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Massage Aha!

Professional therapeutic massage therapy in Kansas City, MO by Aaron Harris, BCTMB

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Improve Grip Strength With Massage

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Woman using hand grip strength to climb a rock
Rock climbers are an example of clients who could benefit from massage therapy to improve grip strength.

Massage therapy can significantly improve hand grip strength and endurance according to a recent study.

How often do you grip items doing your daily activities? How many doors have you opened today? Did you drive anywhere? How easy was it to get those martini olives out of the jar?

Do you play any sports like tennis, golf, or basketball?

Clients with chronic medical conditions, such as arthritis, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, or sprains and strains of the arm or hand can find these everyday mundane tasks extremely difficult.

Research Study

The effect of a single massage session on grip strength was studied in a 2016 research paper. The study focused on 44 healthy men between the ages of 18 and 25. The participants were divided into two groups:

  • Group one received five minutes of deep massage strokes and kneading of both sides of the forearms and hands.
  • Group two received passive range of motion techniques to the fingers, wrist, forearm, elbow, and shoulders.

Researchers measured hand grip strength and endurance using a grip dynamometer before and after each session of either massage or passive motion.

Hand Grip Strength and Massage Study Results

The study concluded that there was a significant improvement in hand grip and endurance after a single massage. There was no change in the passive movement group.

What This Means to You

There are many reasons that you might wish to improve your grip strength. Improving your golf game, finally being able to play that barre chord on the guitar, or the need to improve your martinis.

While this study didn’t specifically look at patients with neurological disorders or hand injuries, it’s not hard to imagine that similar results could be expected as long as the nerves are patent and sensation is intact.

The benefits of treating carpal tunnel syndrome with massage therapy are well known. Now, you can add a stronger handshake and improved grip endurance to the ever-growing list of massage benefits.

Reference

Ali M, Hosseini S, Rusaee M, Tabatabaee S, “The immediate effects of manual massage of forearm on power grip strength and endurance in health young men.” Pain Med. 2016 May 25; 15(2): 112-120

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