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Instant Cure: Massage Your Fingers to Relieve Pain

Instant Cure: Massage Your Fingers to Relieve Pain

finger

    Self administered reflexology and acupressure are great ways to provide quick discrete relief for a variety of pain and symptoms without having to wait for an appointment, further impeding your routine, or touching sensitive areas where you are experiencing pain.

    Acupressure & reflexology

    You’re right! Acupressure sounds a lot like Acupuncture. It actually works on the same principles without the intimidation factor. Replace the needles with fingers providing moderate pressure and that’s it!

    Reflexology specifically is the use of therapeutic pressure massage in specific areas of our hands and feet to facilitate functional flow of energy, pain relief and optimal health. There are areas on our hands and feet called reflexes that correspond to specific areas of our bodies and even organ systems within our bodies. Often in areas that we feel pain there is a blockage of energy preventing health and wellness.

    Below are combined approaches of these two practices that you can use, at home or on the go.

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    Headaches & Migraines

    Valley of Harmony

      The tips of all four fingers, especially focusing on the area at the base of the fingernails, can help relieve head pain. Focus on the index finder (positivemed) and the webbing between thumb and index finger, often referred to as the Valley of Harmony (as shown).

      Sinus Pressure & Pain

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        With your palm facing you, bring your thumb to the pad of your finger (the part that touches keys when typing) and forefinger to the opposite side close to your cuticle. Squeeze and hold the tip of each finger 1-3 minutes with comfortably firm pressure. Lightly massage the area when done. Repeat on all fingers.

        For relief from symptoms of sinus pain, headache, dizziness, pressure, stuffy nose, and congestion. Have a tissue handy.

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        Neck Pain/Tension

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          Massage the middle part of each of your fingers between your furthest knuckle toward the base of your finger. Do this for each finger on each hand. Look at your hand and think of the tips of your fingers as your head, and as your work down your fingers you are working your neck and shoulders. Use a professional reflexology chart for reference if needed.

          Stomach Upset

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            Massage and warm up the whole thumb, as this responds to the stomach and spleen meridians. You can also apply direct pressure to hold in the center of your palm.

            Cold/Sore Throat

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              Warm up and massage the whole thumb. Extended pressure may be used on the meaty part of the web of your hand. Also apply specific pressure to the thumb on the tissue to the inside by the nail, as shown.

              Fatigue

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                Lightly massage the whole hand, followed by direct pressure of the point on your middle finger just below and on the side of your nail on the side closest toward the index finger.

                Menstrual Cramps/Abdominal Pain

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                  Lightly massage the whole hand, followed by direct pressure on the point on your index finger just below and on the side of your nail on the side closest toward the thumb. The second location for direct pressure is a point on your pinky just away from the nail on the cuticle line toward the outside (away from the rest of your fingers).

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                  Additional tips

                  1. General area warm-up:

                  RELAX. Then start by rubbing your hands together for a minute to increase the energy and sensitivity of your hands. Next, use the fingers and thumb of your opposite hand to gently massage and warm-up the skin and general area to be worked on.

                  2. Area of focus:

                  In the area of interest to work use your opposite thumb & fingers to provide comfortably firm pressure. (Caution: this area may be sensitive.) Hold the area for 1-5 minutes and repeat 1-5 times as needed, or daily for prevention.

                  *For more tender areas: Hold for 3-5 seconds. While maintaining pressure begin to slowly massage in small clockwise circles up to five times, then give the area a small break. This massaging should be moving the tissue, not merely rubbing the skin. Provide firm but comfortable pressure again for up to a minute then give the area a break. Repeat this process up to five times.

                  3. Stay hydrated

                  This is probably one of the most recommended and underutilized tips from massage therapists and bodyworkers, and it cannot be stated enough. Proper hydration allows for optimal tissue health, quality circulation, and to help facilitate the elimination of toxins released into the bloodstream post massage and otherwise. After all, our bodies are made up mostly of water.

                  Precaution

                  *If you are pregnant there are areas that can assist in stimulating uterine contractions, and unless in labor and supervised by a professional MT or doula, should be avoided. During pregnancy avoid deep pressure to the web of the hand. 

                  Featured photo credit: Healthy Food House via healthyfoodhouse.com

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                  Last Updated on November 11, 2019

                  How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                  How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                  Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

                  To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

                  Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

                  1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

                  Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

                  Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

                  To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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                  2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

                  Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

                  If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

                  Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

                  3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

                  Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

                  Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

                  4. Feed Your Brain

                  Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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                  This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

                  Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

                  Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

                  5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

                  According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

                  Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

                  Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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                  6. Write it Down

                  If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

                  It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

                  You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

                  7. Listen to Music

                  Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

                  8. Visual Concepts

                  In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

                  Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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                  Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

                  9. Teach Someone Else

                  Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

                  Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

                  10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

                  Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

                  So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

                  Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

                  More About Boosting Memory

                  Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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