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While reading the book Climbing Injuries Solved, I came across a passage about finger massage rings — small metal rings meant to be rolled up and down your fingers. Supposedly they could be used to help heal finger injuries and control swelling.
Skeptical but intrigued, I decided to buy some of these rings and try them out for myself. I also did some research on their effectiveness.
Here’s what I learned.
Note: I’m not a medical professional of any kind, just an injury-prone climber. If you’re badly hurt, go see a doctor!
The Best Acupressure Finger Massage Rings
Over the past couple weeks I’ve been trying out the following massage rings which are available online:
At first I thought they’d all work about the same. I was wrong.
The Goda rings are by far my favorite because they’re narrower and spikier than the other options which helps them dig into your fingers better.
If you’re interested in trying out acupressure rings the Goda rings are the ones I recommend.
Only one thing to watch out for: don’t roll your thumb with them. I decided to do so out of curiosity and one of them broke after a couple days due to being overstretched.
How to Use Finger Massage Rings
- Put the ring on your finger.
- Roll the ring down to your knuckle and then back up to your fingertip while pressing into it gently. In her book Climbing Injuries Solved, Dr. Lisa Erikson recommends rolling “more heavily towards the heart.”
- Repeat for five rolls total. Dr. Erikson goes on to say that “treatments need not last more than a set of five rolls done for 3 seconds at a time.”
- Repeat for each finger.
2 Intriguing Case Studies of Acupressure Rings Helping Climbers Heal From Finger Pulley Injuries
While researching how climbers use finger massage rings I came across a couple intriguing case studies of the rings helping climbers heal their finger injuries.
1. Torn A2, 3, & 4 Pulleys in Left Ring Finger
Dusty Glasner, a climbing blogger, detailed in his review of the Spiky Finger Massager how finger massage rings helped him recover from torn finger pulleys:
“After using a Spiky, the pain went away and I had full range of motion. At first, this was only temporary – but with a surprisingly short period of time and continued caution with my climbing, my fingers felt completely healed. For reference, when I started using a Spiky, my fingers still felt injured, and I was still taping regularly; one month later, I was placing 6th in Advanced at the Portland Boulder Rally. Quite a turnaround.”
2. “Bad A2 Injury” in Right Ring Finger
A redditor shared their experience with finger massage rings:
“I purchased some and I used them to massage the finger up and down ,and [sic] after a night of sleep, the finger feels SIGNIFICANTLY (more improvement over one night than the previous 3 weeks) better.”
They also say that the rings worked better than resting and alternating cold and warm baths.
What’s the Science?
When I asked a friend to film me using one of these rings for the above clip, they asked me what it was. I explained.
Their response was pure skepticism: “I dunno…sounds a bit hokey to me.”
They’re absolutely right. These rings do indeed sound hokey. They supposedly even have their origin in Chinese medicine — not very reassuring.
However, for a couple reasons I put my skepticism aside long enough to give these rings a try.
Second, Dr. Erikson explained in a blog post why she recommends finger massage rings: they can be used for swelling control and the recreation of inflammation. According to her both effects have “medical support via research.”
“As research is based mostly on modalities that make money (drugs, therapy in office), there has been no research on this tool however the mechanical pressures/irritation to the region relates to research that is supportive.”
Ultimately I adopted the “why not?” sentiment and decided to try them out.
My Personal Experience Using Finger Massage Rings
Ever since getting wrist surgery and being unable to climb for two long years, I’ve been on the hunt for simple ways to prevent climbing injuries.
I don’t have any finger injuries myself and want to keep it that way. Thus I can’t speak to the usefulness of these little rings in recovering from climbing-related finger injuries.
What I can say is that using these rings is exceedingly easy. Some of my physical therapy exercises are quite time-consuming, so I appreciate being able to massage all my fingers in just five minutes a day.
After using them my fingers have slightly more range of motion, though they aren’t too restricted to begin with.
The rings leave marks which quickly fade while my fingers remain slightly red for the next few minutes, as if blood flow to the area has increased.
My fingers aren’t in terrible shape so the improvement for me isn’t huge. I use them instead as a preventative measure. Their low cost and ease of use means I’ve added them to my daily treatment routine.
The Bottom Line
First off, don’t be dumb. If your finger is badly hurt go see a doctor.
If you want to try out finger massage rings, I recommend the Goda Acupressure Massage Rings. They’re available online and my favorite of the three options I tested.
Then simply start rolling the rings up and down your fingers. Dr. Lisa Erikson recommends five rolls per finger done for three seconds at a time.
According to an article on Dr. Erikson’s blog there is “medical support via research” regarding the benefits of swelling control and the recreation of inflammation, both of which massage rings apparently do. There is also some intriguing anecdotal evidence of these rings helping climbers recover from finger injuries.
The rings are cheap, easy to use, and potentially effective. In my opinion you don’t have much to lose by trying them out. Consider adding them to your cart next time you need to meet the free shipping minimum.