If hands could talk
September 6, 2017
My hands are my most valuable tools. With them I have learned to feel some of the most subtle structures, movements, and rhythms in the human body. Whether you play an instrument, are a perpetual texter, construction worker, or a painter, you know – the use of your hands is key. From being able to button a shirt, thread a needle, or pick up a fork, basic hand dexterity is something most people take for granted – until something goes wrong.
Things do go wrong. The repetitive nature of using your hands causes the connective tissue to dehydrate and become less responsive. This can ultimately lead to stiffness not just in the hands, but all the way up the arms to the shoulders and neck.
I developed the MELT Hand Treatment to keep my hands in top condition. But it really made a miraculous change in my entire body. It freed up my neck and shoulders and I even found it heightened my ability to sense what I was feeling while working with clients as a manual therapist.
I’ve done this treatment with literally thousands of people over the years and have heard some miraculous stories, from reducing stiffness in arthritic hands to improving your tennis game. The MELT Hand Treatment is a really unique whole-body treatment.
It all started when my hands became so stiff I could not make a fist. I started using different-sized balls to simulate what I was doing to help my clients alleviate issues in their arms and hands.
I had been overusing my hands during the peak years of my practice, when I was working on 7-8 people a day, 7 days a week. Many of us will now fall into that same trap because we’re constantly on our computers and cell phones. The repetitive movements we do with our hands and the habitual postures we take on daily – like sitting at a desk or driving a car – take a toll on our body’s ability to function efficiently and stay pain-free.
The connectivity and instant information available through technology is amazing – but we can’t deny that perpetual texting and creating those repetitive patterns can cause aches and pains in your neck and back.
And it’s not your muscles tightening up that causes this, it’s your connective tissue. Your constant repetitive use of your fingers (especially your thumbs) is dehydrating this tissue, compressing your joints, and causing stiffness and aches up the chain of the body.
With all of the time we spend staying active, we should take some time to focus on our hands so our entire body can thrive for a lifetime.
So try these simple MELT self-treatment techniques three times a week (or even better, every day) to get immediate relief by rehydrating this tissue and reacquiring space in your joints. This variation on the Mini Hand Treatment uses the Large and Small Soft Balls – available as part of the MELT Hand and Foot Treatment Kit on meltmethod.com <https://www.meltmethod.com/store/product/hand-and-foot-treatment-kit/> – but even if you don’t have the MELT kit yet, you can get started MELTing your hands today.
Assess: Place a Large Soft Ball (about the size of a super ball) in one hand and squeeze 3-4 times. Then do this with the other hand. Notice if your grip feels the same on both sides or if one hand has a stronger grip than the other.
Glide: On a desk or table, place the Large Soft Ball under your thumb pad and gently glide the ball from the thumb pad to your pinky pad with tolerable compression. Continue back and forth as you take two focused breaths.
Shear: Create small circles under the thumb pad, then hold the compression as you take a focused breath. Repeat Gliding and Shearing on your other hand.
Knuckle Decompress: Take the Small Soft Ball (about the size of a jacks ball) and place it at the base of your first two fingers. Make a fist and squeeze the ball between your fingers 2-3 times. Repeat this between each finger – don’t forget the space between your pointer finger and your thumb. Switch hands.
Friction: Rub one hand over the Large Soft Ball in a light, quick, scribble-like motion. Switch hands.
Rinse: Starting under your fingertips, slowly press the Large Soft Ball toward your wrist, up your forearm, to your elbow 5-10 times. Switch hands.
Reassess: Grab the Large Soft Ball and make a fist again, then switch hands. Has your grip improved in balance or strength? If the answer is yes, you have made a positive change with self-treatment!
The MELT Hand Treatment restores the fluid state of your connective tissue – and that not only improves hand strength and dexterity, it helps reduce neck pain over time too! Do a quick MELT Hand Treatment anytime to keep your hands and neck pain-free.