The Benefits of Self Hand Massage
Studies have shown that doing self-massage once a day may help reduce the pain associated with many conditions including arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and neuropathy.
The benefits of a hand massage may include:
reduced hand pain
greater grip strength
lower blood pressure
reduce stress levels
Some of the hand conditions that research has shown may benefit from a hand massage:
Arthritis in your hands can be painful and debilitating. People with hand arthritis have 75 percent less strength in their hands than people who don’t have the condition. Simple tasks like opening a door or unscrewing a jar can be daunting or even impossible. A daily self hand massage has been shown to help reduce pain and increase grip strength .
Massaging your hands also shows to lessen anxiety and depression, and provide a better quality sleep. Applying a topical pain reliever after a hand massage further increased the improvement in pain, grip strength, depressed mood, and sleep disturbances.
Carpal tunnel syndrome causes pain, numbness, and weakness in the wrist. It’s a very common nerve disorder affecting up to 10 million Americans. Massage therapy may help reduce carpal tunnel pain, anxiety, and depressed mood, as well as improved grip strength. Two 30-minute massages per week can show a significant change in the severity of symptoms and hand function. Massage for carpal tunnel relief focuses on the wrist, but it may also include the arm, shoulder, neck and hand.
Neuropathy is nerve damage that can cause pain in your hands and feet. It can also cause numbness, tingling, and other abnormal sensations. Massage may help by improving circulation and increasing blood flow to your extremities.
Moderate to light massage pressure on your hands is beneficial for people with rheumatoid arthritis. Weekly massage therapy or daily self-massage may show a greater improvement in pain, grip strength, and range of motion.
How to give yourself a hand massage
You don’t need any special equipment for an at-home hand massage. You can do the massage with or without applying oil, essential oils, or lotion. To get the most benefits from a hand massage, it’s best to do it every day for at least 15 minutes. Try to use moderate pressure instead of light pressure, especially if you have hand pain.
Doing a hand massage before bedtime may improve the quality of your sleep. But a massage can be relaxing and beneficial at any time of day. You may want to apply some heat to your hands and arms before you start to help your muscles relax. Then, take the following steps:
Sit in a comfortable position. To apply moderate pressure, it may be easier to have one hand on a table while you use your other hand to do the massage strokes.
Use your palm to stroke your forearm from the wrist to the elbow and back again on both sides. If you want to, you can extend the stroking to your shoulder. Do this at least three times on both sides of your forearm. The idea here is to warm up your muscles.
Use your palm to stroke from your wrist to your fingertips on both sides of your hand. Do this at least three times. Use moderate pressure.
Cup your hand around your forearm with your thumb underneath. Pinch your skin starting at the wrist, and work slowly up to the elbow and back down again. Do this on both sides of the forearm at least three times using moderate pressure.
Use your thumb and forefinger — or your thumb and all your fingers — to press in a circular or back-and-forth motion, slowly moving up your hand and forearm. Do this on both sides of your arm and hand at least three times using moderate pressure.
Press your thumb in a circular motion with moderate pressure all around the back of your hand and then your palm. Continue pressure with your thumb along both sides of each finger. Use your thumb to massage the area between your thumb and forefinger.
Depending on your condition, your doctor may suggest specific massage techniques. If you have serious pain, you may want to check with your doctor about starting self-massage.
A regular hand massage may help ease pain, increase hand strength, and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Hand massage can complement treatments for arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, neuropathy, and other conditions. A professional hand massage is a good investment for your overall health. And a daily self-massage routine can provide you with ongoing benefits.