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The Stretch-assager works!
The Stretch-assager works! Symptoms of CTS are often relieved or ameliorated quickly, sometimes within only a few days. My patients and I are impressed with these results.
Bobbie Mower, Chiropractic Physician, Portland, OR

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Please fax pricing inquiries on your letterhead to 770-926-9572 or call 770-926-9896. We accept Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, Check, Money Order and Purchase Orders inside the United Sates. We can only accept Credit Card orders outside the U.S.
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Stretching as a healing and health maintenance technique has been around for thousands of years. Ba Duan Jin (or The Eight Pieces Of Brocade), for example, was developed about a millennium ago and is used in China to this day. Stretching allows the muscles and other soft tissue structures to get fresh blood and dispose of lactic acid and other by-products of metabolism. These by-products not only cause pain if allowed to build up but, worse, can cause cell destruction.

The basics of why Carpal Tunnel Syndrome happens. As you may have already read on the What is R.S.I. page, continual tensing of muscles restricts blood flow. The lack of nutrients and a build up of waste products causes tissue damage and induces infection. Because of this, as well as a variety of other reasons, some soft tissues in the wrist may swell. However, the major ligament (click here for an illustration) that ties the bones of the wrist together does not automatically expand to accommodate the swelling. This creates pressure inside the wrist (carpal tunnel) which pushes against the median nerve causing it to be dysfunctional and, perhaps, permanently impaired. The pressure also restricts the blood flowing through the wrist which can further starve tissues of nutrients and retard healing. This condition is the well known Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or CTS. As this is a cumulative disorder, the longer the symptoms are allowed to linger, the more damage that is done. The usual approach to treatment is to try and reduce the swelling or enlarge the canal through surgery–or both.

Chiefly because most assume the transverse ligament doesn't stretch, the problem is traditionally approached with anti-inflammatory drugs, splints, rest and a surgical procedure that involves cutting the transverse ligament to release the pressure when it becomes unbearable. In fact, 260,000+ carpal tunnel release operations are performed each year making it the second most common work related surgery performed in the U.S. Unfortunately, the procedure's benefit can be reversed if the patient returns to a job requiring the same repetitive hand motion. One study showed 57% of patients reported a return of some symptoms. It is estimated that $25+ billion are paid in insurance claims each year. Other related costs can make that figure soar to over $100 billion. Worse yet, how many people can afford to change careers to one that doesn't need hands or even find such employment? Furthermore, what is the long-term loss to a patient's income if he/she has to start at the bottom in a new line of work? And what of the employer who has to train another to take the place of the employee who left.

Without question, prevention, in this case, is the best medicine and stretching the transverse ligament may be the best prevention as well as an excellent treatment. Stretching enlarges the carpal tunnel so the pressure created by the swelling is reduced. This enables healing blood flow to be restored and stops the median nerve from being compressed. Equally important, it can be done when the sufferer needs it most, as the symptoms are just beginning, or before a task that has been known to bring them on. By keeping the tunnel enlarged, the symptoms may never get to a critical level or may be stopped completely.

Stretching Exercise

Illustration #1. Muscle and Tendon Stretching Exercise Press down on any flat hard surface or against a wall. This exercise elongates the tendons which reduces pressure on the median nerve. It also stretches the muscles, thereby bringing in fresh blood. This is a good preventative measure but, for many, will not do much to relieve CTS symptoms.

Hand Manipulation

Illustration #2. Massage Technique for Stretching the Transverse Carpal Ligament. Position one's hands as shown on the hand of the sufferer. Slowly and gently rotate your wrists so that the sufferer's palms are stretched out and downward. This manipulation stretches the transverse ligament which enlarges the carpal canal and reduces the pressure on the median nerve. However, it requires another person to administer it and does not do much for reducing metabolic by-products that may have caused the problem originally.


Illustration #3. The Stretch-assager. Press in slowly with palm(s), keeping fingers relaxed. Our exerciser performs both techniques above simultaneously which maximizes the effect of both techniques and without the aid of an assistant. See below for details on the dynamics. Visit the How To Use page for more specific instructions.

There are, however, major drawbacks with using the first two techniques shown above. First, the manipulation shown in Illustration #2 has to be administered by another person. This can be disruptive or impossible in the workplace as it is best done when symptoms are just arising. In addition, the stretching desired may vary in terms of frequency and force even for the same person on the same day. So, the person administering the manipulation not only has to know how to apply it but has to be virtually on call. In addition, the manipulation can be effective in reducing the tingling during sleep times but has to be done just before retiring. Therefore, many who live alone cannot benefit from it. The exercise in Illustration #1 has the effect of elongating tendons and muscles, which helps reduce muscle tension and restore blood flow. However, although an assistant is not needed, the action of pressing the palm against the surface has little effect on the transverse ligament.

Our exerciser allows the user to perform both actions simultaneously for maximum effect. As shown at left, when the user presses on the exerciser with their palm, the elastometric material (specially designed, laminated, dual compression, polyurethane foam), on the sides of the wedge shaped cutout, pushes back on each side of the palm, mimicking the manipulation in Illustration #2. Because the transverse ligament resides under the base of the palm, it stretches as well, but without the need of an assistant. The user presses only as much as they wish and, as importantly, when they feel they need it–eliminating or reducing symptoms associated with pressure on the median nerve. Moreover, the user doesn't need to inconvenience anyone nor trust their hands to someone else. At the same time, they also receive the benefits of the exercise in Illustration #1. In our opinion, the effect of performing both actions simultaneously is much greater than either performed separately.

The exerciser provides 4 beneficial effects simultaneously:
1. It helps stretch the transverse carpal ligament, enlarging the carpal tunnel and thus reducing the pressure in it and on the median nerve.

2. It stretches the tendons and muscles of the hand, wrist and arm, elongating them and making them more supple, relaxed and less able to restrict blood flow or pressure surrounding nerves.

3. As you use it, the wider parts of the tendons in the forearm are drawn into the carpal canal for the duration of the exercise which assists in stretching the transverse carpal ligament.

By keeping blood flowing, the build up of lactic acid and other by-products associated with continually tensed muscles is stopped.

Our product may seem like a simple device but it took three years to develop. We knew from direct experience that the manipulation as shown in Illustration #1 had a remarkable effect on CTS symptoms and had its greatest benefit if performed when the symptoms first surfaced. Our original goal was to design a passive aid that wouldn't require any effort on the part of the user. However, the price of such a product would have been prohibitive due to the inherent complexity. After a rather serendipitous revelation, it occurred to us that we could combine a common hand exercise (Illustration #1) with one of the earlier concepts. After numerous manifestations and trials, we found that not only did this new design work better than our previous efforts but that it could be produced inexpensively.

We feel that, as the years go by, exercisers of this type will be commonplace. Even with ergonomically proper equipment and furnishings, millions of workers will hit their threshold of overuse frequently, especially as computer use continually rises.

As sellers of the Helping Hand, we are aware that our approach may not work for everybody. Obviously nothing does. Even though the effects are often felt within seconds and at most in a few days, we offer up to 30 days for the purchaser to try it out and, if not satisfied, we will return all their money promptly. It has been our goal to keep our product as low cost and financially risk free as possible. This is because we believe that many of the people that may benefit most, often have average incomes. Paradoxically, many of those at high risk of contracting RSIs are also the least likely to afford treatment or loss of income due to the disorder.

Comments! to customerservice@thehelpinghand.com.

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