At a recent event, a woman showed up who was recovering from a serious hand injury. Her hand was basically unusable. I watched her struggle with the most basic of movements and realized how much I take my hands for granted.
The human hand is an amazing feat of nature. The arrangement of the hand’s bones, muscle, nerves, and fascia is a marvel of engineering in itself. One-quarter of our body’s bones, 123 named ligaments, 34 muscles, 48 nerves and 30 arteries interact cooperatively below our awareness to perform all that we command.
Many anthropologists consider the development of the thumb to be the most decisive moment of our evolution into a being like no other in creation. According to fossil records, a rapid increase in brain size and the development of early language followed the arrival of the thumb.
Humans are not the only species with opposable thumbs though. Chimpanzees and monkeys can also oppose the thumb to the index finger. What makes the human hand unique is the ability of the fourth and fifth fingers to rotate across the palm to meet the thumb, as in the image at the top of this post. This ability adds unparalleled grip, grasp and torque capability.
About one-third of the brain’s sensory and motor cortexes are devoted to the operation of the hands. That is an enormous investment of neural resources for such a small area of the body. That means that hand reflexology directly accesses a large part of the central nervous system through the rich supply of nerves in the hands.
Our hands’ ability to execute movements ranging from strength to sensitivity has allowed us to develop skills that no other species enjoys. The hands are what we use to “grab hold of life” or put a stop to unwanted experiences. We defend, love, pinch, play, work, tickle and heal with our beloved hands.
Unfortunately, the trade off for that high level of dexterity is vulnerability. Somatic practitioners are particularly prone to hand injuries due to repetitive actions, and poor body mechanics and ergonomics.
It doesn’t have to be that way though.
In the Reflexology for the Hands workshop, participants learn a variety of ways to gently influence the physiology of the body through that abundant supply of nerves in the hands, as well as a proven repertoire of self-care techniques to ensure they can serve for years to come.
Please join us in Saint Augustine, Florida on August 19 and 20 for Reflexology for the Hands. Your hands will thank you.