Receiving a hand massage can provide you with significant health benefits. Hand massage typically is quick, relaxing and provides you with immediate health benefits, such as improved finger and wrist range of motion, enhanced circulation and reduction of your trigger points—hyperirritable nodules—in your hand muscles. According to Reflexology-Research.com, your hands contain many acupressure and reflexology points, which are associated with your organs and certain parts of your body.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, in 2006, 46 million Americans—nearly one in five adults—were suffering from some form of arthritis. The most common forms of arthritis in the hand are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation states that arthritis pain limits everyday activities such as dressing and bathing for more than 7 million Americans. According to a December 2006 article written by Julie Engebretson on the website MassageToday, a study found that if you suffer from chronic arthritis in your hand, regular hand and wrist massage can reduce your pain and improve your grip strength. But those without arthritis can benefit from the pain-reducing effects of hand massage too. If you use your hands for repetitive tasks, such as typing, and you regularly experience pain or cramping, consider visiting a massage therapist for a hand massage. A licensed massage therapist will be able to detect and treat any trigger points in your hand, decreasing your pain and allowing you to continue your work in a pain-free state.
Improved circulation is one of the most important health benefits of massage therapy. Stimulating circulation in your hands is important, especially if you suffer from a condition such as Raynaud's phenomenon—a painful condition of your fingers, toes and other areas—which is believed to be caused by a sharp and persistent contraction of a blood vessel, causing a marked reduction in blood flow to your fingers. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health, states that massage is effective at stopping a Raynaud's attack once it starts. Improving circulation in your hand is also important following surgery or after an injury, such as ligament sprains and muscle strains. Improved circulation to your injured tissues helps speed your healing by bringing more nutrients to the area of injury and removing the harmful metabolic byproducts that tend to accumulate in your tissues following trauma.
Improved Range of Motion
Hand massage helps loosen tight hand muscles, reduces scar tissue and adhesions that cause decreased finger and wrist mobility, and improves your hand's various ranges of motion and flexibility. Trigger finger is one injury that responds particularly well to massage therapy. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a trigger finger occurs when your ability to move the tendon that opens and closes your finger is reduced, causing your finger to lock or catch when you extend it. The cause of trigger finger often is unknown, although it occurs more frequently in women than men, and it most frequently affects people between the ages of 40 and 60 years of age and those suffering from conditions such as diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Repetitive-Strain.com states that hand massage—specifically, cross-fiber friction massage immediately followed by active and passive stretches of your finger and ice massage of your affected tendon—is an effective method for treating your trigger finger and improving your finger's range of motion.
Martin Hughes is a chiropractic physician, health writer and the co-owner of a website devoted to natural footgear. He writes about health, fitness, diet and lifestyle. Hughes earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore.