Our Marvellous Hands: Three Videos for You
She would be happy, he said, if I would like to draw her hands, and for the drawing to be used as a portrait of her. I was delighted to be asked and at once agreed to do the drawing. In fact, an arthritic hand can be more moving than a perfect hand - the hand of a young girl, for example, though smooth and beautiful, can seem emptier of meaning
- Henry Moore, Henry Moore Drawings 1969-79
The Royal Society wanted a portrait of Dorothy Hodgkin Nobel prize winner and Royal Society fellow. She was awarded the Nobel prize for her work on X-ray chrystallography. This delicate and precise work required dexterity and fine motor control made very difficult by her sometimes crippling arthritis. Hodgkin’s portrait is a message that despite obstacles we can persevere and from discomfort and pain comes beauty and insight.
The idea that a picture of hands could sit in place of a a portrait of a face also reminds us that our hands are loaded with meaning. They give solace and cause pain; they beg and refuse; they take and they give. They can be open or clenched, show contentment and anxiety. They can be young, old, beautiful and deformed. We take them for granted, just as we took the ability to touch our friends and loved ones for granted - until the privilege was taken from us. If you use your phone and keyboard a lot you may notice that your elbows, forearms, thumbs, or wrists may be sore. I hope that these Franklin method class recordings give you an insight into what is happening for you so that you can take steps to bring balance and mobility back to these very precious parts of our body.
The first video is about our forearms, because though the hand has muscles within it called intrinsic muscles for precision and subtle hand movement. It also has extrinsic muscles mainly in the forearm that connect to the finger bones via long tendons that pass through a flexible wrist. This remote musculature gives the fingers movement and strength that wouldn't be possible if all of the muscles had to be attached directly to them.
The next video is about the wrists. The wrist enables the full range of movement of the hand. It needs to be strong for grip, hanging and bearing weight. If something isn’t working properly in the wrist (for example muscle imbalance through over use of the extensor muscles and tendons) then this will create problems up and down the chain to fingers, elbow and even shoulder.
Then finally, we get to the hand - an engineering marvel!
I hope these classes got you thinking and have helped you develop a sense of what might be happening for you. If you have persistent pain please go and see a physio or osteopath to see if an exercise (or rest) prescription can help