The Writer's Handy Massage Guide

by Brent Woods

Being a writer is a job that some people dream of achieving their whole lives—and while it's fulfilling to do something you love (and more fulfilling to be able to make a career out of it), spending all day typing away at your latest manuscript can cause some serious hand damage. But you have to type (or write by hand) for your job—so what are you to do? If you're looking for a few hand massages that you can do yourself from the comfort of your own home, then here are a few that you should know about.

You'll Feel A Slight Pinch

But at least you'll be doing it to yourself, so you'll know exactly how much pressure you can use before it starts to hurt. Start by stretching your hands out and wiggling your fingers, just to make sure everything's loose, and take off any rings, watches, or other pieces of jewelry on or near your hands. Then, starting on whichever hand (and whichever finger) you want, place your pointer of your other hand on top of your nail and your thumb on the bottom. Pinch firmly until you feel pressure, but stop before you reach any pain. Hold the pinch for five seconds, and repeat on all five fingers of the hand.

Go back to your first finger and pinch again, this time holding to the sides of the top of your finger. Hold this again for five seconds before moving on to the next finger. Once you finish, repeat the process on your other hand.

Don't Thumb Your Nose at This

While your pinky provides most of the power in your grip, your thumb is almost definitely the strongest finger on your hand—so make use of it. Cup your hand slightly, then hold it with your other hand so that both your palms are facing upwards and your bottom hand's thumb is on top of your top hand's palm. Beginning at the heel of your hand (that meaty portion that's naturally under/next to your thumb, massage with your bottom hand's thumb in small circles. Press hard enough that you can feel the muscles in your hand under your thumb, but not hard enough to bruise. Slowly work from right where your thumb meets your palm, down and around the outside edge of your palm until you get back to where you started.

Switch hands and repeat. For best results, make sure your hands have a bit of lotion on them to soothe any possible irritation.

It's Worth the Wrist

Finally, focus on the part of your hand that takes the most abuse from repetitive typing motions: your wrist. First, cradle your wrist in your other hand and use your thumb to rub firm circles onto the inside of your wrist (where you would normally take your pulse). Do this for thirty seconds, then locate a small ball (tennis balls work best because they're soft, but any ball of approximately that size will do). Put the tennis ball down on a hard, flat surface, then put the inside of your wrist on it, so the back of your hand is facing the ceiling. Slowly roll your arm back and forth, keeping the ball firmly pressed against your forearm the entire time.

Not only will this feel really good to a sore wrist, but it will also help increase circulation in your arm to your wrist, as that circulation can get cut off by the edge of your desk or computer. After 2 minutes of rolling your arm, switch to the other hand and begin with your thumb again.

For more information on managing problems with pain, consider seeking pain treatment. Places like Regional Pain Care may be able to help.