By Kathy Lucia, M. Ed. And Dominika Borovansky Gaines
Restorative Exercise incorporates several hand and finger stretches as part of its emphasis on increasing blood flow and oxygenation throughout the body. Stretching the fingers and hands awakens and stimulates the muscles and nerves in the forearms–a body part which is often overlooked—and re-establishes a connection between our digits and their point of attachment to the axial skeleton via the shoulder girdle. Through gentle stretching, we are also stimulating laminar blood flow, a vital component of cardiovascular health.
Stretching each finger individually with palms up and then palms down feels good after our daily work activities, especially when work (and play) requires typing, texting, and other find work with the hands. It can be an important component in increasing your whole body bone density by allowing you to bear weight on your hands and arms for longer periods of time, whether quadruped or when hanging.
Interestingly, beyond awakening and stretching the hands, according to several Asian cultures (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) there are emotions, organs, and elements that are stimulated by the stretching of each finger.
The following is a list of fingers and their corresponding emotions, elements and organs. By mindfully considering a positive emotion as you stretch each finger, you can replace the negative emotion. Fill in the blanks below with the positive emotion that will help you to heal and rejuvenate.
- Thumb – Earth – Stomach > Worry >______________
- Index Finger – Metal – Lungs and Large Intestine – Sadness, Grief, and Depression> __________
- Middle Finger – Fire – Heart, Small Intestine, Circulatory System, and Respiratory System > Impatience and Hastiness>_________________
- Ring Finger – Wood – Liver, Gall Bladder, and Nervous System > Anger >_______________
- Pinky Finger – Water – Kidneys > Fear>__________
Massage and pull each finger and release the negative emotion with your exhale. Then massage each finger in toward the palm and invite the positive emotion you desire.
Your hands create new things. Your hands are also your point of connection with others through handshakes and touch. How do you use your hands? Notice where they hold tension and when. With your healing, soft hands you are now ready to create something new: a caress, a meal, a painting, an arrangement. You have something new ready to emerge from your soul! Hold it softly, gently, and with love.