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How to Give Your Client a Hand Massage

December 19, 2014 0 Comments

Most people love a relaxing massage, and so here’s a general guide to perform a simple hand massage on your client. Depending on your client’s condition, frame of mind, physical state, age, and whether they are comfortable with you touching them – you would adjust the following simple hand massage to suit. For example, older people require a gentler touch – they have less muscle tone, can be suffering from arthritis, and have paper-thin skin which can easily tear.

  1. Check for any injuries on the person’s hands. If they have a cut or bruising, then obviously a hand massage is not going to be a welcome therapy. If you see inflammation in their joints, then perhaps another treatment is preferable. Some massage therapists soak the inflamed hand in cool water for around 2 minutes and then towel dry before they perform the hand massage. If there is no inflammation but your client’s hands ache, soaking them in warm water for around 5 minutes will loosen them up and prepare them for the massage.
  2. Check with your client how much pressure you can use. Do this through feedback as you touch their hand and fingers – their communication could be either verbal or non-verbal. If they give any indication that they are feeling pain, then ease off. Watch their face – do they grimace? Keep an eye on their breathing – do they catch their breath? Be aware of their body – do they wince?
  3. Apply a small dab of hand lotion or cream that you know for sure your client has used before with no side effects. You only need a small amount to make it easy to move your hands over their skin. Using too much makes it difficult to remain in contact with your client, and will only serve to make them feel oily and greasy later. This can be a hazard, particularly if they grasp something for their balance and slip right off. Remember it is always easier to add a little bit more cream if you need it later, than to wipe off excess.
  4. Gently spread the lotion or cream over the entire hand and wrist. You can even take it up their forearm to the elbow joint.
  5. With their palm down, gently run your thumb over the back of their hand making sure your strokes travel up their hand towards their heart. When you pull your thumb back down their hand (to begin your stoke again), do it lightly – barely brushing the surface of their skin, and then stroke again (making contact) towards their heart.
  6. Gently grasp each finger, one at a time, and massage out toward the fingertips. Take care around the joints, because this is where pain can be an issue. Depending upon the condition of your client’s hands, you can also gently rotate each finger, loosening up the knuckle joints.
  7. Forearms are an area that often get tired and achy Рparticularly if the person is performing tasks like holding a book to read, writing, knitting, crocheting, playing piano, typing on a keyboard, and holding a mobile phone. Begin at the wrist and use long gentle strokes up the arm, pushing the blood back to the heart. Remember to work on both sides of the forearm.
  8. Return to the hand and turn it palm up. Knead your thumb gently over the thick parts of their palm. Your client may be surprised at how much tension is in this area and how painful it can be.
  9. Massage each finger right to the end.

Remember throughout the hand massage to ask for feedback on the pressure, and pay attention to their non-verbal responses as well.

Often patients and your clients can feel isolated, particularly if family or friends’ visits are scarce. One of the basic human needs is touch. Of course your clients could be touched by nurses, medical practitioners, and carers during the day to day routine, but its not the same as a warm hug or an arm linked through theirs. On top of the obvious benefits of a hand massage – being relaxation and increased blood flow – it can take care of that need for connection and the desire for touch.

Filed in: Therapies

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