My hands are important to me. A pretty obvious statement for anyone who practises massage I guess. But they are also important for other reasons. I like to feel what is happening when I pick up a bar or frame of comb covered in bees. I like to feel the soil when I am gardenin and I could name half a dozen other things I do which make them important to me and that is without getting X rated!

I also use a chainsaw for cutting wood, an axe and a scythe fairly regularly. Lots of things that threaten to make my hands somewhat different from the clean, well manicured look expected of a massage therapist.

Because I have to be scrupulous about keeping my nails short, cleaning them is not too much of a chore. I do however need to put handcream on my hands both before and after gardening/working on the allotment. The before being the more important of the two. The beeswax/olive oil mixture protects my hands and stops them becoming permanently ingrained with soil like the picture of Monty Don’s on one of his books.

Were I not a massage practitioner and aromatherapist, I would not be so bothered but would still use the handcream I make to look after my skin. It helps to stop callouses from scythe and axe work becoming too hard so that they rip and tear. (I learned about callouses tearing in my flying trapeze days!)

I use geranium, frankincense and sea buckthorn essential oils in the mix both for their therapeutic qualities and because I like the smell! Also the antibacterial and antiviral effects of the oils will give me some protection against any pathogens in the soil though having an up to date tetanus injection means the risk is not high anyway. My experience is that I experience more problems from scratches from blackberries, gooseberries etc. when I do not use the cream but I make no claims that that will be true for others!