A Few Minutes to Zen with Rikki Alrutz

Give Your Hands a Hand

This month, I will share various postures that can help strengthen our wrists and hands, thereby relieving wrist/hand pain.  We use our hands for so many things, from working, to communicating, to carrying everyday items, and even to expressing ourselves.  Another thing we do, however, is repeating the same motions over and over, even if we know they are debilitating to our health and well-being.  This causes repetitive strain/stress injury, or RSI. Many common wrist conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis of the wrist are examples of RSI.

Here are two simple exercises to stretch the wrists, relax the upper back and shoulders, and improve alignment in your body, so the upper back and shoulders may better support your arm movements, taking some of the stress off your smaller joints.

Upward Bound Fingers Pose:

Traditionally, this posture is done sitting back on your calves and heels with your legs close together, but we are concentrating on the upper body.  If that pose is uncomfortable, then feel free to sit with your legs extended or even tall in a chair.

Interlace your fingers all the way to the webbing and place your hands on top of your head, palms facing the sky.

Stretch your elbows apart, broaden your chest and feel your trapezius muscles melt down your back.

Breathe into this posture for a good 3 minutes.

Slowly stretch your arms to the sky and hold for 2 minutes.

Now stretch your arms out in front of your chest, pushing the palms out, and hold for 2 minutes.

Play with rounding your shoulders in and bringing your shoulder blades back toward each other, all while keeping your spine tall.

Slowly lower your hands to your sides.

Change the interlock of your fingers so that the other index finger is on top.  This may feel strange. Repeat the whole exercise.

Relaxation Energy Posture:

Sit relaxed, either with your legs crossed or in a chair, back remaining nice and tall.

Bring your index fingers and thumbs lightly together.

Feel the energy flowing through the hands, getting warmer as you inhale and cooling as you exhale.

Begin with your hands resting on your knees and slowly raise your arms into the air.

Imagine each finger relaxing with every breath and imagine any stress releasing from your wrists.

As with any new exercise, consult your doctor to see if these are appropriate for you.