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Let’s Get Rolling: 4 Self-Massage Techniques to Release Hand Tension

August 5, 2019

By Angela Kneale, OTD, MA, OTR/L, NBC-HWC

Body tension and stress often seem like inevitable problems in the modern world. To combat this, include ball rolling and self-massage techniques throughout each day to counteract some of the repetitive movements and poor postural habits associated with daily tasks.

Here are a few movements selected from the book, Ball Rolling for Happy, Healthy Hands, to begin exploring self-care techniques for hands, arms, shoulders, and neck. Remember to breathe deeply and fully, releasing tightness and tension during every exhalation. Choose the amount of pressure that feels best for you, while staying mindful of body posture and positioning.

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1) Top of Shoulder Roll & Release

Duke Integrative Happy Healthy Hands Workshop

Benefits: Releases tightness and tension, improves posture, enhances neck and shoulder mobility

  • Slowly roll the ball on top of your shoulder, pausing on any tight or tender regions. Explore pressing with light to moderate pressure, releasing tightness and tension. Lift the elbow with your supporting hand to effectively guide the rolling movements.
  • Try adding neck movement while gently pressing the ball into a tender point – slowly bend your neck sideways toward the ball, then slowly away from the ball, and return to neutral.

 

2) Outer Forearm Roll & Release

Duke Integrative Happy Healthy Hands Workshop

Benefits: Releases tightness and tension, improves elbow, forearm and wrist mobility, enhances arm function

  • Starting near your elbow, slowly roll the ball along your outer forearm toward your wrist. Pause and play on any tight or tender points. Try pressing the ball with very small, rhythmic side-to-side or circling motions, using light to moderate pressure.
  • Add wrist movement while gently pressing the ball into a tender point. Slowly extend and flex your wrist.

3) Thumb Roll & Release

Duke Integrative Happy Healthy Hands Workshop

Benefits: Releases tightness and tension, improves hand mobility and function

  • Starting near the base of your thumb, slowly roll the ball along the thumb region. Explore pressing the ball with light to moderate pressure and small, circular friction movements.
  • Add thumb movement while gently pressing the ball into a tender point. Slowly move your thumb toward and away from the ball.

 

 

4) Knuckle Decompress

Duke IM Happy Healthy Hands WorkshopBenefits: Releases tightness and tension, improves hand mobility and function

  • Place a ball between two fingers and curl your fingers to make a loose fist. Slowly and gently, squeeze two to three times. Repeat squeezing and letting go between each finger of both hands, including between your index fingers and thumbs.
  • Open your hands wide, extending and moving all fingers in a variety of directions.

After rolling, take a moment to notice any changes in your flexibility, ease of movement, comfort, and alignment. Ball rolling encourages the body-mind connection while discovering movements that feel good to your hands, arms, shoulders, and neck. Make it a habit to perform these movements daily and do not forget to have fun in the process. We are more likely to adopt new routines of self-care when they are enjoyable.

Register for a Ball Rolling Workshop

Try a ball-rolling workshop to learn how to release tension in hands and the body. This 2-1/2 hour experiential workshop introduces a fun and accessible method for providing self-care for overused hands. Each participant will receive four Small Health Balls and Ball Rolling for Happy, Healthy Hands instructional book to take home after the workshop. Learn more about Ball Rolling for Happy, Healthy Hands.

Duke Integrative Medicine provides customized, patient-centered healthcare that combines conventional medicine with proven complementary techniques to motivate and assist clients to optimize their health. To register for workshops or to learn more, visit dukeintegrativemedicine.org

Register Today!

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