Each of your hands contains more than two dozen bones -- 27, to be exact. With so many bones connected by so many joints, there's a greater possibility of pain resulting from joints that have grown tired and stiff.
Even if you don't spend hours upon hours typing, doing embroidery, writing, knitting, building a boat in a bottle, or other work that requires a lot from your hands, therapeutic hand massage techniques can be effective in soothing pain as well as increasing your range of motion.
KEEPING JOINTS LOOSE
Massage gets new, oxygen-rich blood flowing into areas that might have grown stiff and sore. Not only the muscles, but also the tendons, joints, ligaments and connective tissues in your hands -- and in the rest of your body -- benefit from regular massage therapy.
At Massage Envy, our professional massage therapists work to stimulate the flow of blood that improves circulation, increases delivery of nutrients to underlying tissues, and facilitates movement in your joints. It adds up to healthier, more dexterous hands as well as stronger and more flexible wrists and fingers.
This can make a difference for anyone who uses their hands frequently, making it possible to assemble puzzles or type on a small keyboard for longer periods of time without having to stop and shake the stiffness out of tired fingers and wrists. Still, that's only the beginning of the benefits offered by hand massage techniques.
HANDS AND HEAD
WebMD quotes Dale Grust of the American Massage Therapy Association on the topic of therapeutic hand massage. "Massaging the hands is not only great for the hands," says this New York massage therapist, "but can help to relieve headaches as well." 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, noise, eyes and ears. Since our professional massage therapists at Massage Envy are skilled in various disciplines including reflexology, anyone coping with headaches may want to request reflexology as part of their massage treatment.
PAIN RELIEF & SLEEP
If you're suffering from a chronic condition like carpal tunnel syndrome, or a specific injury like a sprain or a broken bone, hand massage techniques can help alleviate that pain. Along with the topical relief that comes from focusing on one area of your body, massage also provides another key healing tool.
Dr. Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute, notes that massage aids in promoting the kind of relaxation that leads to deep sleep. "It's this deep sleep that's truly important," she says, "because that is where the restorative process is happening."
A study published in the April 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursingfound that 10-minute hand massages significantly improved relaxation in elderly patients. The study suggested that therapeutic hand massage can be incorporated into a nursing regimen to improve the psychological mood of the patient, decrease stress and help improve sleep.