When it comes to ease, accessibility, and effectiveness, few “exercise” tools offer the versatility of therapy putty. What exactly is therapy putty? Similar to play-doh, therapy putty is comprised of a malleable synthetic dough that molds to touch, meaning it can be squished, rolled, squeezed, made into shapes, you name it.
The “therapy” part of therapy putty comes from its employment in occupational therapy and physical rehabilitation of the hand. Therapy putty comes in a bright variety of colors and can vary in degree of resistance, offering denser and denser options for more challenging hand exercises; see more info here > https://homemedicalreviews.com/therapy-putty. Even if you don’t require occupational therapy, this type of putty can still provide generous health benefits including:
Did you know much of the strength in your hand is actually controlled by the muscles in your forearm? Muscle loss and decreased dexterity and grip strength often accompany aging (or a hand injury) and can negatively impact your ability to complete even basic tasks like dressing and eating. Maintaining strength and flexibility in your forearm, wrist, and fingers is a key indicator of your own longevity and ability to remain independent.
As a hand-strengthening tool, therapy putty exercises both the forearm as well as tendons in the fingers which control grip and pinch. For people with chronic conditions like Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis which can severely impact hand functioning, therapy putty may mitigate those types of symptoms. For example, a 2016 study published in the journal of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation found that people with Parkinson’s who participated in a hand training exercise program using therapy putty experienced a significant improvement in hand dexterity and pinch strength.
Arthritis Pain Relief
People suffering from the chronic autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), are exceptionally keen on finding ways to limit joint pain in their hands and improve overall functioning. Using therapy putty to exercise the hands may aid in loosening joints, improving blood flow, and reducing inflammation.
The metacarpophalangeal joints, or the joints which connect your fingers to your hands, are often most affected by RA and symptoms can range from a numbness and tingling in the fingers to hand fatigue, joint deformity, swelling, pain, and tenderness. Routine activity using therapy putty may help strengthen muscles and tendons to limit the stress placed on these vulnerable joints, as well as tone flexibility and enhance grip strength.
Similar to squeezing a squishy stress relief ball, therapy putty offers the type of stress relief which comes with releasing built up tension. Part distraction, part exercise, playing with therapy putty can temporarily focus concentration, helping to divert negative thoughts and feelings away from the front of your mind.
As opposed to other hand exercises which can be monotonous and boring, therapy putty also offers a FUN alternative that is colorful, versatile, and easy to do. Not only that, but some therapy putty products even come in scented varieties to incorporate a whole nother sense into the stress relief equation.
Exercise Fine Motor Skills
If you’re looking for a fine motor skill activity that doesn’t require you to learn to knit or crochet, therapy putty may just be your solution. Being able to execute tasks with small, fine-tuned actions, like rolling therapy putty into a tube, twisting, and shaping it, plays a vastly more important role in brain health than you may know.
Experts believe that exercising fine motor skills helps in part to build a reserve of healthy brain cells and synapses which can stave off cognitive decline associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s. This not only improves daily living for seniors but may also combat associated depression and anxiety.
Therapy Putty Exercises
Great for kids and seniors alike, therapy putty exercises are simple, fun, and easy to adapt!
Scissor Fingers – Hold your forefinger and middle finger up like a pair of scissors and use them to “cut” through a ball of therapy putty in the air or resting on a flat surface. Repeat with the opposite hand.
Donut Time – Roll a portion of therapy putty into a short, snake-like log and then wrap around two fingers and squish the ends together (like a donut). Spread your two fingers to stretch the ring as far as you can. Repeat with another pair of fingers.
Freestyle – Turn the therapy putty into an assortment of shapes of your choice. Mold and sculpt it, and make sure to incorporate lots of squishing, twisting, flattening, rolling, pinching, gripping, and squeezing!
To get the most out of your therapy putty exercises, whether recuperating from hand surgery or managing arthritis, remember to practice them regularly and increase resistance levels gradually overtime to keep building strength and dexterity. You can find a multitude of therapy putty products available online or in some drugstores.