The Untold Benefits of Hand Massage for The Elderly
Massage therapy helps you relax and to relieve pain. It can also relieve pressure on nerves, improve blood flow and restore normal joint movement.
But let’s get precise a bit; cause no one deserves it more than our precious hands.
Hand massage is suitable for those who use their hands a lot. Massaging the hands reduces muscle tension, and studies have shown that it reduces general pain. Hence, it is suitable for the elderly to regain their grip power.
Obviously, you do not need a hand massage on a daily basis but, getting a professional hand massage once a week can reduce the pain associated with different conditions such as arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and Neuropathy.
Here, at Living Maples, we have decided to take a closer look at the benefits of hand massage for the elderly.
Benefits of Hand Massage for the Elderly
Have you ever had a perfect massage that leaves you feeling fully refreshed and ready to tackle whatever life throws at you?
If so, you already know how powerful therapeutic touch can be. It feels good, eases muscle tension, and sometimes even alleviates physical pain. It also helps with stress and anxiety, boosts mood, and improves sleep.
As we age, we tend to decrease the amount of physical activity. Our hands are no longer as active as they used to be, which results in stiffer joints and muscles. Therefore, a hand massage is a great choice to get your grip strength back, reduce your blood pressure and control your stress level.
Below are some of the common conditions which can benefit from hand massage.
Arthritis is a disease characterized by severe pain and joint failure. Undoubtedly, when the elderly develop arthritis, they usually experience pain and joint dryness, swelling and decreased range of motion. Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys, and skin.
Each type of arthritis has its challenges. For instance, osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the elderly when the cartilage between the joints weakens. This condition can affect the hands, hips, knees, neck, and lower back.
Arthritis in the hands can be excruciating, and it reduces strength up to 75 percent. The seniors suffering from this type of arthritis may have difficulty in simple tasks such as opening a jar or grasping the doorknob to open the door.
Fortunately, the good news is that a hand massage can help you regain your grip strength. To relieve your arthritis pain, you can get a weekly professional hand massage and use self-massage tips at home every day.
A study was conducted on 200 people over 70 who received a weekly professional hand massage besides their caregivers’ daily massages. After four weeks, the results showed that massage therapy reduced the participants’ anxiety and depression and helped with their mood and sleep quality.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common wrist diseases that cause pain, weakness, numbness, and reduced wrist and fingers strength. This complication occurs due to pressure on the median nerve in the hand. Repetitive hand and wrist movements that put a lot of pressure on the hand’s nerves are the most important underlying cause of this disease.
People with this complication have difficulty performing their daily activities, indicating the importance of treating carpal tunnel syndrome.
Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome with physiotherapy relieves symptoms and restores hand strength to the pre-disease state. In addition to physiotherapy, hand massage is one of the best ways to treat this disease. Researchers have found that hand massage can reduce the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and help a person regain their grip strength and perform their daily activities more efficiently.
Neuropathy occurs when the body’s nerve fibres are damaged for various reasons. The disease causes problems for the affected person and sometimes causes the elderly to be excluded from the social arena. The disease’s clinical manifestations are different in individuals, and all seniors may not have the same symptoms because nervous involvement is variable. But keeping a careful eye on this is crucial since any negligence can lead to disability.
The symptoms of Neuropathy are different and depend on the type of nerves involved. If the motor nerves are involved in the elderly, the patient will no longer perform motor functions. The strength of the muscles decreases, causing the patient to have difficulty walking or lifting anything up. In severe cases, the elderly might lose the ability even to move their hands.
Furthermore, diabetes is the leading cause of Neuropathy, and some drugs such as the ones used for chemotherapy can damage the nerves as well.
Researchers analyzed the effect of hand massage on seniors undergoing chemotherapy. The results were astonishing because 50% of the patients who received a hand massage three times a week for four weeks reported improved symptoms and a considerable reduction in their pain.
How to Give a Hand Massage for the Elderly
First of all, hand massage does not require any special equipment, and you can do it anytime and anywhere you wish. Generally, seniors feel better by receiving massage therapy with oils or lotions.
It might be interesting to hear that some seniors prefer receiving a hand massage before bedtime since it improves their sleep quality, but you don’t need to limit your hand massage session to bedtime, and you can enjoy it anytime you wish.
To give yourself a hand massage, follow these steps:
-First, sit behind a table. Place one of your hands on the table and use the other hand to apply pressure.
-Then, use your palm to press your wrist toward the elbow. Massage both sides of your hand. If needed, you can extend the massage up toward your shoulder. This step acts as a warm-up for your muscles.
-Cup your hand around your forearm and place your thumb underneath. Make a pinching motion and move your pinching hand up and down. Repeat this procedure three times with moderate pressure on both sides of your forearm.
-Use circular motions and move your massaging hand up and down. You should repeat this step three times on both sides of your forearm.
-Move your thumb in a circular movement on the back of your hand, and then go on massaging your palm. Continue pressure with your thumb along both sides of each finger. You can use your thumb to massage the area between your thumb and forefinger.
Hence, depending on the condition you are suffering from, you can ask your physician or massage therapist to suggest the best massage technique.
Still, some seniors may feel a worsened pain during self-massage, so it is advisable to have another person give the massage.
A proper hand massage can help increase the overall productivity of your day and release serotonin in your brain. As you might already know, serotonin is the “feel-good” brain chemical we all crave more and more, particularly in our mature years.
Booking a massage appointment or getting some ointment and doing it yourself might be that one great idea you were looking for today.