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Arthritis can be a frustrating and painful chronic condition. When you have arthritis in your hands, the associated pain and stiffness can be debilitating.

Once-simple daily tasks, like buttoning your shirt, working a doorknob, or opening a jar can become difficult or even impossible. This disruption to your abilities can reduce your quality of life.

Increasingly, research is showing the benefits of massage for arthritis.

A 2011 study sought to determine the benefits of massage for hand pain. Compared with a control group, participants had less pain and greater grip strength after 4 weeks of massage therapy. The massage therapy group also had greater improvements in their rates of anxiety, depressed moods, and sleep disturbances.

A 2017 study of 18 participants with osteoarthritis of the knee found that massage beneficial for pain relief. It also found massage provides relaxation, improved quality of life, and a sense of empowerment due to an improved ability to complete daily tasks.

Massage is even recommended as a treatment by the Arthritis Foundation.

Here, we’ll explore massagers for relieving pain and stiffness associated with arthritis of the hands.

  • Firsthand experience. I have chronic joint pain due to Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (hEDS), so I have a collection of self-massagers. I also included products I have personally tried and benefited from.
  • Cost. This list includes products from a variety of price points to provide options for every budget.
  • Expert advice. Peer-reviewed research, clinical studies, and certified medical advice guided these picks.
  • Safety. None of these products have been recalled or subject of a class-action lawsuit.
  • Variety. There are many kinds of hand massagers (manual, electric, compression, etc.), so these products’ features are unique from each other.
  • Online reviews. Using my trusty Fakespot Chrome extension, I filtered out products with suspicious or doctored reviews. I perused reviews for common themes and included relevant ones below.

Best acupressure hand massager

Lunix LX3 Cordless Hand Massager

  • Price: $$$
  • Customer callouts: 4.3 stars out of over 4,500 Amazon reviews

The Lunix LX3 Electric Hand Massager is a high-end model with lots of exciting bells and whistles to try out. Customize your relief by choosing from 6 levels of massage and intensity, with optional heat up to 107℉.

This massager uses compression acupressure therapy, which can help blood circulation and reduce numbness. The Lunix LX3 comes with a bonus manual hand massager and is charged via USB.

Best heated hand massager

Comfier Cordless Hand Massager with Heat

  • Price: $$
  • Customer callouts: free shipping and free returns within 30 days

In addition to massage, the Comfier Cordless Hand Massager boasts both heat and compression options. Choose from three options each for pressure, intensity, and heat for your hand massage.

This massager is designed to encase the entire hand, so you can soothe your knuckles, fingers, and palm all at once. The internal battery is rechargeable using the included USB cable.

Best cold therapy hand massager

iECO Cryosphere Cold Massage Roller Ball

  • Price: $
  • Customer callouts: long lasting cold and the lack of dripping (like with regular ice)

Freeze the roller ball for 2 hours for up to 6 hours of cold therapy relief. The large rubber grip makes it easy to hold in your palm — especially important if you have arthritic hands.

The ball is made of food-grade stainless steel and filled with nontoxic cooling gel. Once cold, you can use the ball to massage your hands, wrists, or any part of your body that needs relief.

As a bonus, you can also use this for 20 minutes of warm therapy by placing your ball in hot water for 5 to 10 minutes.

Best all-around hand massager

Healsmile Electric Hot Compress Recovery Massager

  • Price: $$
  • Customer callouts: great for rehabilitation and physical therapy for stroke patients

This unique Healsmile hand massager looks like a fingerless glove wrapped around a rubber ball. Though it might look a little strange, it’s a powerful hand massager. It’s particularly good for those with limited dexterity, or those who are recovering from a stroke or hand surgery.

To use this massager, attach the wrist strap (with built-in aluminum bar support), insert your fingers into the finger loops, and grip the textured ball. Use the wired remote to turn on the vibrating massage, choose from 5 intensity levels, and activate the heat setting.

Best manual massager

Lure Essentials Finger & Wrist Acupressure Massager

  • Price: $
  • Customer callouts: praised for its portability and relief

This inexpensive manual massager is lightweight and portable, perfect for storing in a purse, car, or desk drawer.

I own a massager similar to this one, and I like using it after a lot of typing. The company website claims this massager can increase grip strength, finger mobility and flexibility, and fatigue, while decreasing inflammation, pain, and fatigue.

The cooling magnet roller ball on one end can be used to massage anywhere on the body, including the face.

  • Professional massage. If you need something more hardcore than self-massage (like if your hand arthritis makes self-massage painful or impossible), consider getting a professional massage. There are massage therapists who specialize in chronic pain, arthritis, and trigger point work. Ask your friends, doctor, or physical therapist for recommendations.
  • Hand exercises. Hand exercises can help improve hand muscle strength, improve hand function, and increase flexibility. Discover seven hand exercises for arthritis here.
  • Heat. Heat therapy is also recommended by the Arthritis Foundation. Heat can ease stiff joints, relieve muscle aches, and increase circulation. Several of the massager picks above include a heat feature.
  • Ice. Cold therapy is a common way to reduce symptoms. Check out some benefits of ice for arthritis and joint pain here.

Arthritis of the hands can be difficult to manage, but there’s hope. Be patient with yourself as you explore all the different options for managing your pain and stiffness. Self-massage can be a beneficial tool for managing arthritis, but it’s not the be-all, end-all.

Think of self-massage as a tool for your arthritis relief toolkit. The more techniques and products you try, the more knowledge you’ll have about the best solutions for you. Good luck, and may your pain relief toolkit runneth over.