Massage therapy eases symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and increases grip strength, according to a recent study.
"Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms are lessened following massage therapy" was conducted by staff at Touch Research Institutes at University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, Florida.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include pain, tingling, burning and numbness of hand. Sixteen people diagnosed with this syndrome participated in study. All of them held jobs involving heavy word processing or computer work.
Subjects were randomly assigned to either standard-treatment control group or massage-therapy group. Those in massage group received one massage per week on affected arm for four weeks. They were also instructed in self-massage, which they were to perform each night before bed.
The massage routine consisted of stroking of moderate pressure from fingertips to elbow. A massage and pain log was kept by subjects in massage group. In log, participants recorded times at which they began and ended self-massage, as well as their levels of pain on a scale from zero to 10.
Subjects in control group received no intervention, but were taught massage routine after study ended.
Physicians evaluated participants' carpal tunnel symptoms, such as tingling, numbness, pain and strength, at beginning and end of four-week study. The Tinel sign, which tests to see if light tapping of affected area elicits pain or tingling, was also used at start and finish of study. Physicians used Phalen Test at beginning and end of study as well. The Phalen Test involves flexing of wrists to see if numbness or tingling occurs.