Hand Rehabilitation Relaxation Exercise

This hand rehabilitation relaxation exercise can be helpful for reducing arthritis pain, recovering from a hand injury, relaxing tired hands, or just keeping healthy hands limber. It is like a trip to the spa for your hands.

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Find the Relaxation Audio with Candi podcast on iTunes, on Google Podcasts, on YouTube, at http://relaxation-audio.libsyn.com, or wherever you get podcasts.

Try this relaxation audio just to relax and enjoy the feeling of having your hands totally relaxed and pampered, or to help with tired, painful hands. Useful for pain relief from arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, sprained fingers, or other hand injuries or conditions.

The hand rehabilitation relaxation exercise will begin with calm breathing and relaxation while you warm up your hands. Then, tendon gliding exercises, gentle range of motion, and self massage will allow you to completely relax your hands.

hand rehabilitation relaxation exercise

Important Safety Considerations

Before you begin this hand rehabilitation relaxation exercise or apply heat to your hands, there are some safety considerations to be aware of. Consult your physiotherapist, occupational therapist, physician, or other healthcare provider to make sure that heat and range of motion are safe for you. If you have a recent injury and swelling is present, heat might make the inflammation worse. Once you have confirmed that it is safe to apply heat to your hands, make sure the heat source is comfortably warm, but not too hot.

If you have reduced feeling in your hands, you will need to check the temperature with a thermometer and make sure it is not too hot. For this exercise, I suggest keeping the temperature no hotter than 125 degrees Fahrenheit, or 52 degrees celsius. You can still do this exercise without applying heat, so if you are not sure if heat would be helpful or safe for you, do not use an external heat source when you do this exercise.

Do not do any movements that cause or worsen pain. Make sure to do every exercise gently. It is okay to just move a little without going through the full range of motion. Be gentle, and listen to your body.

Hand Rehabilitation Relaxation Script

Let’s start the hand rehabilitation relaxation exercise.

Begin by getting something warm to heat up your hands. You can use a hot water bottle, a heating pad, a wheat bag, or even a bowl filled with warm water. Find something warm, and place it against your hands. Cover the front and back of your hands if you can. You do not have to apply heat. It will also work well just to cover your hands with a blanket. 

Sit with your hands in a comfortable position. Your fingers should be in a neutral position, loosely curved. 

As you allow your hands to warm up, let’s use calm breathing and muscle relaxation to let your body begin to relax.

Focus just on your breathing for a few moments. Observe your breathing, without trying to change it. Notice each breath moving in and out. 


Now concentrate on breathing slowly and smoothly.

(The script continues with breathing and muscle relaxation).

Tendon gliding exercises portion of the script

hand relaxed straight
Relaxed, straight

Now let’s focus on your hands. You can remove the heat source now. We will do some gentle tendon gliding exercises.

These allow the nerves and tendons to move, keeping your hands flexible. Do not do any movements that cause pain. Do these tendon gliding exercises gently.

Start with your elbows bent and your wrists straight. Hold your hands straight, with your hands and fingers in a straight line with your wrists.

Full fist

Full fist

Now gently close your hands into fists.

Open again straight.

And gently close again into a full fist.

Hold each position gently – just stretching the hand lightly and not using excessive force.

Table top shape

table top shape hand held like an L or duck beak
Table top shape

Now open your hands again, and keeping your fingers straight, bend at your large knuckles so your fingers are at a right angle to your hands.

Your hands should look like an upside down L shape, or a table top.

Remember to do each of these movements gently.

Straighten again, and then one more time, bend at the large knuckles into a table top shape, fingers straight.

Hook shape

hook shape hand with fingers bent so fingertips touch top of palm at base of fingers
Hook shape

Straighten out again.

Now bend your fingertips down to touch your hand, right at the base of your fingers.

Your large knuckles should be straight, and the rest of your fingers tightly bent, like a hook.

Straighten your fingers, and then bend again into a hook shape, touching your fingertips to the pad of your hand at the base of your knuckles.

Flat fist

flat fist with fingertips touching bottom of palm just above wrist
Flat fist

Straighten your hands.

Now make a flat fist by bringing your fingertips all the way down to the bottom of your palm, just above your wrist.

The small knuckles near your fingertips should be straight. Your large knuckles and middle knuckles will be bent.

Straighten your hands again, and then one more time, make a flat fist, bringing your fingertips all the way down to the bottom of your palm.

Full fist

Full fist

Straighten your hands, and gently make a full fist.

Straighten your hands again, and this time, spread your fingers and thumbs wide open.

Close and open your hands three more times now.

Start by closing into a fist, then open wide and stretch. Close into a fist, open and stretch. Last time; make a full fist, then stretch your hands open.

Video Demonstration of Tendon Gliding Exercises

Full Hand Rehabilitation Relaxation Audio

Below is just the relaxation audio. For a demonstration, view the video above.

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