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We use our hands to express ourselves in many ways.  We reach out into the world to give, to take, and to touch.  We offer our hands to meet, to help, and to receive help from others.  We also use our hands to express ourselves – emphasizing our words with a gesture, or in painting, sculpting, or writing.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the energy channels that relate to the heart either end or begin at our fingertips.  In the metaphorical language of this tradition, we understand that when we refer to “heart,” we mean not just the fist-sized organ in our chest that pumps blood throughout our body, but our sense of self.  If we have an awareness of our authentic self, act in concert with it, and relate to others from this foundation, we can say that we have healthy Heart, or Fire, energy.

“Doing just one of these exercises for a few minutes each day can help bolster your self confidence and ability to relate to others.”

The following exercises are designed to strengthen our ability to speak and act “from the heart.”  You can use them every day, especially when you feel that you are suffering from a lack of confidence or conviction, or when you seem to be having difficulty relating to or communicating with other people.  These are also excellent exercises for arthritic finger joints, although they should NOT be used when the joints are red, swollen, or painful.  

FINGER MASSAGE

When you perform this simple exercise you are activating the meridians that run through the chest area, as well as providing healing energy to the fingers themselves.

  • Begin with the thumb, grasping the thumb of the left hand between the thumb and forefinger of the right.  Gently massage the thumb, paying particular attention to each joint, from the base of the thumb to the tip.
  • Now move from the tip of the index finger, massaging downward to the base of the finger.
  •  Follow the same pattern with the middle finger, moving upward from the base to the tip, massaging each joint carefully.  Then move down from the tip of the ring finger to the base of the finger.  
  • Finally, move upward from the base of the little finger to the tip, making sure that you apply equal pressure to both sides of the finger. 
  • Repeat the entire exercise, this time using the left hand to massage the fingers of the right hand.

PALM MASSAGE

There are three major acupuncture points in the palm of your hand that support this energy of the heart.  An easy way to reinforce them is to lace the fingers of your two hands together with the palms facing one another.  Using the thumb of the right hand, massage the palm of the left hand for 10 to 15 seconds.  Repeat with the thumb of the left hand massaging the palm of the right hand.

GANESHA MUDRA

(from Mudras – Yoga in Your Hands by Gertrud Hirschi) 

This mudra, or hand position, is said to activate the Fire element, inspiring confidence, warmth, and strength of heart.  Ganesha is a Hindu diety who is known as the “remover of obstacles.”

Before beginning this exercise, think of an affirmation or an intention relating to a current situation or relationship which demands that you act “from the heart,” even though it might be difficult.  

  • Hold your left hand in front of your chest at the level of your heart, with the palm facing outward and the fingers curled.
  • Lock fingers with the curled fingers of the right hand, whose palm is facing inward. Inhale with the hands relaxed.
  • As you exhale, pull the hands apart without releasing the grip of the fingers.
  • Repeat for 4 – 6 breaths, and then switch hands so the palm of the right hand faces outward.
  • You may then rest your hands comfortably at the center of your chest for several seconds.

Doing just one of these exercises for a few minutes each day can help bolster your self confidence and ability to relate to others. Try them before going to a party, an important meeting, or having a “heart-to-heart” talk with someone you care about.

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