Our hands are our most precious tools. Whether you throw javelins for a living or work at a desk, you use your hands every day for hours, and you really need them to stay healthy and functional. Here are a few ideas on how to achieve precisely that!
A few weeks ago, I wrote about skin rolling as a self-treatment tool. It’s perfect for the wrists and forearms, where most of the muscles acting on the hands and fingers are located. So take a moment from time to time, maybe once a week, to roll the skin of your wrists and forearms. I did a tiny bit as I was brainstorming for this post, and I can feel a clear difference!
A region that is often under quite a lot of stress is where the tendons of the finger flexors (the muscles that allow to to hang from a branch and to make a fist), which are extremely powerful, enter the hand proper (you might have heard of the term “carpal tunnel”). We can help maintaining looseness here by massaging the area in a way that “creates space”: pinch the mound of flesh on either side of you hand (near the pinky or near the thumb), and roll it away from the centre of your hand. Do that a few times on each side (that is, on the pinky side, and on the thumb side), and at various distances from your elbow.
Another way to reduce tensions around this area is to practice a few stretches. The most basic ones consist simply in relaxing one hand, and using the other to pull on its fingers one at a time. I usually rotate the relaxed hand gently from the elbow as I pull (as if I was a royal saluting the crowd). This is very gentle but can make your hand feel amazing afterwards!
If you play an instrument where you have to lift fingers quickly and precisely, or if you use a keyboard a lot, your fingers extensors will come under quite a strain. To stretch those, you can make a fist (leaving your thumb out of the picture), and use your other hand to bring it into flexion. Go at your own rhythm in terms of how far you go, and give priority to keeping the stretch (ideally 30 seconds or more), rather than force yourself further. Forcing is rarely a good idea in terms of stretching.
And finally, the fingers flexors we already talked about. For those, put your hands on the floor or a table with your fingers pointing towards you, and so that the soft skin on your forearms faces forward. And now bring your torso back gently, keeping the stretch in your wrists.
And with that, take care of your hands and life a full life!
Want more like this?Check out the following blogs from massage therapists I know from around London:
- On The Run Health and Fitness on running, nutrition and sports massage.
- The Soma Room on sports massage and exercise.