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This morning my Feldenkrais lesson focused on my hands, wrists and shoulders. It got me thinking about how we really need to take care of our hands and not take them for granted.

Just as our feet, so too are our hands are a complex system, with 27 bones, 10 fingers, and the densest area of nerve endings in our bodies.

Most of us are “left-handed” or “right-handed”, and as each hand is controlled by the opposing brain hemisphere, our “handedness” can reflect our individual brain functioning. We use our hands for touch and tactile feedback, to read body language and for sign language.

Our hands are a story of genetics. I have my mother’s hands, my daughter has her father’s. The simplest gesture is often the a story of “the things they handed down”. (Please take a listen to Marc Cohn’s amazing song of the same name – one of my favourites!).

Our hands for so many things: to carry and lift, to hurt or to heal. We clench our fists, lash out and slap, or gently touch, hug and hold. We try to “give with an open hand”.

Our hands create and build. They write, type, knit, sew, draw, sculpt, create music, conduct, cook and bake.

I love strong hands that radiate capability. Plus they provide the perfect canvas for statement jewellery! But so too do I admire elegant, slender hands with perfectly manicured nails. Our hands say so much, as does our grip – there’s absolutely nothing worse than a wimpish hand-shake! (Not that we’ll be doing much hand-shaking in the years to come….)

Our hands are often over-worked and get stiff and tired, and they’re often where the first signs of arthritis show up. Carpal Tunnel can be debilitating.

This week, why not show your hands a little love and attention – on the inside and the outside! There’s nothing as blissful as a slow, deep hand massage, and giving every joint a good stretch. Simple stretches and exercises and strengthen your wrists, keep your hands and fingers flexible and help prevent injury.

A few years ago I was knitting a massive blanket for a dear friend’s birthday and ended up with a crazy deadline. Thankfully, Jannie gave me a few key exercises and stretches to do every time I felt my hands tightening up. They worked brilliantly and I managed to get the blanket done around 9pm the night before the big day!

I’ll share them with you next week as they deserve their own blog!

In the meantime, I love a great hand cream, and am always on the lookout for new options to add to my favorites:

1. Ortigia Sicilia

2. L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

3. Karma Kamet: a great find in Bangkok on my first shoot there with Jannie. They have many fragrances, but Mimosa is my favorite!

4. Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment

5. Ahava Time to Smooth Age Perfecting Hand Cream

6. Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm, Liz Grantham signature, functional movement, physical freedom