Your hands are amazing, hardworking body parts. They suffer more stress and strain than you may know. From arthritis, to carpal tunnel to tendonitis, it’s pretty much inevitable that at some time you’ll feel some pain in your fingers. In fact, one fourth of athletic injuries involve the hand and wrist and one third of all acute injuries in emergency rooms involve arms and hands.
Luckily, massage can help. Finding a great massage therapist and letting them know of your discomfort will likely go a long way to pain relief. They are well-versed in anatomy and kinesiology of the arm, wrist and fingers and know how to help. If you’re between appointments, though, here’s a five minute finger massage that’s a tried-and-true self-care hand treatment that’s easy to do and will bring welcomed relief.
- Pinching the tips of each finger and thumb of your right hand. Repeat this process on your left hand. Use firm, but not painful pressure for a few 5 seconds on each fingertip.
- Go back to each finger tip and pinch them again, this time squeeze the sides, 3 seconds each.
- Now start on your right hand and squeeze the top and sides of each finger, from base to tip. Then do the same on the left hand.
- Next grasp each finger at the base and slide your hand it from the base to the fingertip until your finger slips out of your grasp completely.
- Using your thumb and forefinger firmly grasp the webbed area between your thumb and forefinger of your other hand. Keeping a firm hold, tug at the skin gently until the fleshy web snaps away from your grasp. Repeat this process between all of your fingers on both hands.
- Rest the palm of your hand inside the palm of your free hand. Use your thumb in a circular motion to massage the back of your hand. Switch hands and repeat.
- Turn your hand over, back of your hand to palm, and lightly squeeze and compress the palm area and massage your fingers, paying special attention to your knuckles.
- Massage both wrists by manipulating them through their entire range of motion (gently), both clockwise and counter-clockwise.
You don’t need any lotion or oil to do these finger massage techniques. But if you use a little hand lotion, that’s OK, too. Don’t massage places where you feel sharp pain, that might be a sign of serious injury–consult your physician.
Each of your hands has 27 bones (and a few more sesamoid bones), and 29 joints, about 123 ligaments, 24 muscles and 48 nerves plus 30 arteries. Wow – that’s a lot to manage. Your finger muscles are strong, but quick to lose range of motion when not exercised (or massaged!). So treat your hands well and they’ll take care of you. Try the five minute massage session above (works on your FEET too!) If you get really ambitious try teaching the sequence to your BFF, significant other, child or neighbor and trade hand massage.