Together, your hands contain more than fifty separate bones (there’s 27 in each). No wonder then that with so many of them connected to some many joints, pain and discomfort can result from these joints growing stiff and tired.
Therapeutic massage of the hands is an excellent way to relieve such pain and discomfort. Moreover, it provides improved range of motion in the fingers and wrist, enhanced circulation and a reduction of trigger points (scientifically referred to as hyper irritable nodules) located in the hand muscles. Indeed, hands contain many reflexology and acupressure points that are associated with and –in some cases – can even affect other parts of the body.
Improved Range of Motion
One of the biggest benefits of massaging the hand is that it spreads new, oxygen-rich blood into that area of the body – where muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and different connective tissues may have become stiff and sore. Massage then stimulates the blood flow that drives nutrient delivery, thus improving movement in the joints, loosening tight muscles, reducing scar tissue and ensuring hands become stronger and more dexterous.
In particular, massage therapy can be of great help to those afflicted by trigger finger, which occurs when someone finds it difficult to open and closes a particular finger, causing it to lock or catch when they attempt to extend it. It tends to happen to women more than men (most often between 40 and 60 years-old) and to those suffering from conditions like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. According to Repetitive-Strain.com, cross-fibre friction massage of the finger and hand, in particular, as well as active and passive stretches of the finger and ice massage of the tendon that the ailment’s affected, can be effective treatment.
Pain Relief and Sleep
For sufferers of injuries like a sprain or a broken bone, or chronic conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis in the hand, massage techniques can be highly useful. A study conducted by the Touch Research Institute (TRI) found that for sufferers of chronic arthritis in the hand, regular massage of their hands and wrist reduced pain and improved their grip strength.
Although, those without chronic conditions and recent injuries can benefit from the pain-reducing effects of hand massage as well. Indeed, if you regularly use your hands for repetitive tasks, such as typing (and, let’s be honest, millions and millions of people do nowadays), then there’s a chance you probably experience pain or cramping fairly often. In which case, you might consider visiting a professional therapist for a hand massage. Such a licensed massage therapist – say, at a reputable establishment like the Spa at the Montcalm London – will be trained to detect and treat trigger points in the hand, reducing or removing the pain and allowing you go about tasks for work and leisure as you would normally.
As touched on above, massage of the hands plays a significant role in improving circulation. So much so that, should you be afflicted with a condition like Reynaud’s phenomenon (which, it’s believed, is caused by a persistent, sharp blood vessel cramp), the United States’ National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has stated massage is a good treatment.
It’s also important to work on improving circulation in the hand after surgery or injury (say, ligament sprains and muscle strains). It should up the pace of the healing thanks to more nutrients reaching the area of surgery or injury, while removing metabolic by-products that usually accumulate following trauma and can harm the tissue further.
Headaches and Relaxation
Dale Grust, an associate of the American Massage Therapy Association, has claimed that massaging the hands isn’t just therapeutic for that part of the body, but also the head. WebMD.com quotes him as saying that it “can help to relieve headaches”. He adds: “That’s because the hands – as well as the feet – contain reflexology points which correspond to various areas of the body. Those areas include the head as well as the neck, mouth, nose, eyes and ears”.
Moreover, according to Dr Tiffany Field, director of TRI, massage of all types aids the body and mind to relax to the extent that it can help improve sleep hygiene. She asserts the deep sleep that massage helps promote is an important factor in it doing the good work it’s employed to do because this is where the restorative process happens.