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Scientific evidence has shown that a simple hand massage a day can ease pain, increase hand strength, and reduce stress and anxiety.
Many published scientific studies have shown that doing something as simple as giving yourself a 15-minute daily hand massage can greatly improve not only your hand health but also your overall health. So grab some oil, lean back, and get ready to learn what the ancient Egyptians started doing 4,500 years ago, and what modern science has finally proven!
Studies have shown that giving yourself a 15-minute hand massage every day, along with a professional hand massage once per week, can reduce your overall stress or anxiety, reduce hand pain, increase grip strength, improve your sleep, improve circulation, and put you in a better mood. And this is especially true for those with arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), carpal tunnel, trigger finger, and a host of other hand issues. With benefits like these, there is no reason not to give yourself a quick hand massage at least once a day - while you’re watching TV, lying in bed, or at the kitchen table. If you don’t know how, then keep reading!
How to give yourself a great hand massage
VIDEO: 7-minute Hand Massage
Step 1: Warm up your hands.
The first thing to do is to WARM UP your hands. This is an often overlooked, but important step because it warms up your muscles, improves blood flow, and can reduce pain or stiffness. If you have a pre-existing hand condition, then this step is even more important.
Using a simple device like a Hand Warming Grippie is a great way to warm up your hands and improve your grip strength at the same time. Other ways to warm up your hands include putting them in warm water, using a heating pad, or holding a warm drink. Some people may even be able to warm them up by opening and closing their hands for 1 minute.
Step 2: Lubricate your hands with oil, an oil-based moisturizer, or lotion.
Lubricating your hands will allow you to massage deeper into your hands and forearm, will reduce or prevent any damage to your skin from occurring, and will make the entire massage more enjoyable and easier to do.
We recommend oil or oil-based moisturizers for this because they do a better job of sealing in moisture into your hands. Olive oil is a fantastic aid to a hand massage - it’s all natural, it has anti-oxidant properties that can help fight or reduce cancer-causing UV damage, it full of vitamins A, D, E, & K, and it’s hydrating for your skin.
This Natural Hand Therapy is 100% organic olive oil, in a conveniently sized 3.7oz glass bottle with an easy-to-use pump.
Step 3: The palms.
Start by rubbing your palms with either your thumb, or the knuckles of your other hand. You can rub your palm in circles, or go from your wrist to each finger, in an up-and-down motion.
Step 4: The fingers.
The sides of our fingers are often neglected. Squeeze and rub the sides of each finger, from your knuckle to the fingertip, and focus on sore joints (unless it’s a rheumatoid arthritis flare up). Do this for each finger. You can focus on the top and bottom of each finger, but the sides are what are typically neglected!
Step 5: Thumb webbing.
The webbing of our thumb is a famous pressure point. This area holds stress and tension. And by simply pressing this area, or rubbing it, we can release a tremendous amount of stress from our hands and our entire bodies.
In fact, this area is an acupuncture point, which is known to reduce headaches, toothaches, and general body pain. During child labor, my wife was told by a nurse (in a top Boston-area hospital) to press the thumb webbing to reduce labor pains.
So needless to say, the thumb webbing is an area that we can all massage and press, and we’ll benefit from it.
Start by finding where your thumb bone and your index finger bone meet in a “V”, and press there (using both your thumb and index finger on your palm-side), and then slide your fingers down the webbing. You can press the webbing, and massage it. You can focus on the thumb-side of the webbing, and then the index-finger-side of the webbing.
Step 6: Metacarpal channeling.
The bones on the top of your hand are the metacarpals. These bones lead into each finger. The space (or channels) between these bones also holds tension. You can rub these spaces to relieve this tension. You can either really get in there using all 4 fingers in one channel, or you can more gently rub all three channels at the same time with your other whole hand.
Step 7: Forearm.
Our forearms are intricately related to our hands, so it’s not surprising that a really good hand massage should include our forearms. We can rub the muscle and fascia from the epicondyle (the bone that sticks out from our arms, near the elbow), rubbing from the elbow all the way to our wrist. Alternatively, we can rub our forearm along the ridge of the arm bones (radius and ulna). You can use the knuckles of your opposite hand (index finger and middle finger) to run these knuckles along the ridge of either bone (ulna or radius), from the elbow to the wrist and back again. This motion works to really release forearm tension, and find the “secretly sore” spots that many of us have - areas of our hands or arms that are sore, yet we don’t even know it!
Step 8: Cool down.
When you’re all done rubbing your hands, you can spend 30-60 seconds stretching or squeezing your hands. Or better yet, open and close them. This will stretch and strengthen your warmed up hand muscles.
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