Hands Beautiful Hands

August 16, 2010

Hands are interesting things. They are what make us human and stand us apart from our mammalian cousins. Our hands have allowed us to become tool makers and artists; our hands support our creativity through their sensitivity to touch and motion. We can hold a paint brush or a sword. We can punch or caress. Destruction or creation, our hands are capable of both. But what happens when our hands no longer serve us, when they become painful and inflamed, when the joints become gnarled and worst of all if they lose their strength and function?

If you have arthritic pain or simply hold a lot of tension in your hands and this prevents you from using your hands effectively try the following Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® lesson.

You will discover through this lesson that it takes a minimal amount of effort to make a substantial change in your level of comfort. Starting with small easy movements that are pleasurable and pain-free, you can increase your range and ease of movement significantly in a short period of time.

  1. To do this lesson you will need a tennis ball or a ball of similar size. If you don’t have a ball handy you could use a rolled up sock.
  2. Sit towards the front of your chair with your feet flat on the floor a comfortable distance apart put the ball aside for a moment and open and close your hands a few times. Notice which hand is more restricted in its movements. This is the hand that you will work with first.
  3. Put the ball on your thigh and drape your hand over it. Let you hand be completely passive with the center of your palm resting on top of the ball. Let your fingers gently drape over the sides of the ball.
  4. Roll the ball against your fingers and then when you feel the pressure against your fingers increase slightly, roll the ball back to its original position. The movement is tiny, tiny; it’s so small that someone watching wouldn’t even know that you’d moved the ball.
  5. Repeat the movement in a leisurely fashion a few times. Allow your hand to be soft as if you were cupping it over a little bird.
  6. Pause for a few moments.
  7. Now slowly roll the ball in a clockwise circle three or four times in the palm of your hand. Continue to allow your fingers to drape over the ball so that as the ball rolls you’ll feel the surface of the ball move against your fingers; repeat the movement in the other direction. Soft easy movement in the hand requires a letting go in the shoulder so  let your shoulder and arm be relaxed.
  8. Lift your hand from the ball and rest for a moment. Now open and close your hands a few times and notice the difference between the two.
  9. Repeat the sequence with the other hand.

A longer version of this lesson will soon be available on my website store which will be up and running in September 2010.


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Feldenkrais®, Feldenkrais Method®, Awareness Through Movement®, and Functional Integration® are registered service marks of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America. Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner ™ and Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher ™ are certification marks of the Feldenkrais Guild®.