The human hand is considered one of the most remarkable creations of nature. No other part of our bodies, other than the cerebral cortex, so dramatically identifies us as human.
The hands are what we use to interact with the world around us. We reach out to grab what we want and throw up a wall to stop what we don’t. This marvel of engineering, a source of exquisite sensory pleasure, fluidly adapts to allow us to touch with either strength or sensitivity
The development of the opposing thumb was a decisive moment in our evolution towards becoming the creatures that we are. Fossil records suggest that a rapid and dramatic increase in brain size followed closely on the heels of the arrival of the opposing thumb. A larger brain led to the development of articulate speech and grammatical structure. Some theorists believe that the appearance of the thumb and dramatic expansion of the brain not only associate the hands with communication, but suggest that treating the hand could be an easy way to access a large part of the central nervous system. Hmmm….reflexology anyone?
When our organs of speech fail us, it is these dexterous tools that we turn to as an eloquent vehicle of expression. I recall being somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Mexico, not able to speak the language and no one nearby who spoke English. Man, did my hands go into action as I desperately searched for a rest room! Not only in the face of desperate times do I call upon my hands; those of you who have sat in my classes know that my hands speak as much as my mouth!
When our chosen path of communication is bodywork, it is even more critical that we develop a sophisticated language of touch – an ability to both communicate and listen with the subtlest of movements. Fortunately for us, about one third of the sensory and motor cortexes are devoted to the operations of the hand – an enormous investment of neural resources for one structure. The refinement of loving touch, learned in supervised bodywork trainings, opens new pathways of meanings between tissue and the brain, making possible an enhanced relationship between body and brain.
It’s time to begin a love affair with your hands folks! Two Reflexology for the Hands workshops coming up in the near future. Learn how to take care of your hands and those of your friends, family and clients.