Have your partner lay face down. Put a bolster under the front of the ankles to relieve tension in the back. Hold one foot in your hand, and apply the thumbs to the middle of the sole and the arch of the foot, which is said to relax the spine.
Work the toes. Take each toe, one at a time, and gently massage and then roll them around, advises Watkinson, which helps stretch and flex all the tiny muscles in there that get cramped and underused. "You'll boost circulation through the foot and it feels great," she says.
Don't stop at the ankle. A great foot massage doesn't stop with the foot, but extends up past the ankle to the lower leg. "Always work upwards towards the heart when you perform a massage," says Watkinson. Once you've spent some time on the sole, arch, toes, and calves, make long sweeping strokes up from the back of the ankle up toward the buttocks.
Move Up To A Hand Massage
Like the feet, the hands also contain many pressure points that correspond to other systems of the body (see a reflexology hand chart here). Time spent on the hands can be completely renewing, especially using a calming, aloe-based massage gel. "Our hands are so overused. If you're typing all day on your laptop and phone, you create imbalance and can become prone to a repetitive stress injury," says Watkinson. "You can make an entire massage just out of the hands."
Work the thumb. That large muscle group in the thumb gets worn out from typing, and is in need of some love. "Get in there with your thumb and make circular motions, working the whole hand from wrist to thumb, and when you find a tender spot, called a trigger point, hold it for a count of five to let it release."
Continue up the arm. Just as with the feet, a hand massage doesn't stop at the wrist, but continues up to the elbow. "The muscles you use to engage the wrist are all in the forearm, so you need to address the whole area," says Watkinson.
Try some traction. Gently pull your partner's hand away from the arm and shoulder—an even, steady pull (no yanking). This relieves joint compression, allowing blood flow and oxygen to get in there, which reduces the strain and feels great.
Hit this relaxation point. There's a point called the "Inner Path" in Chinese medicine, says Watkinson, that is said to soothe stress, anxiety, even nausea. Lay three fingers side by side starting at the line separating his hand from his arm on the inside of the wrist. The Inner Path point lies under the middle of your third finger from the wrist. Press there and hold for a few seconds. (This is also the point targeted by sea-sick wrist bands.)