YOGA: Yoga for arthritic hands

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By Geeta Maraj
July 17th, 2013 Edition

It is commonly accepted today that yoga is a form of exercise which helps to keep the body healthy. Yoga is a holistic remedy, in that; it is a fusion of the health of the emotions, as well as, the health of the body. And for this reason, almost any aspect of mental or physical setbacks, can find some rendering through the amazing practice of yoga.

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints of the body, which can be quite painful and discomforting. There are almost 100 different types of arthritis and the variations continue to grow. Today, millions of dollars is being allocated to arthritis research and remedy. These result in a variation of treatments to include, oral medication, injections into the affected joints and surgical intervention. But above all variation of treatment, on rule holds true, that the more you keep the joints active through specific exercises, the healthier and stronger the joints become.

While there might be the tendency to restrict movement of the painful joint so as to prevent further agony, the opposite is actually more beneficial. Research shows that through the strengthening of the muscles, synovial fluid is somehow produced, thereby preventing the joints from rubbing together and creating swelling and discomfort.
There are many weight bearing and resistance stretches which help to prevent or aid discomfort in the joints of the fingers and knuckles of the hands due to arthritis.

Exercises for finger joints: Place your fingers in a cupped position (like you are holding a large ball in your hand) on the surface table or desk. Ensure that your knuckles are curved and not outstretched. Then push on the surface with your cupped hands. This creates resistance in the joints, thereby, helping the knuckles and joints to become stronger.

While keeping the resistance in your fingers in the cupped position on the desk or any flat surface, an additional stretch would be to try to lift a single finger at a time, so that the finger becomes parallel to the surface upon which you are pushing.

After you have lifted the finger and hold in position for as long as is possible, (2 to 10 seconds or longer), replace that finger in the cupped position before you begin to lift the next finger. Repeat until each finger has been lifted off the surface, all the while pushing down on the other fingers onto the surface.

Make your hands into fists, with your fists facing you. Tighten your fists with as much strength as you can. Once you can no longer tighten your fists, slowly allow one finger to be outstretched while maintaining the tight fist hold. Once you have completed every finger being outstretched, then turn your hands downwards in the cupped position and gently shake out your hands as if you were trying to shake water from your fingers.

Wrist rolls: To exercise your wrists, make a fist and tense the hold to make the muscles of your hand contract. Then slowly rotate your fist in a clockwise position, thereby rotating your wrist. Count the amount of times you rotate your wrist in the clockwise direction and then repeat to the same count in the anticlockwise direction.

An additional stretch for your fingers, wrists and shoulders is to stand a foot length distance from the wall. Place your hands on the wall at shoulder level. Spread your fingers widely apart and pretend you are trying to push the wall down. The muscles of the entire arm should be tense as you push against the wall. To come out of this position, you slowly decrease the push against the wall till there is no force left. Then gentle lower your arms and shake them about to +help with the blood flow in the arms. You can repeat this stretch 2 to 10 times or as is comfortable for you.

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