pressure on a particular trouble spot.

PERCUSSION Also known as tapotement. these percussive strokes are performed quickly to stimulate the circulation under the skin and to tone the associated muscles. An example is hacking, whereby the sides of the fingers are used to lap rhythmically up and down.

Continue reading here: Air fresheners

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