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Soothe Yourself!

Chances are you can't sneak out of work for a massage, but you can give yourself one. "You can activate pressure receptors in the skin to stimulate a nerve that slows down heart rate and blood pressure and increases alertness," says Tiffany Field, Ph.D., director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine. You needn't even leave your desk to do these tension tamers:

• Place a tennis ball between your shoulder blades and move your back from side to side against a wall or chair, or roll the ball under your feet along the length of your arch.

• Run a simple wooden or plastic massager up your arms and legs. Apply moderate pressure, since a light stroke won't do the trick.

• Use one hand to knead deeply from the opposite shoulder to the elbow, then switch sides. Move slowly to maximize stimulation.