Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fingers are Amazing, Man!

Don't worry. I'm not tripping on anything!

My former career focused a lot on the upper body and regaining the use of functional movement of shoulders, arms, wrists, and fingers. It's not surprising that the thought should come to me about just how much we rely on our fingers but give them little recognition for all they do.

For instance, I couldn't type all of the nonsense I do without them. Or make the typos. And then correct them. And then edit. And then change my mind and get rid of it all and start over.

We do everything with our fingers from creative arts to pick our noses. I know. Gross.

They'll do whatever we want without being conscious of asking them to do it until we concentrate and then become all 'thumbs'. Thumbs seem to be getting ALL the attention these days.

Unless we are training them for a task, such as learning an instrument, we only paint fingers as if they are canvases to be hung in museums. We wear rings to decorate them. We treat them as accessories, whereas, they are major body parts.

They are the body parts we use the most and yet rarely exercise.

We have actual memory in our fingers that bring forward actions we thought we'd long since lost. Then you discover, you used to do that and there it is!

We play games with them with children like "Here's the church, here's the steeple..."and "Got your nose!" (which is fun and freaks little kids out. That can be fun). How many of us still make shadows on the wall? Make the duck, the dog, the snake, the bird! Get a piece of string and try to remember manipulating Cat's Cradle. See what your fingers recall. Does anyone still fart with their hands?

Do people still do these things? I've noticed fingers still come together in prayer. They, sadly, form fists and 'give' the finger. They 'High Five' and make Wu Tang symbols. I know the superstitious still cross them for good luck and we make "OK", Peace signs and thumbs up without realizing we do it. (You just did those, didn't you? Haha!)

Are we showing younger generations how to use their fingers to do anything other than text and take selfies? Unless you are hearing impaired or regularly use your fingers to communicate in that way, we often neglect their significance in our everyday lives.

Activities using your fingers can delay or prevent stiffness and ailments, such as arthritis, will relay information to your brain to keep it in working condition, and keep them flexible, supple, strong and in good use well into old age. That's why it's nice to see knitting return as a hobby and braiding, woodwork, quilting, leatherwork, pottery, sculpting, weaving, painting, Calligraphy! There are so many hobbies to choose!

I read an article that said our thumbs are actually changing due to the way they are being used with "smart" phones. They are changing. Pretty soon, we won't even know how to hold a pen, let alone how to write with one. The use of the phones in 'thumb-typing' is even changing our brains over time and causing motor function injuries to thumbs, index fingers, wrists, and even, elbows. "We were made to be hunter-gathers not digital data micromanagers.”, a critic of the overuse of smartphone technology, noted.

Meanwhile, fingers are still providing pleasure through hand massages and touching others. I like that we haven't lost that. That will never be ignored. We shake hands in greeting (when we aren't trying to avoid germs!) but when we touch a baby's cheek or hold the hand of a loved one, or stroke a pet. Nothing tops that. It resonates through our senses and our hearts like nothing else. It lowers stress hormones, blood pressure, and has a calming effect on every part of our body.

There's comfort in these hands. There is assurance of love and acceptance. There is connection. We need to touch and be touched. It's a psychological, physiological, and spiritual need.

Don't forget the fingers today.


  1. Now I believe that about the thumbs changing because of texting. I use my fingers pretty much 8 hours a day for my job, but my job has changed over the years and I'm using my right pinkie more and I can see that it is changing shape compared to my left pinkie finger. I just hope I never get arthritis in them!


    1. I hope you don't, too! Stay well and stretch and exercise them! :-D


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