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If pain keeps you up at night and complicates your efforts at sleep, a study shows that a simple method of massaging your own hand may get you to slumber land and keep you there.
Research at the University of Alberta shows that the traditional Japanese massage practice called shiatsu may help you sleep better and longer. The pilot study examined nine people suffering chronic pain who performed shiatsu pressure techniques on their own hands after going to bed.
“We know that sleep involves both physiology and learning. You don’t just flip a switch and go to sleep,” says researcher Cary Brown. “What we saw with this pilot is that it appears self-shiatsu may help your body to prepare for sleep and help you stay asleep for longer periods.”
Brown explains that people with pain may overcome their sleep difficulties by self-administering hand shiatsu. Hand shiatsu, when you do it to yourself, also helps banish the cacophonous thoughts that can interfere with sleep.
“One of the barriers to falling asleep for people who have pain is they worry about what’s going to happen and while you’re laying [sic] there you’re thinking about all these negative things, it occupies your attention,” Brown says. “This relates to research on attention in cognitive theory.”
Here’s a look at some basic shiatsu techniques that may help you sleep: