Improve your hand strength with MELT

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Jun 03

YOM Staff

Improve your hand strength with MELT

Posted by YOM Staff

Our stenography skills are nothing short of amazing; but there is no denying that perpetual, repetitive movements can cause muscle tightness, which then can cause the connective tissue in our hands to dehydrate and become less responsive. This can ultimately lead to stiffness, not just in the hands, but all the way up the arms to the shoulders and neck, and may take a toll on our body’s ability to function efficiently and stay pain-free. The constant, repetitive use of our fingers, especially our thumbs, is dehydrating this tissue, compressing the joints, and causing stiffness and aches up the chain of the body.

We all know we can do hand exercises or get physical therapy, but have you ever considered MELT?  A month ago I stayed at a wellness resort and discovered MELT for hands and feet.  MELT was developed by Sue Hitzmann, MS, CST, NMT, to keep her hands in top condition, but she found it changed her entire body, including her neck and shoulders.  At the beginning of the MELT class we were handed small and large soft balls and were shown how to assess, glide, and shear the hands.  The MELT instructor guided us through the exercises and then at the end we “reassessed.”

Surprisingly, these simple exercises did improve the strength in my hands (and feet).  Sue recommends doing the self-treatment techniques three times a week — even better, every day — to get immediate relief by rehydrating this tissue and reacquiring space in your joints.  Why not keep a small and large soft ball in your machine case and incorporate these exercises into your workday?

These techniques are simple and can be done quickly and easily.

  • Assess

    Place a large soft ball (about the size of a super ball) in one hand and squeeze 3-4 times. Then do this with the other hand.  Notice if your grip feels the same on both sides or if one hand has a stronger grip than the other.

  • Glide

    On a desk or table, place the large soft ball under your thumb pad and gently glide the ball from the thumb pad to your pinky pad with tolerable compression. Continue back and forth as you take two focused breaths.

  • Shear

    Create small circles under the thumb pad, then hold the compression as you take a focused breath. Repeat gliding and shearing on your other hand.

  • Knuckle Decompress

    Take the small soft ball (about the size of a jacks ball) and place it at the base of your first two fingers. Make a fist and squeeze the ball between your fingers 2-3 times. Repeat this between each finger.   Don’t forget the space between your pointer finger and your thumb. Switch hands.

  • Friction

    Rub one hand over the large soft ball in a light, quick, scribble-like motion. Switch hands.

  • Rinse

    Starting under your fingertips, slowly press the large soft ball toward your wrist, up your forearm, to your elbow 5-10 times. Switch hands.

  • Reassess

    Grab the large soft ball and make a fist again, then switch hands. Has your grip improved in balance or strength? If the answer is yes, you have made a positive change with self-treatment!

A MELT kit is available for purchase, but not necessary.  MELT is an interesting and exciting strategy to keep your hands in tip-top shape.   To learn more, you can locate a MELT provider here