We all know that massages are great— relaxing, and comfortable, and they help with stress. In fact, massage therapy has been proven to provide many health benefits. Massages vary in many different kinds, from general ones like body massages to specific ones like head and foot massages. When thinking about massages, most people would not think of hand massages.
Did you know, however, that hand massages have many health benefits too? Our hands are the most commonly used body parts in our everyday life, and they should be properly pampered and taken care of. In fact, hand massages can help with muscle tension and can decrease pain for many other conditions. Read on to find out how hand massages are beneficial, and how you can have a hand massage at home on your own!
The great stuff about hand massages
So yes, hand massages are great with multiple health benefits. But what are these benefits? As mentioned, hand massages can help with the pain that comes with other conditions like arthritis, neuropathy, and even carpal tunnel syndrome. This is because hand massages can increase your overall health and well-being in different ways.
Hand massages help to reduce hand pain and can help to lessen anxiety and improve your mood. These will lead to improved sleep quality and therefore better overall health and well-being. Regular hand massages can also help with lowering blood pressure and stress levels.
A study carried out on nurses that worked in intensive care units found that massages during the week actually helped to reduce stress levels and ensure better work performance. Another study in 2017 had results that showed that massages could help with multiple conditions and issues including pain (e.g arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome), autoimmune conditions (e.g asthma), high blood pressure, HIV, dementia, autism, and even Parkinson’s disease.
Individuals who are suffering from arthritis which affects the hands are constantly in pain and discomfort. Many patients also suffer from decreased strength in their hands compared to those who do not have the condition.
This greatly affects their quality of life as they may have trouble with daily activities as simple as opening a door or uncapping a jar. Hand massages can be a great way to improve their conditions as it helps to lessen pain and increase grip strength. Other studies also found that after a hand massage, applying a topical pain reliever can greatly increase grip strength and help with pain, improving mood and sleep quality.
In specific cases like rheumatoid arthritis, hand massages can help to target areas where there are pain and discomfort.
A study found that weekly sessions of moderate pressure massage and daily self-massages helped improve pain conditions, increased grip strength, and enabled a wider range of motions in hands. Do take note that you should avoid massaging a particular joint where a flare-up is occurring as it may worsen the condition and pain.
Hand massages can also work wonders for carpal tunnel syndrome. If you have not heard of the condition before, it is a common nerve disorder that causes pain, weakness, and numbness in wrists. In fact, almost ten million people in the United States suffer from this condition.
Hand massages can do for patients with this syndrome in that they can lower pain, depressed mood, and anxiety, and increase grip strength. Research has been conducted and found that regular hand massages, about two sessions a week, can help with the condition in the long term. With regular hand massages, the severity of symptoms was lessened and there was an increase in hand function.
The type of hand massage for this condition should focus on the wrist, but it can extend to the neck, shoulders, and arms for overall relaxation and de-stressing as well.
How you can do it yourself
Hand massages are actually really simple to carry out and are something that you can try out at home. No special equipment or tool is required, and you have the option of using massage oils or not. Experts have suggested that hand massages should be carried out daily for at least 15 minutes.
Instead of using light pressure, moderate pressure will ensure the greatest results, especially for those suffering from hand pain. The best time to have hand massages is before bedtime, as its effects are enlarged with sleep. Hand massages before bedtime can also improve sleep quality and aid with relaxation. Before you begin, you can apply some heat to your hands and limbs to help them relax. For hand massages at home, you can follow these steps:
- Make sure you are seated in a comfortable area, be it your bed, sofa, or chair. Ensure that you’re in a comfortable posture before you begin.
- For moderate pressure, it may be a good idea to place one hand on a surface like a table for support while you use the other hand to massage.
- Start by stroking your forearm from the elbow to the wrist slowly, repeating on both sides. You can extend this motion to your shoulders if you want. Repeat the motion for at least three times, on both the front and back of your forearm.
- When that’s done, you can move on to your hands. Start by stroking from your wrists to your fingertips with moderate pressure. Repeat three times or more on both sides of your hands.
- Grab your forearm with your thumb underneath. Start grabbing with some pressure, beginning from the wrist, moving up to your elbow, and going back down to your palm. Repeat this at least three times with moderate pressure.
- Exert strength on your thumb and massage in a circular motion around the back of your hand, followed by your palm. Move on to your fingers, using pressure on your thumb as well. Make sure to massage between your fingers.
And that’s it! Sounds pretty easy right? Our hands are often neglected when we think about taking care of our health and body. Hand massages are a great way to ensure that they are well-taken care of, and can even improve overall well-being, so make sure to try it out at home!