This DIY acupressure massage therapy is great for the numbness of the hands and fingers.
This is the third newsletter in an ongoing series that will help you alleviate various aches and pains with D.I.Y. massage. Katoka Massage Therapy knows that aches and pains can really take away from your abilities and overall happiness. We’re here to help you access some relief without having to leave the comforts and safety of your home.
Missed October’s DIY Acupressure Massage Therapy Series: How to Stay Focused and Productive at Work? Read it here.
What Does Numbness in the Hands and Fingers Mean?
Ever thought that you could injure yourself by doing office work? The reality is that you very easily can. Your body can experience strain from seemingly simple tasks. You don’t have to be lifting weights every day or doing hard manual labour to accidentally tweak something.
Under-use and over-use of your muscles are both perfect recipes for injury. Monotonous motions that are frequently repeated, body posture, and how you interact with your work environment are all actions that have an effect on your body. Is the light bulb in your head going off now with new theories for why you might have some pains or numbness?
These actions can start expressing their toll on your body in several different ways. Numbness in your hands, fingers, and arms is a typical reaction. Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), Carpal Tunnel, and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome are all explanations for some of the aches, pains, or tingles that you might be experiencing.
Why Does Numbness Happen?
More and more we rely on the convenience of technology. Consider how often you are at your desktop computer or laptop. How many times would you say you use your keyboard to type? How often do your click your mouse? When you’re on the go, are you holding your phone?
Each small action over time with enough repetition wears on our bodies. We’re also creatures of habit. Meaning you most likely sit the same way day after day, minute by minute, or hold your mouse in a specific way.
These habits consistently put a strain on your hand and upper body muscles, and body in general. It only makes matters worse if you’re not performing these simple tasks in ergonomic ways. So, it’s no surprise that some nerves might be pinched! This is exactly what causes numbness; damage, irritation, or the compression of nerves.
Numbness and What it Means
Let’s take a closer look at some of the underlying issues behind hand/finger numbness.
Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI): The NHS defines this as a general term used to describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons that is often caused by overuse or repetitive movements. RSI mainly affects the upper body including the neck and shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hands. Aside from numbness or tingling, you might also have symptoms including general pain, aching, or tenderness, stiffness, weakness, and/or cramps.
Carpal Tunnel: This is a syndrome caused by pressure on your median nerve which runs the length of your arm and through the passage in your wrist called the carpal tunnel and ends in your hand. The nerve is compressed by inflammation and swelling, causing numbness, tingling, or weakness in your hand. Every finger is controlled by the median except for your pinkie. As the syndrome worsens, the muscles in your hand shrink and you will likely experience less grip strength. Increased pain and muscle cramping can also be expected.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS): Your thoracic outlet is the narrow area between the base of your neck and armpit. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is a group of conditions that can put pressure on your arteries, veins, and upper chest nerves. This pressure causes symptoms such as pain, coldness, and numbness in your arm and hand. While carpal tunnel affects the wrist, TOS occurs where the arm meets the torso. Like RSI and Carpal Tunnel, repetitive motions and poor posture/body positioning puts you at risk. While not life-threatening, if left untreated you leave yourself open to further complications.
DIY acupressure massage therapy for numbness
Right now, you can try some acupressure relief! Whether you are reading this sitting at your desk, in bed, standing in line for your morning/afternoon coffee, give these DIY acupressure massage therapy a try to help relieve any numbness and tingling in your hands or fingers.
Inner Gate / Inner Pass or Nei Guan - PC-6
Measure two thumbs widths up your inner arm from your wrist crease. Press down firmly for a few minutes to start experiencing relief from numbness and tingling in your wrist, hand, and/or fingers. Repeat on your other arm. For best results, continue activating this point for three minutes, three times a day.
TRIPLE BURNER MERIDIAN (TRIPLE WARMER / TRIPLE ENERGISER / SAN JIAO)
Outer Gate / Outer Pass or Waiguan - TB5 (TE5 / TW5)
Measure three fingers width up from your wrist crease on the back of your hand. Using your thumb and forefinger, press this point in the middle of your arm for two to three minutes. Repeat on your other arm.
Note: as per the PC6 Picture You can press PC6 & TB5 at the same time
- Locate PC6 with your thumb.
- Put your thumb on PC6
- Locate on the other side TB5 and put your middle finger on it.
- Apply pressure
Broken Sequence or Lieque - LU7
Located on your inner arm below the wrist bone on the left side of the arm in the depression between the sinew and bone. Press gently for one minute or move your finger in a circular motion while applying gentle pressure.
5 CARPAL TUNNEL MASSAGES to Relieve Ache
The below video from Tware it shows how to locate acupressure points. By stimulating each acupressure point, you can help alleviate any pain or numbness you might be experiencing.
Some Lifestyle Hacks
Stretch, stretch, stretch! For TOS, focus on stretching the neck and chest to open those spaces. For Carpal tunnel and basic hand/finger relief, focus on stretching those areas. Rotate your wrist up and down and side to side. Stretch your fingers far apart then relax and repeat. Pull your thumb back gently, hold, then release. Repeat these stretches in reps. Maintain good posture at work and create a comfortable and ergonomic work environment. For example, ensure that your computer screen is positioned so that it causes the least amount of strain possible. Give a mouse pad with wrist support a try!
Good to Read: The Ultimate Guide to Ergonomics
Take regular breaks from long or repetitive tasks. Smaller, more frequent breaks do more favours for your body than one long lunch break.
“It's okay to be a glowstick: sometimes we have to break before we shine.” -Jadah Sellner
Newsletter by: Renée Schweizer
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Feel better in just a few minutes. Give it a try!