10 Ways to Occupy Your Hands (as a Massage Therapist in Quarentine)
Hey there, fellow quarentined LMT! If you're like me, you're probably wondering when you can go back to doing the work you love. You might also be giving your dog/cat more massages than usual and they're really going to miss you when you do go back to work! Aside from lengthy petting sessions, however, you may be wondering what to do with your hands. This point was brought to my attention by a fellow therapist who posted a comment on my recent Instagram post about being closed for April. As I reflected on her comment, I replied with a few ideas that came to me right on the spot. I then started washing the dishes and deleved deeper into that question. I recalled my time in massage school and the tools they suggested to buy for strengthening and conditioning the hands in preparation for the many hours of manual therapy we would be doing someday.
During this time of temporary shut down, we as therapists are suseptable to losing some of that conditioning. The hands, fingers, and arms are just as important to workout as the rest of the body. So I've put together a list of exercises and activities to occupy your hands:
1. Practice putting weight on your wrists and hands
Imagine your hand positions during certain yoga poses such as downward dog, cat/cow, crow, and handstands. When you place your hands on the floor and begin to lean your body weight onto them, as your fingers are spread wide and fingertips engaged; as if you're Spiderman clinging to a brickwall! Fingertip pushups are another fun and challenging practice so please start off with your hands on either side of a doorway, leaning in with your bodyweight at an angle, as your fingers are spread in a circular, conelike fashion.
2. Learn American Sign Language
By taking this downtime to learn a new language, you are strengthening neuropathways within your body and creating new ones! You are also opening yourself up to new clientele and a new style of communication. ASL is perfect for sending signals to your friends from across the room, too!
(Hey, 6'ft social distancing, what's up?)
3. Practice grip strength with tools
Check out these nifty doodads! Tools like the
Gripmaster Pro and Gold's Gym Gripper
may be just what you need for individual finger dexterity and grip strengthening.
You can also play with silly putty! There's a variety of therapy putty which is purrrfect for keeping your hands busy when you're doing a mindless task like watching Tiger King.
4. Play an instrument
Do you have an old guitar laying around?
How about a bass, flute, or piano?
Learn a new instrument or practice with the ones you already know! If you don't have an instrument, you could purchase one online to be delivered to your home. The hand piano is particularly relaxing and reminiscent of a lullubye.
5. Dance, using only your fingers!
Finger tutting is a form of dance which uses deliberate, precise, and
intricate finger movements. There's a myriad of tutorials on YouTube and Dytto
is just one famous such dancer. If you've seen the Netflix show The Magicians, you'll know what I mean! The spells cast in the show use elaborate hand gestures, nearly akin to ASL or tutting.
Have fun and make some shadow puppets along the way!
6. Hand Yoga
Enjoy this 11 minute Hand Yoga video from the beloved #yogawithadriene.
7. Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation
This is one way to occupy your fingers and clear your mind of anxious thoughts. When you are chanting with intention and breaking a behavioral pattern with neural reprogramming by touching this fingers together, you are able to free your mind of negativity.
Read about this powerful mediation here: https://www.kundaliniyoga.org/lesson_15
8. Abduct fingers with rubberband
Do you have those thick rubber bands laying around in your junk drawer? You know, the ones that your kale is wrapped in from the grocery store? Place all 4 fingers tips & thumb inside one, around the 3rd knuckle, and spread fingers apart as wide as you can. Hold in abucted position for at least one second before releasing. Repeat on each hand to fatigue, then rest and do some more reps. It helps to space the sets throughout the day. To remember this tip, you can wear the rubber band around your wrist.
9. Sewing, Knitting, & Crocheting, Oh My!
If you've already got these tools, chances are, I don't need to tell you to use them. Chances are, you're already making scarfs and hats for your entire family next winter! But sometimes we get these ideas that we will learn something new and it falls by the wayside because we don't have enough time. Well, now that time is plentiful, let's pick that needle back up and get to work! Try handstitching your favorite shirt that's got a pesky hole in it. Everyone should know how to hand stitch :) YouTube, Pintrest and other online sources will have plenty of tutorials. And if you're looking for an mentor, I'm sure they are out there as well! Stay connected to other crafty folks through Facebook groups. Happy stitching!
10. Practice Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and Reiki
Universal Energy is all around us. Now is the perfect time to engage with it; use it for self healing, reducing anxiety, and as a gentle daily movement practice. Being sedentary in your home for extended periods of time can feel stagnant and make you go a little stir crazy. Keep your personal energy flowing and the energy around you flowing as well. Many Qi Gong and Tai Chi practitioners are currently online, offering their coaching virtually. Please contact me if you are interested in knowing more! And if you are attuned in Reiki, remember to practice on yourself daily. If are Reiki II or III, please send healing to loved ones and globally, and for our Mother Earth as she continues to thrive during our extended human hibernation.
Thank you for taking the time to read my Blog! I hope you found some valubale nuggets of information which sparked creativity and laughter along the way!