Reflexology and Carpal Tunnel – What every Reflexologist Needs to Know!

April 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Articles by Wendy

Every reflexologist needs to know about the carpal tunnel. It’s important because you’ll have clients that complain about it. Equally important – you want to avoid getting carpal tunnel syndrome yourself. And, if you already have it you need to be especially careful.

You’ve heard me say this over and over again – reflexologists don’t treat, don’t prescribe and don’t diagnose. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t know what’s going on.

Clients often hope that reflexology will be a magic bullet to their health woes. I can’t say it will be, and I can’t help but smile too.

Why? Because, most people report a reduction in pain and/or symptoms (for just about any condition in the body) with Hand Reflexology. That’s true for local issues on the hands too – even though they’re not our intended destination.

This is important – let me explain.

Carpal tunnel syndrome has probably been around since the beginning of time. It’s hallmark is pain and discomfort in the hand and even weakness in the forearm. The most likely cause is a nerve that’s being compressed in your wrist. As a medical condition, it can lead to numbness, wrist pain, parasthesia and weakness in the area.

There are 3 nerves that cross the wrist into the hand, but only two move through the carpal tunnel. One is the median nerve, which is responsible for sensation to the palm, the thumb and next three fingers (but not the little finger). This important nerve controls impulses to the muscles of the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to coordinate their movements.

Common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome are from irritation or thickening from injury or swelling in the wrist which narrows the tunnel. When this happens, it can cause the median nerve to be compressed.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome

Most often the symptoms of carpal tunnel will occur only in the parts of the hand supplied by the median nerve which include the first three fingers and half the fourth but not the little finger. This is useful to know because if the little finger is not affected, this may be taken as a positive sign for carpal tunnel syndrome, and not ulnar nerve compression.

Reports are that symptoms start gradually and are described as a burning sensation or an itching or numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers. The thumb, the index finger and the middle fingers are also implicated.

Some symptoms to watch out for are:

Pain in the fingers (less commonly in the palm), weakness, numbness or tingling in the hand

Forearm, wrist or palm pain

Pain or numbness that intensifies more at night than during the day. Some have reported that the pain will wake them from sleep and require them to shake out their hand or rub it to get some relief.

An increase in pain the more the wrist or hand is used

Difficulty gripping things

Thumb weakness

Fact: The incidence of carpal tunnel is three times more likely to occur in women than in men (possibly because the carpal tunnel in women may be smaller).


The causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are thought to be due to repetitive motions, work conditions or a number of other underlying medical problems.

Other causes that could lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are:

Inflammatory diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis at the wrist

Diabetes or other endocrine disorders including hypothyroidism


Wrist injury or fracture

Even alcoholism

Risk associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The following are risk factors associated with the development of carpal tunnel syndrome:

Intense or direct pressure to the wrist


Compression or a blow of high force

A joint position that is awkward

Too much or prolonged vibration

Working for too long in a constrained position

Poor ergonomics


If you, or your client has some or all of these symptoms – unless you’re a medical professional you cannot diagnose it.

In fact, when a client tells me they have carpal tunnel syndrome I always ask who made the diagnosis. It makes a difference whether it was a doctor or a specialist – or their aunt Betty or someone at the local gym.

There are a few simple tests that can be done to check general function of the wrist (you’ll learn those in the Hand Reflexology Workshop and more). This will help emphasize the importance for your client to seek the appropriate medical help.

Of course, early diagnosis and treatment are important to avoid risking damage to the median nerve (which at some point may become permanent).

A doctor will examine the neck, shoulders, hands and arms to see if the patient’s complaints are due to an underlying pathology or to activities.

In addition to examining the wrist for signs of swelling, tenderness, heat or discoloration each finger will also be tested for pain and sensation and the muscles at the heel of the hand will also be tested for strength and examined for signs of atrophy.

The routinly used laboratory tests and X-rays can be instrumental in revealing underlying issues such as fractures, arthritis and diabetes.

Treatment… to be continued next week.

As always, there’s so much more I’d like to share with you. I’ll be continuing with more great Hand Reflexology information in the next newsletter.

Or, take the last spot in my 2012 Hand Reflexology Workshop.

Here’s to your reflexology health!

Enjoy your wonderful Reflexology skills.

© Wendy Coad
Wendy Coad – Online health and reflexology expert and the “Reflexology Professor” publishes the popular “Reflexology Secrets, Tips and Techniques” weekly email newsletter to subscribers from around the world. If you’re ready to enjoy health, express creativity, gain knowledge and skyrocket your reflexology or holistic health career, get your FREE tips now at and join us at the top right corner.

To your reflexology success –

Reflex, Live Long and Prosper,

Creator of the Mega Reflexology Training


  • Wendy Coad

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!