What are the benefits of a hand massage?
A hand massage has the potential to improve your health and well-being in a number of ways. According to a 2011 studyTrusted Source, the benefits of a hand massage may include:
reduced hand pain
greater grip strength
According to a 2018 studyTrusted Source, getting a regular massage may also help lower your blood pressure. This study, however, did not focus specifically on hand massages.
Another study published in 2015Trusted Source involved nurses working in intensive care units. It did not focus specifically on hand massages, but found that a twice-weekly general massage significantly reduced their stress levels.
A 2017 reviewTrusted Source found that massage therapy may be beneficial for a wide range of conditions, including:
pain syndromes, including arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and fibromyalgia
high blood pressure
autoimmune conditions, such as asthma and multiple sclerosis
Let’s take a closer look at 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 hand massage has been shown to help. A 2011 studyTrusted Source found that participants had less pain and greater grip strength after a weekly professional hand message and daily self-message at home.
The same study also found that the massage therapy participants had less anxiety and depression, and better quality sleep at the end of the four-week study.
A 2014 studyTrusted Source found that applying a topical pain reliever after hand massage further increased the improvement in pain, grip strength, depressed mood, and sleep disturbances.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome causes pain, numbness, and weakness in the wrist. It’s a very common nerve disorder, according to the American College of Rheumatology, affecting up to 10 million Americans.
Massage therapy may help reduce carpal tunnel pain, as reported in a 2016 reviewTrusted Source. The review found that people with carpal tunnel syndrome who had regular massages reported lower levels of pain, anxiety, and depressed mood, as well as improved grip strength.
In another studyTrusted Source, participants with carpal tunnel syndrome got two 30-minute massages per week for six weeks. By the second week, there was a significant change in the severity of their symptoms and hand function. This study included hand trigger points.
Massage for carpal tunnel relief focuses on the wrist, but it may also include the arm, shoulder, neck and hand. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, this type of massage will vary, depending on the symptoms of the individual.
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.
Diabetes is a common cause of peripheral neuropathy. Another common cause is chemotherapy for cancer. The chemotherapy drugs can cause nerve damage in the hands and feet.
A 2016 study of people undergoing chemotherapy reported that after one massage session, 50 percent of the participants reported an improvement in symptoms. The symptom that improved the most after the 10-week study was overall weakness.
A 2017 studyTrusted Source focused on people with diabetic neuropathy who had massages with essential oils. The participants had three massages a week for four weeks. After four weeks, their pain was significantly decreased, and their quality of life scores were greatly improved.
A 2013 studyTrusted Source compared moderate pressure with light pressure massage for people with rheumatoid arthritis. The study focused on the upper limbs.
After a month of weekly massage therapy and daily self-massage, the moderate pressure massage group had greater improvement in pain, grip strength, and range of motion.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, it’s best not to work on a particular joint that’s involved in a rheumatoid arthritis flare-up.
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