Tremors in hands, Essential Tremor (ET) & others, TARDIVE DYSKINESIA (TD) Massage for

A client of mine has right-hand tremors so I wanted to do some research on tremors and this is what I found.


Discuss the science and the research of different types of tremors in hands.
Hand tremors are involuntary rhythmic movements of the hands or fingers and can be caused by various underlying conditions. Understanding the science and research behind different types of hand tremors is crucial for proper diagnosis, management, and treatment. Here, we’ll discuss some common types of hand tremors and the scientific research associated with them:
  1. Essential Tremor (ET):
    • Definition: Essential tremor is the most common type of tremor and typically affects the hands, although it can also involve the head, voice, and other body parts.
    • Research: Studies have suggested that essential tremors may be related to abnormal brain circuitry, particularly involving the cerebellum. Genetic factors have also been implicated in its development. Research is ongoing to better understand the neurobiology of ET and to develop more effective treatments.
    • What is the cerebellum?

      Your cerebellum is a part of your brain located at the back of your head, just above and behind where your spinal cord connects to your brain itself. The name “cerebellum” comes from Latin and means “little brain.” For centuries, scientists believed your cerebellum’s job was to coordinate your muscle movements. Advances in technology have shown that your cerebellum does much more than that. There’s much that scientists are still trying to understand about the cerebellum, including all the ways it works with the rest of your nervous system.
    • What does the cerebellum do?

      Scientists started analyzing the cerebellum more than 200 years ago by studying people or animals with cerebellum damage. They found people with this kind of damage usually had trouble keeping their balance while standing or walking, or they’d have trouble reaching for objects because their hands would miss an object they were trying to pick up. Over time, scientists started finding evidence that cerebellum damage could have other effects. They found that damage could make it harder for a person to learn new words or skills. Damage to your cerebellum can interfere with judging the size of or distance from objects. It can also affect your sense of timing. As an example, people with damage to their cerebellum may have trouble repeatedly tapping their fingers, causing them to tap too soon or too late from beat to beat. Advances in technology have done even more to improve experts’ understanding of the cerebellum. Now, scientists can image a person’s brain activity while that person does a certain task. What scientists have found (so far) is that different parts of your cerebellum are more active depending on what you’re doing at the time. They’ve also found that your cerebellum plays a role in emotions and how you make decisions.
    • Can you live without a cerebellum?

      There are cases of people born with cerebellar agenesis, which is being born without a cerebellum. This condition is extremely rare. Many people with it have only minor effects. They can walk and have lives that are more or less like anyone else’s. Others have severe symptoms and will need constant medical care for their entire life. People can also survive injuries or diseases that damage their cerebellum, but it’s common for them to have long-term or permanent issues.
    • You may not have heard of essential tremor, but it’s a very common medical condition that affects millions of people in the United States. Essential tremor is a movement disorder that causes involuntary shaking, usually in the hands, head, or voice. It can also affect other parts of the body, such as the legs or trunk.

      Unlike other movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor is not associated with any other medical conditions or diseases. It can occur at any age and may run in families. It’s one of the most common inherited chronic conditions.


      Essential tremors can impact daily living by making simple tasks like writing or eating difficult. It can also cause embarrassment and social isolation for those who suffer from it. But don’t worry—there are treatment options available that can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. In this article, we’ll go over the warning signs of essential tremor, its possible causes, diagnosis, and treatment options so that you can be better prepared to take action against this condition if needed.

    • The 5 Key Symptoms of Essential Tremor You Need to Know About

      Are your hands shaking more than usual lately? Do you find it difficult to hold objects steady or perform routine tasks like buttoning your shirt or drinking from a cup? If so, you may be experiencing essential tremors. Here are five key symptoms you need to know about:

      • Trembling Hands
        The most common symptom of essential tremors is shaking hands, which can make simple tasks like writing, typing, and pouring liquids difficult. Unlike normal hand tremors that are caused by anxiety or stress, essential tremors usually occur when your hands are at rest.
      • Vibrating Voice
        Another warning sign of essential tremor is a quavering voice that sounds shaky and weak. People with this condition often have difficulty speaking clearly and projecting their voice.
      • Nodding Head
        Essential tremors can also cause your head to shake or nod involuntarily, especially when you’re trying to hold it still. This can be embarrassing and affect your self-confidence in social situations.
      • Unsteady Balance
        Essential tremors can affect your coordination and balance, making it harder to walk or climb stairs without stumbling or falling. This symptom can be especially troublesome for seniors who are already prone to falls.
      • Jerky Movements
        Lastly, essential tremors can cause jerky movements in other parts of your body besides your hands and head, such as your arms, legs, or torso. These movements can be unpredictable and interfere with your daily activities.


      If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional who can diagnose whether it’s an essential tremor or another condition that may have similar symptoms.

    • If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with essential tremor, you may be curious about what causes this condition. While scientists have yet to discover an exact cause, research suggests that it may be a result of genetic factors, environmental influences, or a combination of both.

      Essential tremor tends to run in families, which implies that specific genes may increase the risk of developing this condition. However, not everyone with these genes may develop essential tremor. Other factors such as age, medications, and health conditions could also contribute to its onset.


      Medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders may cause tremors in addition to essential tremors. Conditions like Wilson’s disease can also lead to tremors but are usually accompanied by other symptoms like liver disease or psychiatric disorders.

      In rare circumstances, essential tremors can develop due to chronic conditions such as thyroid problems or multiple sclerosis. However, in most cases, the cause remains unknown.

    • Diagnosing and Treating Essential Tremor: Your Complete Guide

      If you suspect that you may have essential tremor, it’s important to seek medical advice as soon as possible. Healthcare professionals can diagnose essential tremors by conducting a physical exam and reviewing your medical history. They will ask about your symptoms and may perform different tests to confirm the diagnosis.

      A common test used to diagnose essential tremor is a neurological examination. During this exam, the healthcare provider will assess your reflexes, muscle strength, coordination, and balance. Another test commonly used is an electromyogram (EMG). During this test, a small needle electrode will be inserted into the muscle tissue to measure its electrical activity. This helps determine whether the tremors are due to a nerve or muscle disorder.

      If you are diagnosed with essential tremor, there are various treatment options available depending on the severity of your symptoms. Medication is often the first-line treatment and can help reduce tremors or other associated symptoms like anxiety. Therapy can also play a crucial role in managing essential tremors. Physical therapy can help improve muscle control and coordination while occupational therapy can assist with everyday tasks like writing or eating.

      In addition to medical treatment, making certain lifestyle changes such as avoiding caffeine or alcohol, regular exercise, and stress reduction techniques like meditation or yoga could help manage symptoms of essential tremor. It’s important to remember that essential tremor is a chronic condition but with proper management, individuals diagnosed with this condition can lead normal lives without much disruption.

    • In conclusion, you now know what essential tremor is and why it’s important to be aware of it. Remember the 5 key symptoms of essential tremors—shaking hands, head nodding, voice tremors, shaky legs, and trembling chin. You understand what can cause essential tremors, including related medical conditions or genetic predispositions. If you suspect you have essential tremor, seek medical advice as soon as possible. Your healthcare provider can diagnose your condition and recommend the best treatment options for you. Effective treatments are available for this chronic condition that affects millions of people worldwide.
    • Here are 10 hand tremor causes that everyone should be aware of.

      1. Caffeine Toxicity

      There are plenty of people who swear that they can’t start off their day with a cup or two of their favorite coffee; eventually, these people will find that they are also relying on coffee to get them through the morning crunch, then finally through the afternoon slump – and eventually, they will be drinking eight, twelve or more cups per day.

      People might even switch directly from drinking coffee to something much stronger like energy drinks or caffeine tablets: This can have a whole range of side effects, including heart palpitations and chest pain. You could also be putting yourself in the danger zone for a heart attack if you have consumed too much caffeine, especially if you already have some underlying form of heart problem that you might not have known about.

    • 2. A Pinched Nerve

      If you have been experiencing a tremor and can’t find the cause, then you could have a pinched nerve that’s causing the tremor – especially if the tremor is only occurring in one of your hands. There are a few other symptoms that tend to go along with a pinched nerve, including tingling or numbness in the elbows or fingertips: This could be a possible pinched nerve in your neck, back, shoulder, or elbow – sometimes even in your wrist. The best course of action, if you suspect that a pinched nerve is behind your tremor, is to seek professional help and to apply regular heat compresses in the meantime to alleviate the symptoms of discomfort and pain that you might experience. You might also want to combine this with anti-inflammatory medication to reduce pain and swelling.

    • 3. Medication Side-Effects

      If you are experiencing a sudden tremor where you have never had any problems before, then the first thing you should ask yourself is if you have been taking any new medications; there’s a very good reason why doctors will ask you this first when they are presented with a list of your symptoms. Medications can often have plenty of contraindications where they clash with conditions or medications, and they might even experience a range of side effects. If you suspect that it might be a medication that’s causing your tremors, the first thing you should do is read the inner leaflet of the medication and look for the contraindications and side effects section. The second step is to get in touch with your doctor: They should be able to find the root cause of the tremor and recommend another medication that will not cause these contraindications or side-effects. Remember: Never stop taking any kind of medication without contacting your doctor.

    • 4. Underlying Heart Problems

    • 5. Parkinson’s Disease

      Parkinson’s Disease is a neuron-condition, which means that it’s a condition that directly affects the brain; tremors are one of the most common symptoms that are associated with Parkinson’s disease, though the disease also has plenty of other symptoms associated with it which can include depression, mood swings, changes in appetite and a very common gait associated with Parkinson’s disease in the later stages of the disease. You are at special risk for Parkinson’s s disease if you have a family history of the disease already. There are several other conditions that might make Parkinson’s onset happen quicker: If you suspect that you might be suffering from Parkinson’s or be in the early stages of the disease, then you should make an appointment with your doctor. The condition can be treated, though ideally with the earliest medical intervention possible – and some medication and lifestyle changes to complement the form of treatment.

6. Stress

  1. Parkinsonian Tremor:
    • Definition: Tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease typically occur at rest and are often described as a “pill-rolling” tremor. These tremors usually start in one hand and can spread to the other side.
    • Research: Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the loss of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain. Research has focused on developing therapies to restore dopamine levels and improve motor control. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) and medications like levodopa have been used to manage Parkinsonian tremors.
  2. Dystonic Tremor:
    • Definition: Dystonic tremor is associated with dystonia, a movement disorder characterized by sustained muscle contractions. It can affect various body parts, including the hands.
    • Research: Dystonic tremor is thought to result from abnormal signals in the basal ganglia, a brain region involved in motor control. Treatment may involve medications, botulinum toxin injections, or surgical interventions.
    • What are the basal ganglia?

      The basal ganglia (pronounced “bay-sal” or “gang-lee-uh”) are a group of structures near the center of your brain that form important connections. These connections allow different areas of your brain to work together. The basal ganglia manage the signals your brain sends that help you move your muscles.



      What do the basal ganglia do?

      The basal ganglia are best known for how they help your brain control your body’s movements. However, ongoing research continues to uncover other ways that the basal ganglia interact with other parts of your brain. Though experts continue to uncover more about the inner workings of the basal ganglia, there’s much about them that remains unknown.


      The basal ganglia are a key part of the network of brain cells and nerves that control your body’s voluntary movements. They can approve or reject movement signals that your brain sends, filtering out unnecessary or incorrect signals. This lets you control certain muscles without also using other muscles that are nearby. If the basal ganglia approve a signal, it continues to the motor pathways, the nerves that eventually carry the signal down your spinal cord and nerves to their destination muscle. If they don’t approve the signal, they redirect it into an area where other brain cells dampen those signals until they stop. The parts of your brain that process information from your senses, namely sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, also send that information to your basal ganglia. That sensory information helps the basal ganglia refine your movements further.


      Another job of the basal ganglia is processing how you evaluate goals and risks. It also processes signals that affect your emotions and your motivation. That means it also plays a role in learning and forming habits, planning and carrying out tasks, and more.

      Reward and addiction

      Because the basal ganglia involve processes like emotions, motivation, and habits, they also affect how you learn and how you feel in response to things happening around you. That includes feeling good (reward) about something you do or feeling the need to avoid something. Because of the involvement of your brain’s processes with rewards, habits, and motivation, the basal ganglia also have a role in illnesses like addiction.
  3. Orthostatic Tremor:
    • Definition: Orthostatic tremor is characterized by rapid tremors in the legs and, sometimes, the hands when standing still. It often improves with walking or sitting.
    • Research: The exact cause of orthostatic tremor is not well understood. Some research suggests it may involve abnormal activity in the cerebellum or the thalamus. Management strategies include medications and physical therapy.


      • The thalamus, or the dorsal and ventral thalamus collectively, are two oval structures made up of gray matter at the base of the cerebrum. This structure’s primary function is as a relay center through which sensory nerves transmit signals from the spinal cord and brainstem on the way to the cerebral cortex.
  4. Physiological Tremor:
    • Definition: Physiological tremor is a normal, low-amplitude tremor that everyone experiences to some degree. It can be exacerbated by factors like caffeine, stress, fatigue, or medications.
    • Research: While physiological tremor is considered a normal variant, research has explored the factors that can influence its amplitude and frequency. Understanding these factors can be important in differentiating pathological tremors from benign ones.
  5. Psychogenic Tremor:
    • Definition: A psychogenic tremor is a tremor that is believed to have a psychological or emotional cause rather than a neurological one.
    • Research: Research on psychogenic tremors often involves psychiatric and psychological evaluations to identify underlying emotional or psychological factors. Treatment typically focuses on addressing the underlying psychological issues.
  6. Other Tremor Types:
    • There are other less common tremor types, such as neuropathic tremors (associated with nerve damage) and Holmes tremors (resulting from brain lesions). Research on these tremor types often involves understanding the underlying causes and developing targeted treatments.
In conclusion, the science and research behind different types of hand tremors are multifaceted and involve studying the underlying neurological, genetic, and environmental factors. Advances in neuroimaging, genetics, and neuroscience have contributed to a deeper understanding of these conditions and the development of more effective treatments for individuals experiencing hand tremors. It’s essential for individuals with hand tremors to consult with medical professionals to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate care and management.




Abnormal dopamine signaling in the brain can cause TD movements in the:
  • Lips
  • Jaw
  • Eyes
  • Tongue
  • Torso
  • Upper Limbs
  • Lower Limbs
It means having body movements you can’t control. TD is not a side effect. It’s a condition where people experience mild, moderate, or severe uncontrollable movements in different parts of their bodies. Even mild movements from TD could have emotional and social consequences.* They can cause worry, frustration, and self-consciousness. It’s important to know that treatments are available to help you manage your TD movements.

*Results based on a survey of 397 people diagnosed with TD (n=173) or suspected of TD (n=224) who were asked, “Tardive dyskinesia may impact you in many different ways. To what extent has tardive dyskinesia impacted you in each of the following areas?” Answers ranged on a scale of 1 (not impacted at all) to 7 (extremely impacted)

Discuss the science, research, and benefits of massage for tremors, hands

Massage therapy is a widely practiced approach for promoting relaxation, reducing muscle tension, and alleviating discomfort in various parts of the body. While massage may offer temporary relief and relaxation, it’s important to note that it is generally not considered a primary treatment for medical conditions that cause tremors, including hand tremors. Nevertheless, massage can have some potential benefits for individuals with hand tremors, and here’s an overview of the science, research, and potential advantages:

Science and Research on Massage for Hand Tremors:

  1. Relaxation and Stress Reduction: Massage therapy can promote relaxation and reduce stress, which can indirectly help individuals with tremors. Stress and anxiety can exacerbate tremors, so managing stress can be beneficial.

  2. Improved Blood Circulation: Massage can enhance blood circulation in the affected areas. Improved circulation may contribute to better overall muscle function, which could potentially help with tremor control.

  3. Pain Relief: If hand tremors are accompanied by muscle stiffness or discomfort, massage may provide some pain relief. By relaxing tense muscles, massage can help ease the associated discomfort.

  4. Enhanced Range of Motion: Massage may increase joint flexibility and range of motion, which can be especially helpful for individuals whose tremors affect their hand mobility.

  5. Psychological Well-Being: The positive touch and personal attention associated with massage can have psychological benefits, including improved mood and reduced anxiety, which may indirectly benefit individuals with hand tremors.

Benefits of Massage for Tremor Management:

While massage may not directly address the underlying causes of hand tremors, it can complement other treatment approaches and provide some relief in the following ways:

  1. Stress Management: Stress reduction through massage may help reduce the severity of tremors, as stress and anxiety can exacerbate tremor symptoms.

  2. Temporary Relaxation: Massage can temporarily relax the muscles in the hands and arms, potentially providing a short-term reduction in tremor severity.

  3. Improved Quality of Life: Regular massage sessions can improve the overall quality of life for individuals with tremors by promoting relaxation, reducing pain, and enhancing mobility.

  4. Complementary Therapy: Massage can be used alongside other treatments, such as medication or physical therapy, to provide a holistic approach to managing tremor symptoms.

It’s important to note that while massage can offer temporary relief and relaxation, it should not be considered a standalone treatment for medical conditions causing hand tremors, especially if those conditions are neurological in nature, like essential tremors or Parkinson’s disease. Individuals with tremors should consult with healthcare professionals for a comprehensive evaluation and to explore appropriate treatment options, which may include medication, physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, or, in some cases, surgical interventions.

Additionally, individuals seeking massage therapy for tremor management should choose a qualified and licensed massage therapist with experience working with individuals with tremor-related conditions. They should also discuss their condition and goals with the therapist to ensure the massage sessions are tailored to their specific needs and preferences.

*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, or prescription. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.