As an individual in a society, we strive to improve every facet of our lives, whether that be financially, socially, or physically. We want more money so we can get a big house. We want a wider social-circle so we can meet new people, establish connections, and eventually meet him or her who we will call our husband or wife. Finally, we want the safety and security of strength and good health to limit our fears of our inevitable rest, and the pride that comes with what we wear and how we look like.
Each day, when the sun rises, when the coffee drips and the bagels toast, we rise to improve all these crucial aspects of life.
Do you see what’s missing? Here’s a hint – you’re using it right now, reading this. The Brain.
What Are Finger Gymnastics?
Finger Gymnastics are movements of the hands and fingers that utilize sensory receptors on your fingers. Utilizing structured movements of the finger and hands, normally, coupled with breathing, has been proven to enhance and train the most overused, but under-trained part of our body – our brain. The brain manages all of decisions and functions, from daydreaming about us in a red corvette to how to loops, swoop and pull our shoelaces. Our brains connect directly to the tips of our fingers, so stimulation of that area on our skin, or utilizing our fingers for structured movements or self-massage, automatically trigger our brain.
Although a very simple concept, the act of utilizing finger movements can improve thinking, regulation of emotion, and simplify the act of de-stressing.
How Do Finger Gymnastics Work?
Maybe you know, maybe you don’t know – but, our brain is not a muscle. Though it can feel like that sometimes with the amount of energy it requires to maintain our alertness. Instead, the brain is the hub of inter-connectivity within our body. If we laugh, the brain is used. The same is when we cry. If we burn our hand on the stove, our brain has told us the level of heat to react to.
Finger gymnastics are a way for us to routinely test our brain and receptors by giving our brain a harmonious and calming interaction with portions of the body it controls and signals. It tests our brain’s power at recognizing signals on our skin and recognition through our eyes. At it’s simplest form, it tests the brain to make sure it still can learn and adapt.
Can You Elaborate?
You brush your teeth at least twice a day (at least, I hope you do). Just kidding! But do you do so with both hands? No, you do not. You utilize your dominant hand. Brushing your teeth is like tying your shoes, it’s just so natural. However, when the non-dominant hand is used, the landscape changes. The toothbrush feels strange in your hands, the brush strokes across your teeth are loose and less structured, and you find yourself leaking more toothpaste from your mouth to your cheek than you’re used to. So, you switch back.
This is an example of a finger exercise at it’s most minimalist form. The reasons the act feels so unnatural is because of the unfamiliarity your brain has with the movements, actions, and feel. Try brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand for one week. During that act, you will feel more engaged in the act itself. It will be difficult, trying and frustrating. But think – so is learning anything. And just by the act of learning, you are doing something new. You are stimulating your brain to function in a new way.
Examples of Finger Gymnastic Exercises
Take a moment and hold up your hands, perpendicular to your face. Now, bring them together a few inches from your nose. Focus on the centre, where your hands meet. Ponder what you see.
Perhaps the television is on in the background and you can see flashing images. You may feel the heat on your fingertips and palms. Perhaps, some air from a fan or window is streaming through the smallest gap in your palms, or through the gaps between your fingers. Or very probably, you’re thinking, why am I doing this right now. No matter the feel, or thought, or focus, you are stimulating your brain. Something as simple as hands posed in prayer can act as stimuli for that same brain.
Try again – place your hands in front of your face, palms together in prayer. Breath in, and as you exhale, drag your right hand downwards against your left palm until the fingertips of your left palm reach over the fingers of your right hand, and lightly grip them. Repeat this with the left hand. Do you feel your brain more focused on the act? That is because it is working. Not just functioning, no – it’s starting to work-up a sweat.
Whether slow or rapid movement, finger exercises enhance our brain’s ability to learn new things, recognize stimuli, help with motor development and control, and even, enhance memory and overall cognitive function. It has even been utilized in testing with Alzheimer patients on increasing their motor function and helping them better control some of the unfortunate, embarrassing side effects of brain deterioration, such as uncontrollable urination.
Because, after all, that’s what your brain does – it controls. Control is not a relative concept – control is gained through education and effort.
Here is a great bunch of exercises collected by BrightSide:
Is This For Adults?
Absolutely NOT. Finger exercises or “gymnastics,” as we define it, can be utilized for all ages, including young children. Each child is born with the gift of carrying an empty bag they will steadily fill as their shopping-spree of life rolls on.
Finger Gymnastics in small children can offer discipline, increased recognition, critical thinking, and even thought. Nowadays, a child is born into a world of automation and technology.
The internet has given us the exceptional ability to access information, but it does not teach it. We are left to perceive words on a bright-white screen (as you do so now), and a pencil and paper during a lecture are a thing of the past.
As a result, we are no longer teaching ourselves by observing, listening, absorbing and dictating those thought patterns onto a piece of paper with our fingers around a pencil. We are blindly listening and repeating words, lessons, and phrases onto a screen. Before long, our brains can go on autopilot. Just like muscles stop growing when no more weight is added to the objects we lift, our brains can stop growing when we are not challenging them.
Finger Gymnastics, a concept developed by Japanese specialist, Yoshiro Tsutsumi, are simple ways to continue growth. And if we aren’t growing, we aren’t living fulfilled lives. If you take anything from this article, take this – these exercises cannot hurt you. They cannot trick you or deter you. They can only enhance you.
Don’t limit yourself to normality.