Mar 152003
 

Have you ever really examined your hands? How they are constructed, how they do what they do, the flexibility and the strength they demonstrate. Did you ever wonder how something so small can do so much? 

Think of the power necessary to lift up a piece of furniture. The dexterity necessary to do work requiring coordination like auto repair or electronics work. How specifically are the hands able to do what they do?

The most likely response to that question would include a discussion of muscles and bones. An even more detailed answer might include the blood flowing in and out of the hand as well as the nerve impulses being sent to the hand by the brain.

Those answers should feel unsatisfactory. The muscles that are a part of the hand do not seem powerful enough to do the things they can do. It feels like there must be some other factor or factors involved in the strength the hand is able to produce.

There are other factors involved in the strength of the arm. An obvious one that many readers have probably already considered are the muscles of the arm. The muscles of the arm are involved in activating the hand so they would contribute to the strength exhibited by the hand.

Even if the muscles of the arm are considered in the consideration of the strength the hand can produce, it still feels like something is missing. It is hard to believe that a weightlifter for example, could lift up four hundred pounds with the muscles in their arms and hands.

Anyone familiar with lifting large and heavy objects has heard the admonition to “Put Your Back into it”. It is not possible to lift a refrigerator by standing up straight in front of it, clasping it with the hands, and then picking it up. It is necessary to bend over, get the body set up, and then lift the refrigerator. That real life example shows legs and back are also important in using the hands.

Consideration of that reality should raise some intellectual questions though. How can the legs and back contribute to the strength of the hands? The arm contributes to the strength of the hand because the arm is connected to the hand. How do the legs and back contribute to the strength of the hand since they are not connected to the hand?

On possible response would be “Bracing the back and legs allows more power to be applied to the hands”. While that response is factually correct, the way it is worded does not help further the discussion because of the lack of detail. How exactly does bracing the legs and the back contribute to the power that is exhibited by the hands? 

Please examine this picture of a human hand superimposed on the body of a computer model.

The hand and the human body have the same number of protuberances extending out from it. The hand has four fingers and one thumb, for a total of five protuberances sticking out from it. The human body has two legs, two arms, and a head extending out from it, which is a total of five protuberances also.

It is not a coincidence both objects have the same number of protuberances extending out of them. That correspondence helps explain why the hand can exhibit the strength that it does. 

The hand was oriented on the body in the way that it was to demonstrate the relationship between the protuberances of the hand and body.  The palm is linked to the side of the body. The pinky finger is related to the right arm, the ring finger is linked to the head, the middle finger is linked to the left arm, the index finger is linked to right leg, and the thumb is linked to the left leg. The following picture attempts to visually represent those linkages.

The reason the hand can exhibit the power that it does according to the author, is because the hand is really actuated by the entire body, and not just by the local muscles of the hand or arm.

The only way to really prove that claim is accurate is for the ready to either become aware of those internal body connections if they already have them, or to work on their body until they develop the connections.

A further intellectual argument to support the hand/body connections being described is to note which fingers of the hand are linked to which protuberances of the human body. The index and thumb are the strongest fingers of the hand. And the index finger and thumb are linked to the legs in the picture, which are the strongest protuberances from the human body.

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