If you experience pain, tingling, or neuropathy in your hands and feet, massage therapy may be helpful. This is especially typical among cancer survivors. A class facilitator and yoga instructor at Cancer Wellness, Mary Beth Kealy, MSN, APNC, CCIT, E-RYT, explains the advantages of hand and foot massage for neuropathy and how you can get the advantages at home.
Why does neuropathy result from cancer treatment?
According to Kealy, chemotherapy can cause hand and foot neuropathy in many patients. The farthest points in our circulatory system, the capillaries in our fingers and toes, are prone to obstruction by chemotherapy agents. Chemotherapy molecules may lodge and obstruct those areas, impairing blood flow.
Insufficient blood flow to the nerve endings in the hands and feet can cause them to become painful, sensitive, or numb, which may be a sign of neuropathy.
Massage for hand and foot neuropathy
She claims that massage is the best method for promoting blood flow. To try to improve circulation in the areas that might experience neuropathy is the whole point.
She points out that other activities, like knitting and physical activity, can increase blood flow in the body. This is due to the fact that the more active your muscles are, the better they can maintain blood flow to the nerve endings.
Massage, exercise, and knitting are good for circulation and may have a preventative effect even if you don’t have neuropathy.
“How-to” for hand and foot massage
According to Kealy, self-massage several times per day can help people with hand or foot neuropathy. She suggests the following methods because using your hands can be taxing:
- Roll your feet along the marbles that are in the bottom of a foot tub that has been filled with water and marbles (consider adding a few drops of essential oils).
- Use lotion to massage your hands and feet.
- Tennis or golf balls can be rolled between your hands and fingers or on the bottoms of your feet.
- With a partner, member of the family, or a friend, trade hand or hand massages.
She claims that receiving a massage both for oneself and to share with friends can be very empowering. It’s a healthy thing you can do for your body, she said.
Learn more about tips to keep your inner body through healthy eating habits