Are you, or somebody you know, dealing with crippling hand pain and lack of dexterity?
As you age, there are several reasons for hand pain – with the most common being arthritis and other related joint pain.
There are several benefits of hand massages for elderly people, some of which include –
- Arthritis pain relief
- Increased dexterity and mobility
- Help with sleeplessness
- Increased blood flow and circulation
- Natural headache pain relief
- Reduction in carpal tunnel syndrome pain
We are going to look at some of the more popular and common reasons for hand massages for elderly people. We also provide two different hand massage techniques that you can begin using today.
Hand massages can be extremely beneficial for elderly people dealing with arthritis pain, so much so that a study was even conducted to evaluate the benefits.
The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami conducted a study in which participants received regular hand massages on set intervals.
The participants received one hand massage per week from a trained therapist and then performed self hand massages between these visits. The results of the study were quite positive, with participants showing a 57 percent reduction in pain and increased mobility.
If you’re unable to get hand massages from a trained therapist, performing daily self hand massages can help. There are several techniques that you, as an untrained person, can use.
We even showcase a couple of techniques at the bottom of this article.
Most participants saw pain reduction and increased mobility within the first week of self hand massages.
If you are on a limited budget, or if you’re a caregiver looking to provide pain relief to your patient, don’t be discouraged that you can’t have a massage from a certified therapist.
Poor Circulation and Joint Pain
In addition to arthritis pain, most elderly people also deal with poor circulation and stiff joints. Hand massages are an excellent way to help encourage new oxygen-rich blood to flow into the tendons and muscles in your hand.
The strength and support of another hand (whether yours or someone else) working the joints and ligaments in your hand will encourage increased elasticity and reduce joint stiffness.
Additionally, as you age the blood vessels in your hands, fingers and toes will begin to contract.
The sensation from massaging your hand will encourage increase blood flow to that area, helping to expand blood vessels. This is one of the reasons why your hand feels warmer after you massage it.
If you’re not dealing with arthritis, but rather just general hand and finger pain, hand massages can also be a wonderful way to help ease and reduce the pain.
Growing up, it was always a natural instinct to grab and rub areas that you hurt while playing or doing other activities. The reason for this is that the rubbing motion helps to alleviate nerve pain and increase blood flow to the damaged tissues.
Hand massages are also very effective in reducing scar tissue pain, mostly because it helps loosen adhesions between muscles and other tissues.
A lesser known fact is that hand massages can also help with headaches and migraines.
Your hand has different reflexology points that correspond to areas on your head. Pressing certain areas on your hand can actually ease and reduce tension in those muscles.
Actually, a common reflexology point is between your forefinger and thumb in the “webbed” area that connects the two. Applying moderate pressure with your thumb and forefinger, on the other hand, can provide moderate relief from your headache symptoms.
How to Give a Hand Massage
There are several different types of hand massages you can provide relief from arthritis and other pain.
Technique #1 – Milking (Self-Massage)
One popular technique, called milking, is fairly simple to understand and perform.
Similar to how a farmer would milk a cow, you are going to treat your fingers like cow udders, gripping and applying pressure from base to tip.
Start with the Pinky
Start on your pinky and work your way through your fingers. Grab the base of each finger with your forefinger and thumb, shaped into a circle.
Have your other fingers wrap around the finger and apply moderate pressure. As you pull down, squeeze lightly throughout the motion.
Do this motion as often as you need, based on your pain severity, before moving on to the next finger.
Move to Your Wrist
Once you have gone through all five fingers on your hand, wrap your hand around your wrist.
With the same light pressure, work your way from your outer hand by your pinky to your inner hand by your thumb.
While doing this, make sure to use the finger pads in your massaging hand. Apply pressure to the muscles and tendons of your palm and between the ligaments on the back of your hand.
Do As Often As You Need
There is no specific time requirement or limit to performing your own hand massage. Feel free to do this as often as you need to give yourself relief from your arthritis symptoms.
Giving a Hand Massage to Someone Else
If you’re a caregiver looking for information on how to give a hand massage to your patient, this is the right massage technique for you.
Technique #2 – Double Thumb
Before beginning, think about how a trained masseuse gives massages to somebody’s back. They use both hands and work fairly symmetrically.
You are going to be massage your patient’s hand the same way. Rather than using your fists, your thumbs are going to be the tools you use to apply pressure to your patient’s hand.
Start with the Palm
Starting on the palm, work your way along the different sides of their hands, kneading with your thumbs as you go. The specific pressure can be increased or decreased, depending on the pain and the fortitude of your patient.
Knead throughout their hand, paying special attention to any trouble areas or specific pain points. Once done with the palm, work your way over to the fingers.
Massaging Their Fingers
Starting with their pinky, place their finger cupped in your fingers and work with both of your thumbs from base to tip. Along the way to the tip of the finger, make sure to pay special attention to their joints.
Work your way over to their forefinger and thumb. Pay special attention to the specific fingers and joints that are most affected by arthritis.
While working on joints that are the least mobile, take extra care to apply light pressure to help increase dexterity. Understand that it’s going to take several weeks for substantial mobility gains.
As you can see above, the benefits of hand massages for elderly people are many. Regardless of your specific symptoms, hand massages can be tailored to fit your needs.
Elderly people dealing with arthritis pain and lack of dexterity will see the greatest gains from daily hand massages, whether performed by themselves or from a caregiver.
If you’re able to afford it financially, hand massages from a licensed therapist can increase the speed and efficacy of your healing.
If you’re not sure of your ability to properly massage your own hands, there are tools available. These tools can help provide assistance for those that don’t feel they’ll have enough strength while performing their massage.
Depending on your specific pain, there are several options to choose from. We have put a few of them below.