The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), Bethesda, Md,offers the following suggestions to politicians this election season:
Positioning is Everything
Initiate the handshake so you have a firm lock on the other person’s hand.
Avoid pressure on your knuckles by positioning the “web” space between your thumb and index finger firmly against the corresponding space in the other person’s hand.
Hold your wrist straight.
Shake from the arm, not the wrist.
Break the handshake quickly, and move on to the next.
When possible, use the two-handed shake.
Take Care of Important Allies
Your back and shoulder are important components of the motion of the handshake. Protect and save them for the heavy burdens of office.
Keep your elbow at a 90˚ angle.
Keep your arm close to your body.
Keep your arms below the level of your shoulders whenever possible.
Declare a Recess
Take frequent breaks. Try these exercises to rest and relax the areas of your body that have been receiving the most stress:
With fingers interlaced behind your head, gently stretch your elbows back. Hold for 10 seconds.
Shrug your shoulders (preferably not in front of cameras). Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat three times.
The Best Defense is a Good Offense
Create strategies for avoiding a handshake without hurting your chances for winning a vote.
Put your arm around a person’s shoulder before he grabs your hand.
Hold something that cannot be put down easily.
Wear a splint or brace on your hand or wrist to warn off aggressive glad-handers.
Click here for other tips such as Damage Control and Strengthen Your Hand.