Hands On

Fingers and Hands and Skin
Touching, Feeling, Manipulating, Sensing
Eye-Hand Coordination, Tool Using, Somaesthetics
Somatosensory System, Somatics, Haptics, Proprioperception
Identity and Actions, Self and Praxis, Language and Touch

Quotations     Bibliography     Comments

Research, Reflections, Studies, Ruminations, Wondering, Facts, Curiosities

Prepared by Michael P. Garofalo, M.S. 
Green Way Research, Gushen Grove, Red Bluff, California


Hands On:   Version 2 on March 15, 2013.  Complete Version, PDF Format, 530Kb, 53 pages, Printable, Read Only, Free. 


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"The hand is the cutting edge of the mind."
-  Jacob Bronowski

"The mind has exactly the same power as the hands: not merely to grasp the world, but to change it."
-  Colin Wilson 

"By rubbing up against the world, I define myself to myself."
-  Deane Juhan

"The upper limb is the lightning rod to the soul."
-  Robert Markison

“We leave traces of ourselves wherever we go, on whatever we touch.”
Lewis Thomas



Cloud Hands Blog

Green Way Research

How to Live the Good Life: Advice from Wise Persons

Index to a Philosopher's Notebooks

Somatics, Bodymind, Embodied Cognition

The Five Senses







Bibliography, Links, Resources

Fingers, Hands, Wrists, Arms
Touch, Touching, Feeling, Manipulating, Sensation, Somatics


Acupressure's Potent Points: A Guide to Self-Care for Common Ailments.  By Michael Reed Gach, Ph.D.  New York, Bantam, 1990.  Index, glossary, 251 pages.  ISBN: 978-0553349702.  VSCL. 

Acupressure, Self-Massage, Massage: Techniques, Quotations, Bibliography.  A somaesthetic practice. 

Benjamin, Ben E.  The Ethics of Touch: The Hands-on Practitioner's Guide to Creating a Professional, Safe and Enduring Practice.  By Cherie M. Shonen-Moe and Ben E. Benjamin, Ph.D.  Sohnen-Moe Assosciations, 2003.  310 pages.  ISBN: 9781882908400. 

Biel, Andrew.  Trail Guide to the Body: How to Locate Muscles, Bones and More.  By Andrew Biel, LMP.  Illustrations by Robin Dorn, LMP.  Boulder, Colorado, Books of Discovery, 1997, 2005, 3rd Edition.  Index, glossary, 422 pages.  ISBN: 9780965853453.  VSCL.  A very good resource and reference tool written by an experienced massage therapist.  A good book for learning palpatory and anatomy skills.   Self-massagers will find this book detailed and useful. 

Body-Mind, Somatics, Somaesthetics, Feeling, Sensations   By Mike Garofalo.

The Book of Skin  By Steven Conner.  Reaktion Books, 2009.  304 pages.  ISBN: 978-1861891938. 

Bradford, Michael. The Healing Energy of Your Hands.  Crossing Press, 1995.  224 pages.  ISBN: 9780895947819. 

Calais-Germain, Blandine.  Anatomy of Movement.   By Blandine Calais-Germain.   Seattle, Washington, Eastland Press, 1985, 1993.  Translated from the French by Nicole Commarmond.  Index, 289 pages.  ISBN: 0939616173.  VSCL. 

Co, Stephen.  Your Hands Can Heal You: Pranic Healing Energy Remedies to Boost Vitality and Speed Recovery from Common Health Problems.  By Stephen Co and Eric B. Robins, M.D..  Free Press, 2003.  320 pages.  ISBN: 9780743243056. 

The Deepest Sense: A Cultural History of Touch.  By Constance Classen. Studies in Sensory History.  Urbana, University of Illinois Press, 2012.  Index, bibliography, 296 pages.  ISBN: 978-0252078590.  VSCL. 

Exploring Body-Mind Centering: An Anthology of Experience and Method  Edited by Gill Wright Miller, Pat Ethridge, and Kate Tarlow Morgan.  Berkeley, California, North Atlantic Books, 2011.  Index, bibliography, notes, biographical, 470 pages.  ISBN: 9781556439681.  VSCL. 

Exercise Your Hands and Finders: 10 Moves to Ease Hand Pain.  By Michael W. Smith, M.D. 

Field, Tiffany.  Touch.   Bradford Books, 2003.  200 pages.  ISBN: 9780262561563. 

The Five Senses: Quotations, Bibliography, Resources, Practices, Embodied Cognition

Gordon, Richard.  Quantum-Touch: The Power to Heal  Illustrated by Eleanor Barrow.  Foreword by C. Norman Shealy, M.D..  North Atlantic Books, Third Edition, 2006.  ISBN: 978-1556435942. 

Hanna, Thomas.  Somatics: Reawakening The Mind's Control Of Movement, Flexibility, And Health.  Cambridge, Perseus Book Group, Da Capo Press, 1988.  Index, references, 162 pages.  ISBN: 9780738209579.  VSCL. 

Hartley, Linda.  Wisdom of the Body Moving: An Introduction to Body-Mind Centering.  By Linda Hartley.  Berkeley, California, North Atlantic Books, 1989, 1995.  Index, bibliography, 346 pages.  ISBN: 1556431740.  VSCL. 

Hand and Brain: The Neurophysiology and Psychology of Hand Movements.  Edited by Patrick Haggard.  Academic Press, 1996.  534 pages.  ISBN: 978-0123907998. 

Hayakawa, S. I. (1906-1992)  Language in Thought and Action.  By S. I. Hayakawa and Alan R. Hayakawa.  New York, Harcourt, Fifth Edition, 1990.  Originally published in 1939.  Index, bibliography 196 pages.  ISBN: 978015648240.  VSCL. 

Heller, Morton A.  The Psychology of Touch.  By Morton A. Heller and William Schiff.  Hillsdale, New Jersey, Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc., 1991. 

Hill, Warren.  Hands-On Thinking Skills.  By Warren Hill and Ronald Edwards.  Critical Thinking, 1987.  255 pages.  ISBN: 9781601445001. 

Hover-Kramer, Dorothea.  Healing Touch: Essential Energy Medicine for Yourself and Others.  Sounds True, 2011.  384 pages.  ISBN: 9781604074529. 

Jablonski, Nina G.  Skin: A Natural History
University of California Press, 2013.  288 pages.  ISBN: 978-0520275898.

Juhan, Deane.  Job's Body: A Handbook for Bodywork.  Barrytown, Station Hill Press, 3rd Edition, 2003.  488 pages.  ISBN:  978581770995.  "Juhan examines the physiology and psychology of our response to touch, combining excellent illustrations with a detailed but readable technical discussion. Individual sections conclude with his position that through body work, "heightened self-awareness and improved control over conditioned responses" will improve our health and reduce our Job-like suffering."  VSCL. 

Juhan, Deane.  Touched by the Goddess: The Physical, Psychological and Spiritual Aspects of Bodywork.  Barrytown, Station Hill Press, 2001.  160 pages.  ISBN:  9781581770810. 

Lakoff, George.  Philosophy in the Flesh : The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought  By George Lakoff and Mark Johnson.  Basic Books, Perseu Books, 1999.  Index, bibliography, 624 pages.  ISBN: 0465056741.   "The mind is inherently embodied.  Thought is mostly unconscious.  Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical."  VSCL.    

Leonard, Crystal.  The Sense of Touch and How Its Affects Development

Massage, Acupressure, and Self-Massage Techniques, Practices, Theories: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotations  A somaesthetic practice. 

Montague, Ashley.  Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin.  William Morrow, 3rd Edition, 1986.  First Edition 1971.  Detailed References, index, 493  pages.  ISBN: 9780060960285.  VSCL.   

Mountcastle, Vernon B.  The Sensory Hand: Neural Mechanisms of Somatic Sensation.  Harvard University Press, 2005.  640 pages.  ISBN: 9780674019744. 

Napier, John.  Hands.  Revised and edited by Russell H. Tuttle.  Princeton University Press, 1993.  200 pages.  ISBN: 9780691025476. 

Nelson, Dawn.  From the Heart Through the Hands: The Power of Touch in Caregiving.  Findhorn, 2006.  Second edition.  192 pages.  ISBN: 9781844090839. 

The Neurophysiology and Psychology of Hand Movements.  Edited by Alan M. Wing, Patrick Haggard, and J. Randall Flanagan.  Elsevier, 1996.  ISBN: 9780127594408.  

Packing: Supercharge You Hands.  By Scott Meredith.  CreateSpace Independent Pub., 2015.  142 pages.  ISBN: 978-1519607300. 

Pallasmaa, Jhuani.  The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses.  Wiley, Third Edition, 2012.  128 pages.  ISBN: 9781119941286. 

Pallasmaa, Juhani.  The Thinking Hand: Existential and Embodied Wisdom in Architecture.  Wiley, 2009.  160 pages.  ISBN: 9780470779293.

Save Your Hands!: The Complete Guide to Injury Prevention and Ergonomics for Manual Therapists.  By Lauriann Greene and Richard W. Goggins.  Body of Work Books, 2008.  333 pages.  ISBN: 978-0967954912. 

Self-Massage and Acupressure Techniques, Practices, Theories: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotations.  A somaesthetic practice. 

Sennett, Richard.  The Craftsman.  Yale University Press, 2009.  336 pages.  ISBN: 9780300151190. 

Skin: On the Cultural Border Between Self and World.  By Claudia Benthien. Translated by Thomas Dunlap.  European Perspectives: A Series in Social Thought and Cultural Criticism.  Columbia University Press, 2004.  256 pages.  ISBN:

Somatics, Bodymind Sensations, Somaesthetics: Quotations, Bibliography, Links, Practices

The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living  By Nicolas Ortner.  Carlsbad, California, Hay House, 2013.  Index, 230 pages.  ISBN: 978-1401939427.  VSCL. 

Ten Ways to Exercise the Hands and Fingers

Thinking Through the Skin.  Edited by Sara Ahmed and Jackie Stacey.  Routledge, 2001.  256 pages.  ISBN: 978-0415223560. 

Touch, Touching, Hands   By Mike Garofalo. 

Wilson, Frank R.  The Hand: How Its Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture.  New York, Vintage Books, 1998.  Notes, bibliography, 397 pages.  ISBN: 0679740473.  VSCL.    

The Wisdom of the Hands Blog.  By Doug Stowe.  This blog is dedicated to sharing the concept that our hands are essential to learning- that we engage the world and its wonders, sensing and creating primarily through the agency of our hands. We abandon our children to education in boredom and intellectual escapism by failing to engage their hands in learning and making.

VSCL = Valley Spirit Center Library, Red Bluff, California






Internet Webpages and Information

Effects of Ageing on Touch 

Cloud Hands Blog by Michael P. Garofalo

The Five Senses

Hands and Touching: Reflections, Studies, Bibliography, Quotations

Hand - Wikipedia 

The Healing Power of Touch (WebMD): Body psychotherapy, physical therapy, massage therapy, Osteopathic manipulative treatment.  By Andrea Cooper. 

How Sensitive Are You: Two-Point Discrimination Test  from The Skin Senses edited by D. R. Kenshalo.

Pulling Onions: Thoughts of a Gardener

Self-Massage Techniques, Practices, Theories: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotations

Strings on Your Fingers: String Figures, String Art, Native Crafts

Tools - Thoughts and Quotations for Gardeners

Touching - Thoughts and Quotations for Gardeners








Fitness, Exercise Science

How to Live a Good Life: Advice from Wise Persons

The Virtuous Life

Index to A Philosopher's Notebooks







Quotations, Sayings

Fingers, Hands, Wrists, Arms
Touch, Touching, Feeling, Sensation, Somatics




"You can get some idea of how important touch is from the number of times references to it crop up in everyday language.  We speak of people, thick-skinned themselves, who rub others the wrong way and make cutting remarks that hurt think-skinned or touchy acquaintances.  We may or may not admire a person who is a soft touch.  We think and talk a great deal of our feelings for others, and invariably, we value the human touch.  Giving all this, you will not be surprised to learn that touch is probably one of the first of the human senses to develop."
 The ABCs of the Human Body, 1987, p. 138


"Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain."
-  Carl G. Jung 


"We have to understand that the world can only be grasped by action not by contemplation.  The hand is more important than the eye... The hand is the cutting edge of the mind."
-  Jacob Bronowski


"The mind has exactly the same power as the hands: not merely to grasp the world, but to change it."
-  Colin Wilson


"I think it's a pretty good day if I can get through it without lifting a finger."
-  Jane Kaczmarek


"One sees more with one's fingers than with one's glasses.
Man sihet jtzund mer durch die finger denn durch die brillen"  


"Love as it exists in society is merely the mingling of two fantasies and the contact of two skins."
-  S. R. N. Chamfort


"Reality is the leading cause of stress among those in touch with it."
-  Lily Tomlin


"Touch has been defined as the variety of sensations evoked by stimulation of the skin by mechanical, thermal, chemical, or electrical events. Even Aristotle, in dividing our contact with the world into the five senses, was doubtful that "touch" described but a single sense. Because there is such a variety of sensations aroused by stimuli interacting with the skin, it might be more appropriate to describe this modality as the "senses of touch." And, as befits such a symphony of sensations, there are a multitude of instruments contributing their voices, each in its own fashion. The mechanical and physiological characteristics of the skin and these receptor structures, as with those in other senses, define and limit the sensitivity of the skin to stimuli."
-  Morton A. Heller, The Psychology of Touch


"The mind's first step to self-awareness must be through the body."
-  George Sheehan



"A callused palm and dirty fingernails precede a Green Thumb.
When the hoe handle is loose, you will have misplaced the steel wedges.   
Not to move either hand, nor clap, nor think too much are all good for zen gardening. 
As you move your hands so you move your mind.  
Why is it that you can find four gloves for the left hand, and none for the right? 
As with most arts, gardening is an expression of our hands.
Your hand hoe will always find its way to the bottom of the weeding barrel. 
Civilization is rooted in the hands of the gardeners.
You can sometimes get a handle on life, but it often breaks.
The eyes of a gardener are usually bigger than her hands.  
Gardening helps us to carefully attend to the close at hand.  
Chop the weeds and hose the water ... the sounds of two hands clapping - with delight. 
Your rich, famous, and handsome; and, your garden doesn't care.
The difference between a pile of rocks and a rock garden - the eyes and hands of the gardener.
Getting your hands dirty," applies to more than gardening. 
Better to lend a helping hand than just to point a finger.   
Put your hands on the earth and feel the sorrows of the world. 
Hold your hoe in your hand, sharpen it, and fully sense its meaning. 
I see my hand more often than my face, and there is a lesson here to grasp somehow. 
Unclench your fist to give a hand."
-  Michael P. Garofalo, Pulling Onions



Touching and being touched by other people can contribute a great deal to emotional well being.  Touching and cuddling are essential for the healthy development of babies. 


"There is a lovable quality about the actual tools.  One feels so kindly to the thing that enables the hand to obey the brain.  Moreover, one feels a good deal of respect for it; without it the brain and the hand would be helpless."
-  Gertrude Jekyll


“The hands that help are better far than lips that pray.”
-  Robert G. Ingersoll 


"The art of life is to show your hand."
-  E. V. Lucas


"If you'd rather live surrounded by pristine objects than by the traces of happy memories, stay focused on tangible things.  Otherwise, stop fixating on stuff you can touch and start caring about stuff that touches you."
-  Martha Beck


"Spade!  with which Wilkinson hath tilled his lands,
And shaped these pleasant walks by Emont's side,
Thou art a tool of honor in my hands,
I press thee, through a yielding soil, with pride."
-  William Wordsworth


"Touch has a memory."
-  John Keats 


"The only additional point I would emphasize concerning this stage when the thought-language nexus is building is that something very important is happening in the hand itself.  At about the age of one year the child's hands are rapidly becoming manipulative organs with fingers that will soon be able to move independently.  The world of objects, and knowledge of the action of those objects, will increase rapidly, and distinctive actions which can be taken with objects in the hand will also increase.  In other words, the thought-language nexus is becoming a hand-thought-language nexus.  The child learns with real objects, by trial and error, to make constructions that are inevitably composed of discrete events unified through a sequence of actions.  Playing with anything to make something is always paralleled in cognition by the creation of a story.  Front > Middle > Back.  Beginning > Middle > End.   Steven > Store > Record."
-  Frank R. Wilson, The Hand, p.195 


Makenna, my granddaughter, ran around a 6ft couch and coffee table 100 times once while having fun and showing off in my living room.  I think she was a 3 year old at the time.  She held different things in her hands while she circled the obstacles, but I can't recall what she held as she ran.  Walk or run around the couch game = [Start > Walk in Circle around actual obstacles > Walk to Front > Walk to Side > Walk to Back > Walk to Front > Repeat Circle Walking 100 times > Stop.]  

Describe the flow of hand movements in the Chen Taijiquan Short 18 Form?  Practice the the Chen Taijiquan 18 Form.  Follow an ordered sequence of hand movements.  Move the hands in many ways during your Taijiquan practice.  Use formulas for action sequences, e.g., Chen Taijiquan Short 18 Form = [Start Beginning  Wuji > Beginning Tai Chi > Buddha's Warrior Attendant Pounds the Mortar > Lazily Tying One's Coat > Six Sealing and Four Closing > Single Whip > Proceed step by step to Posture 18 > Stop.]  Each Taijiquan movement is a story― an orderly tale, part mimicry, part dance, part marital applications, part memories of muscles and mind united, part metaphor, part shamanic ritual magic, and partly a repeatable play of the hands.   
-  Mike Garofalo, Hands On



"There are several basic kinds of touch that you may experience:  Intimate -- Here, your pressure receptors respond to a handshake, hug or kiss. If the person giving the touch is someone you care about, you'll probably feel warm and comforted. Your pressure sensors send the feeling of how hard the embrace is, and your brain interprets the nature of the touch as soothing.  Healing or therapeutic -- This type of touch is often associated with massage or acupuncture. Sometimes, the pressure is gentle and meant to soothe sore muscles. Other times, the pressure is deep in order to work out knots. Despite differences in severity of pressure, you likely to be aware that the outcome is healing, so your body allows you to relax.  Exploratory or inquisitive -- We all learn about the world through our sense of touch. Many people test out foods, fabrics or other objects by feeling different textures. Sometimes it's possible to rely solely on the sense of touch. This is why it's easy for you to reach into your bag and find a pair of keys without looking. You know the cold feeling of the metal key and hard smooth feel of your plastic key chain.  Aggressive or painful -- Of course, we all know that touch can also equate to pain if the pressure is too much and the intent is wrong. A handshake that's too firm can be uncomfortable instead of reassuring."
Psychology of Touching


"There is a lovable quality about the actual tools.   One feels so kindly to the thing that enables the hand to obey the brain.   Moreover, one feels a good deal of respect for it; without it the brain and the hand would be helpless."
-  Gertrude Jekyll


"The object of our lives is to look at, listen to, touch, taste things.  Without them, - these sticks, stones, feathers, shells, - there is no Deity."
R. H. Blyth, Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics, p. 144.


"Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional, and mental states."
-  Carol Welch 


"Holding onto and manipulating physical objects is one of the things we learn earliest and do the most.  It should not be surprising that object control is the basis of one of the five most fundamental metaphors for our inner life.  To control objects, we must learn to control our bodies.  We learn both forms of control together.  Self-control and object control are inseparable experiences from earliest childhood.  It is no surprise that we should have as a metaphor─a primary metaphor─Self Control is Object Control."
-   George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Philosophy in the Flesh, 1999, p.270


"We recognize a condition of morbid susceptibility of the sense of touch which makes it shrink back in horror from every contact, every gasping of a firm object.  Translate such a psychological habitus into its ultimate logic - as instinctive hatred of every reality, as flight into the 'ungraspable', into the 'inconceivable', as antipathy towards every form, every spatial and temporal concept, towards everything firm ... as being at home in a world undisturbed by reality of any kind, a merely 'inner world', a 'real' world, an 'eternal world' ... 'The kingdom of God is within you' ..."
-  Friedrich Nietzsche, The Anti-Christ, p. 141 


“The experience of touch is basic to discovering who we are and who is other and how we dance this life together…”
-  Bonnie B. Cohen, 1993.


"Men have become the tools of their tools."
-  Henry David Thoreau


“Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth.”
-  Margaret Atwood, Der blinde Mörder


Sensors in the skin: Merkel's discs, free nerve endings, Meissner corpuscles, Ruffini Endings, Pacinian corpuscules, etc., detect heat, cold, pain, touch, pressure. 


There are 27 bones in a human hand.  There are 14 phalanges; proximal, medial (all except the thumb), and distal in the fingers.  There are 5 metacarpals, I, II, III, IV, & V in the hand.  There are 8 carpals: scaphoid, lunate, triquetrum, pisiform, hamate, capitate, trapezoid, and trapezium in the wrist.  One-fourth of all of your bones are in your hands. Half of all your bones are in your hands and feet, since the feet have another 52 bones.







"The index finger, (also referred to as forefinger, pointer finger, trigger finger, digitus secundus, digitus II, and many other terms), is the first finger and the second digit of a human hand. It is located between the first and third digits, between the thumb and the middle finger. It is usually the most dextrous and sensitive finger of the hand, though not the longest – it is shorter than the middle finger, and may be shorter or longer than the ring finger – see digit ratio.  "Index finger" literally means "pointing finger", from the same Latin source as indicate; its anatomical names are either "index finger" or "second digit".  A lone index finger held vertically is often used to represent the number 1, or when held up or moved side to side (finger-wagging), it can be an admonitory gesture. With the hand held palm out and the thumb and middle fingers touching, it represents the letter d in the American Sign Language alphabet. In sports, it can also represent victory, as some championship-winning teams raise their index finger (often saying "We're number one!") while posing for a championship team photo – oversized foam hands with a single upraised index are also used for this purpose; compare with the victory sign. For the vast majority of computer users, it is the finger most often used to click a mouse, as well as the finger used in the untrained 'hunt and peck' typing style.  Pointing one's index finger at a person is considered rude in certain cultures; amore polite way to indicate another person would be to raise a hand in their direction, as if holding a platter."
Index Finger


I assume the protocol for testing for sterognosis does not allow the subject to look at or see the object that she/he is touching.  The subject must try to identify, name, classify, describe, and/or guess using primarily the sense of touch.  "Gnosis" related to knowing, intuiting.  Naturally, if she/he were asked to touch a sprig of Tuscan rosemary in bloom, she/he would have the added sensory dimension of the sense of rosemary smell to assist her/him more information along with the felt texture of the sprig.  


"Green fingers are the extension of a verdant heart."
-  Russell Page 


"I can prove now, for instance, that two human hands exist.  How?  By holding up my two hands, and saying, as I make a certain gesture with the right hand, 'Here is one hand', and adding, as I make a certain gesture with the left, 'and here is another.'"
-  Professor G. E. Moore, Proof of an External World


    "The scar on my left hand came from an accident I had with a knife when I was about six years old.  The scar on my right wrist came from a serious dog bite I got when I was about seventeen.  My scars are certainly some clear evidence for the accuracy of my past memories about previous injuries to my hands.  Indeed, I can show you my hands or the scars on my hands if you asked to look at them; but, I don't see how it 'proves' much. 
    I never doubted that my hands existed, nor did any of my family and friends.  What is there to 'prove'?  It's not as if my fingerprints on file were being used to help a coroner 'prove' that a headless dead body was that of Mike Garofalo.  Or, being asked to 'prove' to someone that I am a U.S. Air Force veteran, or am really married to Blanche Eubanks, or do actually weigh 258 pounds, or can do a symbolic logic proof. 
    It might provide convincing evidence for the fact that I had a serious mental or physical problem if I could no longer point to my hands, or show you my hands when asked, or use my hands to grasp things, or move my fingers, or write with my hands, or poorly use the word "hand" in our conversations (e.g., confuse it with my knee), or not know that my hands were my hands anymore and claim they were the 'hands of the devil'.  I could I feel very perplexed about my own hands when on an LSD trip?"  These curious and sad situations do occur in life. 
    Doubting that my hands exist or thinking that I need to 'prove' that my hands exist seems like some kind of philosophical sleight of hand."   
-  Mike Garofalo, Hands On


"An expression has meaning only in the stream of life.  To understand an expression is to be prepared for one of its uses.  If we can't think of any use use for it at all, then we don't understand it at all.  Moore's saying that 'I know that this is a hand' may be a misuse of language if Moore himself doesn't know how he is using it.  However, it isn't difficult to think of usages for "I know that this is a hand."
-  Ludwig Wittgenstein, Comments to Norman Malcolm in 1949 


"Touch is the mother of the senses. Not only are women more sensitive when they touch, but they're also more sensitive to being touched."
-  Helen Fisher


"I remember the time I was kidnapped and they sent a piece of my finger to my father. He said he wanted more proof."
-  Rodney Dangerfield


“It is not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger.”
-  David Hume


"The paved highway of belief through touch
And sight leads straightest into the human heart
And the precincts of the mind."
-  Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, Verse 105


“I've got my fingers crossed that the worst of it is over.” 
-  Bob Schrieber


"The intellect is only one among several fundamental psychic functions and therefore does not suffice to give a complete picture of the world.  For this another function― feeling― is needed to.  Feeling often arrives at convictions that are different from those of the intellect, and we cannot always prove that the convictions of feeling are necessarily inferior."
-  Carl G. Jung, M.D., Psychological Reflections, p.276


"The hand is so widely represented in the brain, the hand's neurologic and biomechanical elements are so prone to spontaneous interaction and reorganization, and the motivations and efforts which give rise to individual use of the hand are so deeply and widely rooted, that we must admit that we are trying to explain a basic imperative of human life."
-  Frank R. Wilson, M.D., The Hand, p. 10


"It is one of the most effective attitudes of the neurotic to measure thumbs down, so to speak, a real person by an ideal, since in doing so he can depreciate him as much as he wishes."
-  Alfred Adler


"Dear middle finger, thank you for sticking up for me."
-  Author unknown


"It is clear that the decisive form of our intercourse with things is in fact touch.  And if this is so, touch and contact are necessarily the most conclusive factor in determining the structure of our world."
-  Ortega y Gasset 


"I'm struck by the insidious, computer-driven tendency to take things out of the domain of muscular activity and put them into the domain of mental activity.  The transfer is not paying off.  Sure, muscles are unreliable, but they represent several million years of accumulated finesse."
-  Brian Eno, musician and composer, Wired 1/99, p. 176 





Touching - Thoughts and Quotations for Gardeners

Tools - Thoughts and Quotations for Gardeners

Pulling Onions: Thoughts of a Gardener

Hands and Touching: Reflections, Studies, Bibliography, Quotations

Self-Massage Techniques, Practices, Theories: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotations

Strings on Your Fingers: String Figures, String Art, String Crafts, Native Crafts

T'ai Chi Ch'uan (Taijiquan, Tai Chi, Yang & Chen): Lessons, Research, Studies, Bibliography

Yoga: Studies, Bibliography, Resources

Chi Kung (Qigong, Dao Yin, Chinese Yoga): Lessons, Research, Studies, Bibliography 

Strength Training for Seniors

How to Live a Good Life: Advice from Wise Persons

The Virtuous Life

Index to a A Philosopher's Notebooks




Make string figures:
use your fingers and hands and a tool,
use your fingers as a tool,
activating and practicing careful hand-eye coordination,
use your hands to follow a rule,
setting a rhythm for today's practice, and a setting a rhythm for your practice,
use your fingers to create geometrical and artistic representations while working in a three-dimensional medium (hands and string),
pass some free time, having a pastime, fiddling around, resting, playing
use your fingers and hands to play a game,
demonstrate a skill, show a string figure, perform, entertain, joke around

wondering what it would be like to be rigging lines and nets, and fishing in a boat somewhere in the Torres Straits
  {the string figure, Trigger Fish or Nageg, was collected in the Torres Straights by Dr. Haddon and given to Caroline Furness Jane, String Figures, 1906, p. 96},
creating feeling memories and automatic performance skills via repetition with fingers/touch/brain/habits/ideas/memories,
playing an ancient game, practicing a weaving art, being visually creative and using your imagination,

accompany a sequence of figure creation with the telling of brief stories,
doing some tricks and magic, pretending,
giving up, stopping practice, and moving on, or repeating. 

Strings on Your Fingers a webpage by Mike Garofalo





“If a thing can be said to be, to exist, then such is the nature of these expansive times that this thing which is must suffer to be touched. Ours is a time of connection; the private, and we must accept this, and it’s a hard thing to accept, the private is gone. All must be touched. All touch corrupts. All must be corrupted."
-  Tony Kushner,


"Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together."
-  John Ruskin 


"Chironomia is the art of using gesticulations or hand gestures to good effect in traditional rhetoric or oratory.  Effective use of the hands, with or without the use of the voice, is a practice of great antiquity, which was developed and systematized by the Greeks and the Romans.  Various gestures had conventionalized meanings which were commonly understood, either within certain class or professional groups, or broadly among dramatic and oratorical audiences.  Gilbert Austin was a well-known author on chironomia."


"There's something about the theater which makes my fingertips tingle."
-  Wole Soyinka


"On the other hand, you have different fingers."
-  Stephen Wright


The human hand has been used as mnemonic (remembering, memory) or calculating device for many centuries:  1) The Guidonian hand scheme was used by singers to help them sight sing.  2)  Chisanbop is an abacus-like finger counting method, invented in Korea, used to perform basic mathematical operations; sometimes called
Finger Math.  3.  Measuring: Food portion serving sizes.  


"The moving finger writes, and having written moves on. 
Nor all thy piety nor all thy wit, can cancel half a line of it."

-  Omar Khayyam


"It's so beautifully arranged on the plate - you know someone's fingers have been all over it."
-  Julia Child 


"Without the body, the wisdom of the larger self cannot be known."
-  John Conger






"And the hand, the beauty of the hands, is that they speak a universal primary language.  It is the language of newborns.  That's the language before words.  Everybody had that language or we wouldn't be alive.  People who do the research say that touching premature babies fifteen minutes a day increased their growth rate by forty-five percent."
-  Anat Baniel


"Touch receptors, called Meissner's corpuscles, are the receptor cells for detecting light touch.  Though taste and smell receptor cells are located only in small areas of the body, the receptor cells for touch are located all over the body, in your skin. Where there are many receptors, or the cells are more concentrated, your sense of touch is heightened. So, the greater the number of receptors a body part has, the more sensitive it will be.  It is true that the lips do have many of these touch receptors. When scientists list the top areas of the body in terms of sensitivity, the lips and fingertips are often ranked as the areas with the highest concentrations of receptor cells.  This sensitivity is also connected to the brain. The areas of the brain that receive messages from touch receptors in the lips and hands are much larger than the areas for receiving messages from less sensitive places, such as the back. More brain power is spent interpreting sensations of touch from the lips and fingers than from other areas that contain these cells.  So, yes, lips are one of the most sensitive parts of the body.  Depending on your particular arrangement of nerves, however, your lips may or may not be more sensitive than your hands."
Touch Sensitivity of Lips and Fingers


"The human body is vapor materialized by sunshine mixed with the life of the stars."
-  Paracelsus 


“For Rudolf Laban, touch enables the relationship between movement and space to be discerned within bodily-experience.  Laban viewed touch as the precursor to our sensory ability, describing touch as the perceived change in the relationship of our bodies to the space-time continuum.  Laban describes all our senses as fundamentally tactile impressions perceiving changes in space: changes in air pressure, in the light spectrum, or in the chemical fluctuation of bodily fluid.  Each of the senses and sensory receptors is tuned or ‘sensitive’ to change within a different range of vibrational frequencies.  The modulation of frequency enables the body to perceive tactile impressions or differences in rhythmic changes in space.  Laban refers to touch as a property of condensing matter, the displacement of space within the flux of time.  Our body is always in contact with space even as it disappears between our self and another.  Within our body, certain movements created by our muscular energy can create condensation (contraction) that generates both inner and outer tactile impressions.  Rudolph Laban made an enormous contribution to the systematic application of movement analysis, notion and the symbolic models of movement language.  His work combines biomechanics with the underlying qualities, meanings and interpretations of movement in space.  Laban perceived all movement as following different rhythms, and the difference in these rhythms relate of varying effort qualities.  For Laban effort, rhythm and space are interconnected, and touch is the unifying sensual property within all perception.”
-  Thecla Schiphorst, The Somaesthetics of Touch


"And of course we are familiar with the English common law rule of thumb that said a man could in fact use a stick no bigger than his thumb to discipline his wife and family."
-  Patricia Ireland


"Happiness never lays its finger on its pulse."
-  Adam Smith


"Firmly clenching the right hand for ninety seconds when you are trying to memorize something, followed by an equivalent left hand clench when you want to recall the information again, could improve your chances of success, new research has revealed."
Hand Clench Improves Memory


"In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God's existence."
-  Sir Isaac Newton



Cueva de las Manos in Argentina, artwork created circa 7,300 BCE



"The fork is the most powerful tool ever placed in our hands."
-  John Robbins, Diet for a Small Planet


"From early days,
Beginning not long after that first time
In which, a Babe, by intercourse of touch,
I held mute dialogues with my Mother's heart
I have endeavored to display the means
Whereby this infant sensibility,
Great birthright of our Being, was in me
Augmented and sustained."
-  William Wordsworth, The Prelude, II, 265


“Never touch your idols: the gilding will stick to your fingers."
-  Gustave Flaubert


"We could even say that this role of the tactile senses in establishing a fuller and fuller sense of self is their primary function.  An infant approaches objects not with an initial idea of research into and manipulation of externals, but with an idea of self-stimulation; and it discovers its own anatomical parts in exactly the same way (at at the same moments) that it discovers other objects.  We can never touch just one thing; we always touch two at the same instant, an object and ourselves, and it is in the simultaneous interplay between these two contiguities that the internal sense of self― different from both the collection of body parts and the collections of external objects is encountered.  My tactile surface is not only the interface between my body and the world, it is the interface between my thought processes and my physical existence as well.  By rubbing up against the world, I define myself to myself."
-  Deane Juhan, Job's Body, p. 34


“The pages and the words are my world, spread out before your eyes and for your hand to touch.  Vaguely, I can see your face looking down into me, as I look back.  Do you see my eyes?”
-  Markus Zusak,


"I'm struck by the insidious, computer-driven tendency to take things out of the domain of muscular activity and put them into the domain of mental activity.  The transfer is not paying off.  Sure, muscles are unreliable, but they represent several million years of accumulated finesse."
-  Brian Eno, Wired 1/99, p. 176


"When you make a decision, you need facts. If those facts are in your brain, they're at your fingertips. If they're all in Google somewhere, you may not make the right decision on the spur of the moment."
-  Ken Jennings


"Few of us have lost our minds, but most of us have long ago lost our bodies."
-  Ken Wilbur 


"I touch the future. I teach."
-  Christa McAuliffe





"Handedness is a human attribute defined by unequal distribution of fine motor skills between the left and right hands. An individual who is more able with the right hand is called right-handed or a righty and one who is more skilled with the left is said to be left-handed or a lefty. The majority of infants have developed hand preference by 6 months of age.  Right-handedness is is most common. Right-handed people are more dexterous with their right hands when performing tasks. A variety of studies suggest that 70–90% of the world population is right-handed, rather than left-handed or any other form of handedness.  A minority of adult people are equally skilled with both hands, and are termed ambidextrous.  The reasons for handedness, and why right-handedness is dominant are not known for certain, but a number of theories have been proposed."
Wikipedia - Handedness


"Movement, to be experienced, has to be found in the body, not put on like a dress or a coat."
-  Mary Starks Whitehouse


“I felt that if he touched me, I'd die. And then the thought crawled into my brain that if he didn't touch me, I'd die.”
-  Kitty Thomas,
The Auction


"Note that hand control involves, for the first time in evolution, a coming together of visual, tactile, and proprioceptive feedback on the same action system.  Hand control may be regarded as the crossing of a biological Rubicon in that a dominant distal sense - vision - comes to contorl and modulate actions directly."
-  Merlin Donald, Origins, p.147


"I never had little brothers, so I was totally not used to hearing a lot of cussing at a young age!  I learned what 'pull my finger' meant the hard way."
-  Danica McKellar


"I have really bad luck with my thumbs.  It plagues me, actually.  It drives me crazy!  Both of them are very oddly shaped."
-  Kristen Stewart


"The pressure of the hands causes the springs of life to flow."
-  Tokujiro Namikoshi 


Whenever anyone asked him about Zen, the great Zen Master Gutei would quietly raise his right pointer (index) finger into the air.  A young monk from in temple began to imitate Gutei's behavior.  Whenever he heard people talking about Gutei's teachings, he would interrupt the discussion and raise his right pointer finger.  Gutei heard about the monk's mischief and sarcastic mimicry.  When he saw the monk in the temple's courtyard, he seized the monk by the right arm and violently twisted his right pointer finger.  The monk cried out in pain from his hurt hand, and began to run away.  Gutei called out to him.  When the young monk turned to look, Gutei raised his right index finger into the air.   At that moment the young monk became enlightened.  (In some versions of the story, Gutei breaks or cuts off the student's right index finger.)


"Fingerprints can be inferred to have a function. The ridges are not random in size and distribution, but show a distinctive pattern. Although a design inference seems obvious, it is not at all clear what functionality fingerprints provide. Two hypotheses are to be found in the literature. The first is that fingerprints improve grip (analogous to the tread on car tires). The second is to enhance tactile perception by "increasing the subsurface strain with respect to the surface deformation." The new research validates the second hypothesis.  After describing the experimental work and the findings, the authors present three conclusions. First, and most significant, is that the regular ridged topography of finger skin is an effective amplifier of the minute vibrations generated by surface sliding. Amplification factors of up to 100 are reported.  Furthermore, the inter-ridge distances are optimized to amplify the relevant frequencies. Secondly, observations are reported which are suggestive of why our fingerprints are not straight (we can compare ourselves with "macaque monkeys [that] have ridges parallel to the long axis of their fingers").  Experiments show that the amplification effect is "strongly dependent on the orientation of the ridges with respect to the scanning direction". So, at the level of hypothesis, it is suggested that our elliptical ridges respond well, whatever the direction of sliding.  Thirdly, the observed response behavior of the sensory system is suggestive of several other valuable performance characteristics, described as "interesting functional consequences of fingerprints".
Understanding the Exquisite Tactile Sensitivity of Our Fingertips


“The only spot of comfort was the lingering impression of her fingertips through the fabric of his shirt, a reminder of the good side of having skin.  He cultivated that square-inch patch, tilled and tended it into a full-body embrace.”
-  Alex Shakar,




The cortical homunculus was
devised by Dr. Wilder Penfield in 1958.



"It is therefore not surprising that the lips should be more fully equipped with sensory nerve endings than any other part of the body, with the possible exception of the fingertips.  Indeed, the representation of the lips in the brain exceeds that devoted to sensory inputs from the entire torso.  Lips, mouth, tongue, the sense of smell, vision, and hearing are all intimately bound up with each other and the experience of suckling."
-  Ashley Montagu, Touching, p.116


"The close association between the skin and the central nervous system could not have more concrete anatomical and physiological connections.  All tissues and organs of the body develop from three primitive layers of cells that make up the early embryo: The endoderm produces the internal organs, the mesoderm produces the connective tissues, the bones and the skeletal muscles, while the ectoderm produces both the skin and the nervous system.
    Skin and brain develop from exactly the same primitive cells.  Depending upon how you look at it, the skin is the outer surface of the brain, or the brain is the deepest layer of the skin.  Surface and innermost core spring from the same mother tissues, and throughout the life of the organism they function as a single unit, divisible only by dissection or analytical abstraction.  Every touch initiates a variety of mental responses, and nowhere along the line can I draw a sharp distinction between a periphery which purely responds as opposed to a central nervous system which purely thinks.  My tactile experience is just as central to my thought processes as are language skills or categories of thought."
-  Deane Juhan, Job's Body, p. 35 



Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.



“For Rudolf Laban, touch enables the relationship between movement and space to be discerned within bodily-experience.  Laban viewed touch as the precursor to our sensory ability, describing touch as the perceived change in the relationship of our bodies to the space-time continuum.  Laban describes all our senses as fundamentally tactile impressions perceiving changes in space: changes in air pressure, in the light spectrum, or in the chemical fluctuation of bodily fluid.  Each of the senses and sensory receptors is tuned or ‘sensitive’ to change within a different range of vibrational frequencies.  The modulation of frequency enables the body to perceive tactile impressions or differences in rhythmic changes in space.  Laban refers to touch as a property of condensing matter, the displacement of space within the flux of time.  Our body is always in contact with space even as it disappears between our self and another.  Within our body, certain movements created by our muscular energy can create condensation (contraction) that generates both inner and outer tactile impressions.  Rudolph Laban made an enormous contribution to the systematic application of movement analysis, notion and the symbolic models of movement language.  His work combines biomechanics with the underlying qualities, meanings and interpretations of movement in space.  Laban perceived all movement as following different rhythms, and the difference in these rhythms relate of varying effort qualities.  For Laban effort, rhythm and space are interconnected, and touch is the unifying sensual property within all perception.”
-  Thecla Schiphorst, The Somaesthetics of Touch




"I would have touched it like a child
But knew my finger could but have touched
Cold stone and water.   I grew wild,
Even accusing heaven because
It had set down among its laws:
Nothing that we love over-much
Is ponderable to our touch."
-  W. B. Yeats 


"The power of love to change bodies is legendary, built into folklore, common sense, and everyday experience.  Love moves the flesh, it pushes matter around ...  Throughout history, "tender loving care" has uniformly been recognized as a valuable element in healing."
-  Larry Dossey


"Never burn your fingers to snuff another's candle."
-  Author Unknown


“We leave traces of ourselves wherever we go, on whatever we touch.”
Lewis Thomas






"It is worthy of note that the symbol of an open hand with extended fingers was a favorite talisman in former ages, and was to be seen, for example, at the entrances of dwellings in ancient Carthage. It is also found on Lybian and Phoenician tombs, as well as on Celtic monuments in French Brittany. Dr. H. C. Trumbull quotes evidence from various writers showing that this symbol is in common use at the present time in several Eastern lands. In the region of ancient Babylonia the figure of a red outstretched hand is still displayed on houses and animals; and in Jerusalem the same token is frequently placed above the door or on the lintel on account of its reputed virtues in averting evil glances. The Spanish Jews of Jerusalem draw the figure of a hand in red upon the doors of their houses; and they also place upon their children's heads silver handshaped charms, which they believe to be specially obnoxious to unfriendly individuals desirous of bringing evil either upon the children themselves, or upon other members of the household.  In different parts of Palestine the open-hand symbol appears alike on the houses of Christians, Jews, and Moslems, usually painted in blue on or above the door. Claude Reignier Conder, R. E., in "Heth and Moab," remarks on the antiquity of this pagan emblem, which appears on Roman standards and on the sceptre of Siva in India. He is of the opinion that the figure of the red hand, whether sculptured on Irish crosses, displayed in Indian temples, or on Mexican buildings, is always an example of the same original idea,--that of a protective symbol."


"The Hamsa Hand is an ancient Middle Eastern amulet symbolizing the Hand of God. In all faiths it is a protective sign. It brings it’s owner happiness, luck, health, and good fortune.  The hamsa hand has a wide variety of different spellings which includes hamesh, hamsa, chamsa, and khamsa.  It is also identified as the Hand of Miriam, Aaron and Moses’s sister, and the Hand of Fatima.  The hamsa hand has two main styles.  One style is shaped like a regular hand, and the other has two symmetrical thumbs.  The second of the two styles is the most popular.  The wearer of the hamsa hand can wear it facing up or down and it is believed to give the owner success, harmony, and protection from the “Ayin Ha’ra,” also known as the evil eye.  The hamsa hand has a variety of meanings and interpretations, depending on the culture.  The word, “hamsa,” derives its name from the five fingers on the hand. In Hebrew, the number five is “hamesh” and the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is “Hey,” one of God’s holy names. “Hamesh” is representative of the five books of the Torah. In Judaism, it is also interpreted to be the Hand of Miriam, and symbolic of the owner’s five senses in an effort to praise God.  In Arabic, it is “khamesh.” In the Sunni culture, the hamsa is associated with the Five Pillars of Islam.  For the Shi’tes, it symbolizes the Five People of the Cloak.  In the Islamic faith, it symbolizes as The Hand of Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed.  The hamsa hand sometimes includes an eye symbol, which is thought to protect against the evil eye.  It is often worn as a pendant on a necklace but also is found on key chains, house decorations, baby carriages, and other jewelry items."
Meaning of the Hamsa Hand







"Clean your finger before you point at my spots."
-  Benjamin Franklin


"I stuck out like a sore thumb when I came on, just by the fact that I looked so different. I think that adjustment for the audience was a hurdle for me."
-  Elisabeth Rohm


“Keep in touch without touching”
-  Amit Abraham


“By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes.”
-  Shakespeare 


“Even before any visible movement manifestations, there were inner impulses towards these preparations.  First, an inner impulse to attention to space around oneself and what it included.  Second, to the sense of one’s own body weight and the intention of the force of its impact.   Third, to awareness of time pressing for decision [choice or agency].  All of this inner participation interrelated with the flow of one’s movement whose inner impulses fluctuated between freedom and control [continuity].  Such innerparticipation is a combination of kinaesthetic and though processes that appear to be almost simultaneous at different levels of consciousness.”
-  Irmgard Bartenieff


"Our hands are trained by personal activity and practice.  Our hand skill levels, and hand-eye coordination, enable us to engage with the world, explore, pretend, work, habit repeat, play.  With my hands I can feel the level of pressure of some object touching me, I can vary the pressure of my fingers on objects.  My hands have sensed a wide range of temperatures, from the bitter cold to injury level hot.  I can detect the feel of water or oils on my fingers.  My fingers and palms can sense the various surface textures of objects: soft, rough, hard, etc..  I have felt painful sensations in my hand, saw lots of blood come out of a stab wound in my hand, my hand has hurt, my hand has been in pain from a serious sprain and tendonitis, my hand has been burned, etc..'
-  Mike Garofalo, Hands On


"Hands are the heart's landscape."
-  Pope John Paul II


"The body is like the earth ... as vulnerable to overbuilding, being carved into parcels, cut off, overmined, and shorn of its power as any landscape."
-  Clarissa Pinkola Estes


"Fate gives you the finger and you accept."
-  William Shatner


"Today, if you have an Internet connection, you have at your fingertips an amount of information previously available only to those with access to the world's greatest libraries - indeed, in most respects what is available through the Internet dwarfs those libraries, and it is incomparably easier to find what you need."
-  Peter Singer


"In many ways, people growing up with the Web and now the Semantic Web take the power at their fingertips for granted."
-  Tim Berners Lee


"When things get out of control, we say they are out of hand. When we want to take control, we try to get a grip, or get a handle on things. When we are missing a view of fundamental reality, we say we are out of touch. When we are likely to say something, truthful, but possibly embarrassing, our mothers tell us to sit on our hands. This last one describes the interesting relationship between the hands and speech. Stifle the hands and the mouth is mute, but the body, its weight squirming on restrained hands, hints of things ready to pop from the mouths of babes. So which came first? The intelligent use of the hands? I would say so, hands down. If the hands have the power to restrain speech, we know where they fit the hierarchy in relation to the brain.
    Educators like Froebel, Otto Salomon, and Felix Adler made it quite clear that the education of the hands was a direct means of social liberation, not just for the lower classes, but for all. It wasn't a conspiracy. They were very clear about their objectives. Froebel's kindergartens were shut down for a time by the Kaiser. Could it be that the Kaiser and rulers of other nations had not yet figured out how to disguise their intentions? There are at this point countless confirmations of the fact that all human expressions of intelligence both in art/craft and the written/spoken word are rooted in the hands. One is the insight that the study of metaphor provides. Another is Susan Goldin-Meadow's study of gesture at the University of Chicago. Still another is the baby signs movement in which children are being taught sign language first, before speech and realizing a major advancement in verbal skills as a result.
    There are at this point countless confirmations of the fact that all human expressions of intelligence both in art/craft and the written/spoken word are rooted in the hands. One is the insight that the study of metaphor provides. Another is Susan Goldin-Meadow's study of gesture at the University of Chicago. Still another is the baby signs movement in which children are being taught sign language first, before speech and realizing a major advancement in verbal skills as a result."
-  Doug Stowe, The Hands as Metaphor


"The best helping hand that you will ever receive is the one at the end of your own arm."
-  Fred Dehner


"The human body is not an instrument to be used, but a realm of one's being to be experienced, explored, enriched and, thereby, educated."
-  Thomas Hanna


"I dream that someday the step between my mind and my finger will no longer be needed. And that simply by blinking my eyes, I shall make pictures. Then, I think, I shall really have become a photographer."
-  Alfred Eisenstaedt


"We've always been a bit out of touch with reality."
-  Jarvis Cocker




Months and Seasons
Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Verses, Lore, Myths, Holidays
Celebrations, Folklore, Reading, Links, Quotations
Information, Weather, Gardening Chores
Compiled by Mike Garofalo
Winter Spring Summer Fall
January April July October
February May August November
March June September December 




"The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses."
-  Hanna Rion


“I remember that feeling of skin.  It's strange to remember touch more than thought.  But my fingers still tingle with it.”
-  Lucy Christopher


"Can I show the difference between 'Touching X' and 'Touching the X'?"
    Touching the Void, Touching the Clouds, Touching the Mind, Touching the Sky, Touching the Heart ...
    Touching Wonder, Touching Evil, Touching Enlightenment, Touching Her, Touching God ...
-  Mike Garofalo, Hands On


"Although humans rely heavily on the sense of vision to detect and recognize objects, the sense of touch is also very important. Touch can provide information about an object, such as surface texture, that is not easily detectable by vision. Touch experiences are triggered by mechanical disturbance of the skin produced by physical contact with an object. The human skin contains mechanoreceptors, or receptors that are sensitive to mechanical pressure or deformation of the skin. However, the concentration of mechanoreceptors within the skin is not uniform. Rather, the highly sensitive areas of skin, such as the lips and fingertips, contain densely packed mechanoreceptors, while insensitive areas, such as the stomach and back, contain lower concentrations of mechanoreceptors. More sensitive areas of the skin also project to a larger proportion of the somatosensory cortex than less sensitive areas. Thus, the area of the brain which receives touch sensations (for example, from the fingertip) is proportional to the actual sensitivity of the skin area."
Touch Acuity Experiment


"We need four hugs a day for survival.  We need eight hugs a day for maintenance.  We need twelve hugs a day for growth." 
-  Virginia Satir


“The fingers of your thoughts are molding your face ceaselessly” 
-  Charles Reznikoff


"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin."
-  William Shakespeare


"Even if one becomes blind one can still use the hands to touch the nose.
One has eyes everywhere and knows things through touching.
This is the spirit of one's heart, containing the heaven's and earth.
One can see without eyes and listen without ears. 
If one is able to calm down and not be agitated by desires,
one can know that one can return to the place where one comes from."
-  Saints and Sinners Reach the Same Goal Chapter, Verses 13-18

   "Translating the Xi Sui Jing" by Kevin Siddons and Hongyan Chen
   Qi - The Journal of Traditional Health and Fitness
   Autumn 2017, Volume 27, No. 3, p. 34


"With which hand do you write? With which hand do you hold a baseball glove? With which hand do you comb your hair? Hand dominance is established when either the right or left hemisphere of your brain becomes the dominant or ‘leader’ side. This aids us as humans in determining how we will proceed to perform functional tasks, such as choosing which hand we use to throw a ball, brush our teeth, or hold a cup. Hand dominance should be established by the age of five in order for a child to function at his/her most efficient level with handwriting tasks, activities of daily living, and overall coordination tasks.  Additionally, it is important for a child to develop a dominant hand so that he/she can learn how to efficiently perform tasks involving midline crossing and bilateral integration skills; one hand needs to act as a helper to the dominant hand. For example, when cutting a piece of paper, one hand must hold the paper while the other hand cuts with scissors. Overall, in order to develop skillful and proficient hand dexterity, coordination, and fine motor control, hand dominance needs to be established."
The Importance of Hand Dominance


"Technology is the knack of so arranging the world so that we don't have to experience it."
-  Max Frisch


"The basis of computer work is predicated on the idea that only the brain makes decisions and only the index finger does the work."
-  Brian Eno


The Five Senses


"My first memory in life is grilling my thumb to the griddle in our restaurant on Cape Cod."
-  Rachael Ray



"Forms of biometric identification utilizing a physical attribute that is unique to every human include: fingerprint and footprint identification, iris recognition, the use of dental records in forensic dentistry, the tongue and DNA profiling, also known as genetic fingerprinting.  In the 1880's, fingerprints began to be seriously considered for use in forensic investigations.  In 1892, Francis Galton published the detailed book "Finger Prints," and calculated that the chance of a "false positive" (two different individuals having the same fingerprints) was about 1 in 64 billion.  Human fingerprints are detailed, unique, difficult to alter, and durable over the life of an individual making them suitable as long-term markers of human identity."
Finger Prints




"Think with the whole body."
-  Taisen Deshimaru 


"The essence of education is the education of the body."
-  Benjamin Disraeli 


"All sensory neuron cell bodies are in the dorsal root ganglia. The distal extensions of these cells make up the sensory nerves and the proximal projections form the dorsal roots that enter the spinal cord. Each dorsal root contains all the fibres from skin, muscles, connective tissue, ligaments, tendons, joints, bones, and viscera that lie within the distribution of a single body segment.  Two types of afferent fibres exist that respond to nociceptive stimuli: the very fine, unmyelinated, slowly conducting C fibres and the thinly myelinated more rapidly conducting Aδ fibres. There seem to be three broad categories of receptor: mechanoreceptors, thermoreceptors, and polymodal nociceptors. Information from mechanical stimulation is carried via both Aδ fibres and C fibres, and thermal stimulation largely via C fibres. Certain Aδ fibres respond to light touch, temperature, and pressure as well as pain.  The spinothalamic tracts that convey pain and temperature sensation in the spinal cord cross within the spinal cord and reach the contralateral cortex via either the thalamus or the brain stem reticular formation. Fibres for touch sensation, as well as those mediating the sense of touch-pressure, vibration, direction of movement and position of joints, stereoaesthesia (recognition of surface texture, shape, numbers, and figures written on the skin), and two point discrimination, lie within the dorsal columns, and these also cross the midline, but at a more rostral level in the medulla, and ascend as the medial lemniscus to the posterior thalamus. From the thalamus, information is relayed to the somatosensory cortex via the thalamocortical fibres.  Perception of sensory stimuli involves higher functions of the cerebral cortex other than the sensory cortex where the stimuli are initially processed. The conscious awareness or perception of pain occurs only when the pain impulses reach the thalamocortical level, but precisely how this occurs is not fully understood."
Sensory Pathways


“I rush to her side and touch her cold skin, hoping against hope for a pulse.”
-  Steven Herrick


"Experience is in the fingers and head.  The heart is inexperienced."
-  Henry David Thoreau


"To make a man happy, fill his hands with work."
-  Frederick E. Crane


“If I let him touch me, it'd be like opening a one-way telepathic tunnel.”
-  Emma Cameron, Cinnamon Rain






"When you touch a body, you touch the whole person, the intellect, the spirit, and the emotions."
-  Jane Harrington 


"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so."
-  Proverbs 3:27


"Customer service, first of all, you should know that I am typing this with my middle finger."
Author unknown, Middle Finger Quotes


"PALMISTRY, n. The 947th method (according to Mimbleshaw's classification) of obtaining money by false pretences. It consists in "reading character" in the wrinkles made by closing the hand. The pretence is not altogether false; character can really be read very accurately in this way, for the wrinkles in every hand submitted plainly spell the word "dupe." The imposture consists in not reading it aloud."
-  Ambrose Bierce


"Air quotes are a form of body language and gesturing, usually paired with an accompanying word or phrase that is meant to imply a different meaning to the words or phrase being used. A similar form in print are called scare quotes, where a word is placed in quotation marks to cast doubt on the way the word should be interpreted. An example of the scare quote could be something like the following: Well the candidate “says” he won’t raise taxes.. This casts doubt on the meaning of the word, says, and in fact may convey the belief that the person writing the line does not believe the candidate is being truthful. Another way to use this would be to place the word, says, in italics.  If you were speaking this line, you might apply air quotes as an extra form of emphasis. The gesture usually means bringing the hands slightly above shoulder height, and near the face; though some have the hands slightly above and on either side of the shoulders. With each hand facing forward, and with the thumb, ring and pinkie fingers folded into the palm, the index and middle finger are held upward until the appropriate word or phrase are indicated as placed in quotation marks by bending the index and middle finger toward the palm."
What are Air Quotes


“The two most misused words in the entire English vocabulary are love and friendship.  A true friend would die for you, so when you start trying to count them on one hand, you don't need any fingers.”
-  Larry Flynt


"When you step on the brakes your life is in your foot's hands."
-  George Carlin


"The root of all health is in the brain.
The trunk of it is in emotion. 
The branches and leaves are the body. 
The flower of health blooms
when all parts work together."
-  Kurdish folk wisdom


"Earlier psychological research into touching has shown that if a stranger touches someone then they are more likely to do a favor for them. For example, if restaurant waiting staff touch diners, then the tips are higher compared to untouched diners and people casually touched by library staff when they sign up for membership of a library subsequently rate both the library staff and the library itself more favorably than the untouched.  ... The psychology of touch is an interesting story of persuasion in everyday social living.  The psychological effects of touch do not rely on our meaning-making of what the touch is about. Rather research supports the view that the psychology of touch is "bottom up", based on the incoming sensual impact of the touch. Dr. Schirmer and the group of psychologists speculated that their research ties in with the earlier behavioral research showing that a touched person is a more altruistic person. Such altruism can extend to friends, family or strangers who are motivated to touch."
The Neuroscience of Touch: The Psychology of Persuasive Contact


"I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back."
-  Maya Angelou


"Rumi, who is one of the greatest Persian poets, said that the truth was a mirror in the hands of God.  It fell, and broke into pieces.  Everybody took a piece of it, and they looked at it and thought they had the truth."
-  Mohsen Makhmalbaf


"The eye of the master will do more work than both his hands."
-  Benjamin Franklin



"Judging by the number of hands painted in prehistoric caves it would seem that palmistry held a interest for humans since the stone age.  Archaeological discoveries have discovered hands made of stone, wood and ivory by ancient civilizations. The Emperor of China used his thumbprint when sealing documents in 3000 BCE.  Information on the laws and practice of hand reading have been found in Vedic scripts, the Bible and early Semitic writings.  Aristotle discovered a treatise on palmistry on an altar to the God Hermes. The Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galen were both knowledgeable about the use of palmistry as a clinical aid.  Julius Caesar judged his men by palmistry. Notable people such as Paracelsus (1493-1541) and Fludd (1574-1637) brought respectability to palmistry through their writings.  Later. Dr. Carl Carus, physician to the king of saxony in the 19th century matched palms to personality. Advances in genetics, psychology and forensics have propelled palmistry into the modern age.  In 1901 Scotland yard adopted the technique of fingerprinting in criminal investigation and identification.  Medical researchers studying skin patterns (dermatoglyphics), have discovered a correspondence between genetic abnormalities and unusual markings in the hand.  Research has confirmed a link between specific fingerprint patterns and heart disease. Palmistry is still used and accepted by many throughout the world.  Professional palmists can be found reading palms in every country in the world.  Pick up almost any copy of a women's magazine and there is some information on palmistry.  There are thousands of books written on the subject and there are palmistry clubs the world across."


"Palmistry, or chiromancy (also spelled cheiromancy; from Greek kheir (χερ, ός; “hand”) and manteia (μαντεία, ας; “divination”)), is the claim of characterization and foretelling the future through the study of the palm, also known as palm reading or chirology. The practice is found all over the world, with numerous cultural variations. Those who practice chiromancy are generally called palmists, palm readers, hand readers, hand analysts, or chirologists.  Palmistry is a practice common to many different places on the Eurasian landmass; it has been practised in the cultures of India, Tibet, China, Persia, Sumeria, Ancient Israel and Babylonia.  According to some, it had its roots in Hindu Astrology (known in Sanskrit as Jyotish), Chinese Yijing (I Ching), and Roma (Gypsy) fortune tellers. Several thousand years ago, the Hindu sage Valmiki is thought to have written a book comprising 567 stanzas, the title of which translates in English as "The Teachings of Valmiki Maharshi on Male Palmistry". From India, the art of palmistry spread to China, Tibet, Egypt, Persia and to other countries in Europe. From China, palmistry progressed to Greece where Anaxagoras practiced it."
Palmistry - Wikipedia







“Touch. It is touch that is the deadliest enemy of chastity, loyalty, monogamy, gentility with its codes and conventions and restraints. By touch we are betrayed and betray others ... an accidental brushing of shoulders or touching of hands ... hands laid on shoulders in a gesture of comfort that lies like a thief, that takes, not gives, that wants, not offers, that awakes, not pacifies. When one flesh is waiting, there is electricity in the merest contact.”
-  Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose


"Listen to what you know through your body."
-  Frances Payne Adler


“All changes in space which we see, hear, smell or taste are literally tactile impressions.  All our senses are variations of our unique sense of touch. Two approaching objects touch one another when they finally meet without a noticeable space between them.  …  This is what happens in any condensing matter in which the outer aspects move towards a centre…  Each single part of matter approaches its neighboring part until the two collide, causing an impact or a pressure.  It is space, which appears and disappears between and round object and in the movements of the particles of the object.”
-  Rudolf Laban, The Language of Movement, 1966, p. 29


“Instead of being push-button, it's a touch sensor and is activated with a touch of your finger.” 
-  Carrie Smith


"The movement of the thumb underlies all the skilled procedures of which the hand is capable."
-  John Napier


"Base eight is just like base ten really, if you're missing two fingers."
-  Tom Lehrer


"Being in touch with the natural world is crucial."
-  David Attenborough


"Ignorant men don't know what good they hold in their hands until they've flung it away."
-  Sophocles


“One finger in the throat and one in the rectum makes a good diagnostician.” 
-  William Osler, M.D. 


Images of the Somatosensory System from Google Images


"There is deep wisdom within our very flesh, if we can only come to our senses and feel it."
-  Elizabeth A. Behnke


"The upper limb is the lightning rod to the soul."
-  Robert Markison


"He who feels it, knows it more."
-  Bob Marley







"Emotion always has its roots in the unconscious and manifests itself in the body."
-  Irene Claremont de Castillejo


"The somatic nervous system, or voluntary nervous system, is the part of the peripheral nervous system associated with the voluntary control of body movements via skeletal muscles. The somatic nervous system consists of efferent nerves responsible for stimulating muscle contraction, including all the non-sensory neurons connected with skeletal muscles and skin.  There are forty three segments of nerves in our body and with each segment there is a pair of sensory and motor nerves. In the body, thirty one segments of nerves are in the spinal cord and twelve are in the brain stem.  Besides these, thousands of associated nerves are also present in the body."


"There is but one temple in the universe, and that is the Body of Man. 
Nothing is holier than that high form. 
Bending before man is a reverence done to this Revelation in the Flesh.
We touch heaven when we lay our hands on a human body."
-  Novalis, pen name of Frederich von Hardenberg, 1772


"The messages that make up our emotional and mental life must be routed through the tissues of the body."
-  Robert Marrone


"Ignorant men don't know what good they hold in their hands until they've flung it away."
-  Sophocles


"If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?"
-  Milton Berle


"By putting forward the hands of the clock you shall not advance the hour."
-  Victor Hugo  


"People who have time on their hands will inevitably waste the time of people who have work to do."
-  Thomas Sowell  


"So let's not use a stylus. We're going to use the best pointing device in the world.  We're going to use a pointing device that we're all born with - born with ten of them.  We're going to use our fingers.  We're going to touch this with our fingers.  And we have invented a new technology called multi-touch, which is phenomenal.  It works like magic."
-  Steve Jobs


"Emotional release and muscular release are interdependent - one does not occur without the other."
-  Elaine Mayland 


"I think there should be collaboration, but under my thumb."
-  Elia Kazan


"Criminals do not die by the hands of the law. They die by the hands of other men."
-  George Bernard Shaw


"Love is like quicksilver in the hand.  Leave the fingers open at it stays.  Clutch it, and it darts away."
-  Dorothy Parker


"Play certainly seems to facilitate an animal's ability to move in a more deftly coordinated and responsive way.  Chasing, tumbling, and scrambling about are a requisite part of strengthening muscles, honing eye-limb coordination, and laying down essential synaptic pathways to the brain.  Limb and eye-limb movements are coordinated in the cerebellum, and the number of cerebellar synapes is significantly influences by behavior.  Not surprisingly, there is a relationship between play and synaptic growth.  ...  Physical skills, such as those involved in hunting or defense, stem at least in part from the complex behaviors learned and practiced during play.  Most young mammals play with objects, an activity which, among other things, teaches them how to catch prey and how to explore the physical world.  Many species― including our own, nonhuman primates, rats, and those in the mustelid family― show a preference for complex and novel play rather than simple object manipulation."
-  Kay Redfield Jamison M.D., Exuberance, p.51


"Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers."
-  Isaac Asimov


“Civilization has taught us to eat with a fork, but even now if nobody is around we use our fingers.”
- Will Rogers


"A child's hand in yours -- what tenderness and power it arouses.  You are instantly the very touchstone of wisdom and strength."
-  Marjorie Holmes


"Don't rule out working with your hands. It does not preclude using your head."
-  Andy Rooney


"The association of gesture with human thought is a slightly different but closely related question.  Here, developmental observations may hold the answer: cognitive and developmental psychologists regard the appearance in children of pointing as a "gesture of intentionality" (at about fourteen months) to be an important milestone in their mental development and consider its exclusive use by humans a demarcation from chimpanzee cognitive potential.  Chimpanzees neigh spontaneously produce this gesture nor acquire it through learning."
-  D. McNeill


"The fragrance always remains in the hand that gives the rose."
-  Heda Bejar


“Who taught you to write in blood on my back? Who taught you to use your hands as branding irons? You have scored your name into my shoulders, referenced me with your mark. The pads of your fingers have become printing blocks, you tap a message on to my skin, tap meaning into my body. Your morse code interferes with my heart beat. I had a steady heart before I met you, I relied upon it, it had seen active service and grown strong. Now you alter its pace with your own rhythm, you play upon me, drumming me taut.”
-  Jeanette Winterson,
Written on the Body


"Every problem has a gift for you in its hands."
-  Richard Bach


"Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal."
-  Albert Einstein


"No matter how closely we look, it is difficult to find a mental act that can take place without the support of some physical function."
-  Moshe Feldenkrais


"The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered... deeply,...finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people."
-  George Washington, First Inaugural Address, Apr. 30, 1789



Somatosense - any of the sensory systems that mediate sensations of pressure and tickle and warmth and cold and vibration and limb position and limb movement and pain

Sense of touch - the faculty by which external objects or forces are perceived through contact with the body (especially the hands); "only sight and touch enable us to locate objects in the space around us"

Somatosense - any of the sensory systems that mediate sensations of pressure and tickle and warmth and cold and vibration and limb position and limb movement and pain


"The universe is a continuous web.  Touch it at any point and the whole web quivers."
-  Stanley Kunitz


"If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger."
-  Frank Lloyd Wright


"No animal has hands as well developed as those of man. The sculptor Auguste Rodin considered the hand to be the proof of the "divine creative force". He paid homage to this idea in his sculpture "The Cathedral", representing two hands facing each other, creating the shape of a vaulted arch. The hand is the organ devoted to prehension and touch. Touch can be sensed all over the body, but the real tact is concentrated in the hand and fingers, which move over an object to determine its volume, temperature, and nature. The fingers of man have epidermal and dermal folds which we call the fingerprint. These fingerprints are unique to each individual, and allow an increase in the surface area of the skin at the ends of the fingers greatly raising the number of sensory receptors present. The hand is also an organ which allows us to communicate. Deaf-mutes employ a sign language using their hands, the blind read Braille with their fingertips."
Reading Your Fingertips






"He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools."
-  Confucius


"Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven."
-  Henry Ward Beecher


"If you do big things they print your face, and if you do little things they print only your thumbs."
-  Arthur Baer


"If someone won't lift a finger to call you, see you and spend time with you then its time to lift your five fingers and wave goodbye."
-  Author Unknown 


"The hand gives the upper limb its importance and originality."
-  Raoul Tubiana


The Five Senses


"When one is out of touch with oneself, one cannot touch others."
-  Anne Morrow Lindbergh


"When fate hands you a lemon, make lemonade."
-  Dale Carnegie

"When fate hands you a lemon, find some good tequila."
-  Mike Garofalo   


"Knowledge is invariably a matter of degree: you cannot put your finger upon even the simplest datum and say this we know."
-  T. S. Eliot


“Your fingers can't be of the same length.”
-  Chinese Proverb


"A ring is a halo on your finger."
-  Doug Coupland


"Silence is a power only in the hands of enlightened minds, but weakness in the mind of helpless hands."
-  Anuj Somany 


"Now join your hands, and with your hands your hearts."
-  William Shakespeare



"The somatosensory system is a diverse sensory system comprising the receptors and processing centres to produce the sensory modalities such as touch, temperature, proprioception (body position), and nociception (pain). The sensory receptors cover the skin and epithelia, skeletal muscles, bones and joints, internal organs, and the cardiovascular system.  While touch is considered one of the five traditional senses, the impression of touch is formed from several modalities. In medicine, the colloquial term "touch" is usually replaced with "somatic senses" to better reflect the variety of mechanisms involved.  Somatic senses are sometimes referred to as somesthetic senses, with the understanding that somesthesis includes touch, proprioception and (depending on usage) also haptic perception.  The system reacts to diverse stimuli using different receptors: thermoreceptors, nociceptors, mechanoreceptors and chemoreceptors. Transmission of information from the receptors passes via sensory nerves through tracts in the spinal cord and into the brain.  Processing primarily occurs in the primary somatosensory area in the parietal lobe of the cerebral cortex.  At its simplest, the system works when activity in a sensory neuron is triggered by a specific stimulus such as heat; this signal eventually passes to an area in the brain uniquely attributed to that area on the body—this allows the processed stimulus to be felt at the correct location.  The point-to-point mapping of the body surfaces in the brain is called a homunculus and is essential in the creation of a body image.  This brain-surface ("cortical") map is not immutable, however.  Dramatic shifts can occur in response to stroke or injury."
Somatosensory System - Wikipedia



"Haptic perception is the process of recognizing objects through touch. It involves a combination of somatosensory perception of patterns on the skin surface (e.g., edges, curvature, and texture) and proprioception of hand position and conformation.  People can rapidly and accurately identify three-dimensional objects by touch.  They do so through the use of exploratory procedures, such as moving the fingers over the outer surface of the object or holding the entire object in the hand.  Gibson defined the haptic system as "The sensibility of the individual to the world adjacent to his body by use of his body". Gibson and others emphasized the close link between haptic perception and body movement: haptic perception is active exploration. The concept of haptic perception is related to the concept of extended physiological proprioception according to which, when using a tool such as a stick, perceptual experience is transparently transferred to the end of the tool.  Haptic perception relies on the forces experienced during touch.  This research allows the creation of "virtual", illusory haptic shapes with different perceived qualities which has clear application in haptic technology Loss of the sense of touch is a catastrophic deficit that can impair walking and other skilled actions such as holding objects or using tools."
Wikipedia - Haptic Perception





A Collection of Expressions Making Use of Words Related to Fingers, Hands, Touching, Feeling, Manipulating ... 
Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo, 2015

"She has a light touch.
He is quite handy.
She is hardly notices because she is so thick skinned.    
The homeless man refused the offer of a helping hand.
She always gives because she is such a soft touch
He rubs people the wrong way.  
She grasped the key ideas of the lecture.  
Brethren, you are now safe in the hands of our Lord Jesus Christ, Our Savior.
He gave the homeless man a hand out.  
She is quick to talk about her feelings.  
He can handle difficult matters.
He is thin skinned and overreacts.  
The sweethearts held hands.  
Her final speech was touching.  
It was a touch and go situation.  
His cutting remarks really hurt.  
She could balance on her hands with her legs in the air for a long time. 
He was a successful handyman.  
She is a such a touchy feely person.  
He likes to manage in a hands on manner.  
She had strong feelings for him.    
He had some strongly held beliefs.  
They fiercely defended their stronghold.  
She keeps in touch by telephone.  
He demonstration amazing sleight of hands in his magic tricks. 
She gently fingered the rosary beads in her hands. 
He reverently touched his hands together and held them at his heart in Anjali Mudra.   
She has tricky fingers
He showed excellent hand-eye coordination. 
She spread and raised her hands up high and exclaimed "Praise the Lord."
He gently placed his healing hands on her neck.  
She gave the crippled women who had fallen a helping hand
He cut his hands badly in the accident. 
She lost her hands in the terrorist attack explosion. 
He lost his money in the strong armed robbery. 
She handed out the presents to the children. 
He stroked the shoulders hair of the crying child. 
She knitted the sweater with amazing speed. 
He gave the rude fellow the finger
She kneaded the thick bread dough. 
He stroked his nipples as he masturbated. 
He picked her favorite flowers for the bouquet. 
The senators decided to act, despite the charge of having dirty hands
The sweethearts walked hand in hand in the park. 
Her old fingers turned the pages of the philosophy book. 
The two boys tossed the baseball back and forth - playing catch for hours. 
Touching the Void, Touching the Clouds, Touching the Mind, Touching the Sky, Touching the Heart ...
Touching Wonder, Touching Evil, Touching Enlightenment, Touching God ...
The Left Hand of Darkness, The Left Hand of Evil ...
The judge just washed his hands of the matter. 
She was just grasping for straws in the debate. 
He held to his previous story when he testified in court. 
The priest's hands annointed the dying man with oil, as part of the last rites. 
She thought that her skills might rub off on her cooking student. 
He took the matter in hand with great confidence. 
The soldiers held their ground in the battle. 
She felt around in the dark for the light switch. 
He unscrewed the cap on the jar of kosher pickles. 
The skilled masseuse had magic hands
He touched his chin and lowered his hand to say 'thank you' in sign language.  
She threaded the needle using four fingers. 
She gave him a hand knitted sweater for Christmas. 
She thought the hand lettering on the card was beautiful. 
He delt the cards swiftly and carefully. 
She twirled the baton skillfully in her left hand. 
He pounded the 16 penny nails into the rafters with a heavy framing hammer. 
She reverently handled the blooming plum branches for the Ikebana arrangement. 
The Hands of Time cannot be stopped.
The house plans were hand drafted by the architect. 
Handle with Care!
Her motto was "Hands Can."
The girl slowly dried her hands
It was a lovely hand quilted piece of art. 
Her charming apron was hand sewn
The handbook was heavier than he expected. 
He gave me the thumbs up sign, then he turned and skied down the slope.
She played that guitar blue's riff with great chops
The baby fed himself with his hands
She raised her hand and said "Give me five!" 
He turned the pages of the book until he reached page 137.
She handled the problem skillfully.
Keep your dirty hands out of your mouth.
Wash your hands.
She rubbed the two small wooden balls in the in the palms of her hands.
She did biceps hammer curls with dumbbells to strengthen her arms. 
Hold On!  Don't Die!  Hold On!  We will get you to safety!  Hold On!
The toddler child broke the stick while playing. 
Entrust liberty in the hands of the people. 
May God hold you in the palm of his hands
It's in God's hands now. 
He felt refreshed after doing two hours of manual labor in the garden.
She didn't lift a finger to help her friend. 
He raised both hands and made the "air quotes" sign when he said the word "love" as he spoke.

He crossed his fingers and then threw the dice."
-  Mike Garofalo, Hands On 



Hand and Palm Touching Efforts-Actions-Movements
    and Some Related Wrist-Forearm-Arm Efforts-Actions-Movements

Notes by Michael P. Garofalo, 2015


What Are You Touching? 

Touching one’s own body
Touching another person’s body
Touching the body of an animal
Touching plants or foods
Touching an object in the environment
Touching and using a tool, utensil, musical instrument, clothing, pencil, etc. 
Not touching anything

Initiating or Receiving:

I initiate touching something with my fingers or hand – whether I want to or not
Something touches my fingers or hand – whether I am willing and accept the touch or not

Parts of the Hand Used: 

Touching something with the front bottom pad of one finger
Touching something with the front bottom pads of two fingers
Touching something with more than two fingers
Holding or grasping something with the fingers and palm
Touching something with the back upper nail side of one finger
Touching something with the back upper nail side of one finger
Touching something with the back of the hand or wrist


How long does the finger or hand action take? 
What is the duration of the activity with the fingers or hand?
How often during the day is the specific activity of the fingers or hand being performed?

Direction of Movement: 

Up, Down, Right Side, Left Side, Center, Sideways, Lower, Higher, Inward, Outward, Aimed, Still, Motionless

Internal Sensations:

Compression, Resistance, Soft, Hard, Warm, Hot, Cold, Burning, Dry, Wet, Itchy, Little or No Feeling
Sharp, Smooth, Bumps, Rough, Edges, Curves, Textures
Uncomfortable, Painful, Injured, Broken, Squashed, Cut, Numb, Twisted, Weak, Inflexible, Uncontrollable, Unable to Move, Dysfunctional
Strong, Flexible, Able, Nimble, Coordinated, Functional, Rhythmic, Comfortable, Pleasurable
Moving, Raising, Lowering, Effort Actions (below), Motionless, Still
Magnitude, Intensity, Level, Degree, and Quantification of Tactile Impressions or Effort Actions.  [Examples: On a scale of 1 to 10 how painful is the injury to your thumb?  We measured her grip strength for five seconds with a hand dynamometer.]

Tactile Sensitivity Variations Between Different Observers and in Different Environments

Sensations derived from touching and being touched vary from person to person based in individual sensitivity and relevant local conditions. 
There are some psychophysics "laws" relevant to sensitivity to various levels of tactile stimulation: Stevens Power Law, Weber-Fechner Law.
Quantification and comparisons of different tactile impressions is a complex and difficult project.  


Hand Touching and Fingers-Hand-Wrist-Forearm-Arm Movement Actions (Verbs, Effort Actions)
And Some Related Metaphors: 

Aim   Direct, Coordinate, Place, Put, Target

Balance   Stabilize, Level, Steady

Block   Deflect, Hold, Stabalize, Defend

Bounce   Throw, Catch

Break    Cut, Rip, Tear, Throw 

Caress    Pet, Hug, Stroke, Glide, Fondle

Catch   Grasp, Clasp, Throw, Toss

Clasp   Grab, Pinch, Clutch 

Close    Lower, Inward, Pull 

Clutch   Grab, Clutch 

Cut    Slash, Rip

Compress    Press, Squeeze   

Dab   Tap, Touch,

Dig   Scratch, Pull, Grab, Lift 

Downward   Pull or Push Object Towards the Ground or Lower than Midline of Body 

Drag   Pull, Hold, Grasp

Draw   Pull, Push, Glide, Dab; Use a Pencil, Pen, Art Supplies 

Drink   Eat, Feed, Use Utensils

Drop    Release, Let Fall

She dropped me like a hot potato.
She has fallen for him.  
She dropped him off at school this morning. 
The annoyed supervisor say, "Don't drop the ball again on this project, George!" 

Eat   Feed, Drink, Use Utensils

Feed   Eat, Drink, Use Utensils

Feel   Touch, Manipulate, Grasp, Hold, Glide, Pat, Slide

That feels like a bad idea.

Finger   Manipulate, Feel

Fist    Squeeze  

Flexible   Easy to Move, Soft,

He was flexible in determining how much each month they should pay on the debt. 

Flick    Jab, Poke

Fold    Knead, Twist, Turn

Fondle    Stroke, Caress, Pet, Fondle

Float   Glide

Gesture   Wave, Point, Shake Hands, Raise Hand, Come Here, Insult, Pray, Sign Language, etc. 

Glide   Float, Hover, Pet

Grab    Hold, Palm, Grasp, Tighten, Grip

Grasp    Grab, Hold, Palm, Tighten

Grip    Hold, Grasp, Grab, Tighten, Crush Grip, Pinch Grip, Support Grip

Hammer   Pound, Knock, Push

Handle    Manipulate, Finger 

He takes a hands-on approach to problem solving. 

Hit    Punch, Strike

She was a hit at the party. 

Hold    Grab, Palm, Grasp, Clutch

She held the idea close to her heart.
He held on to his beliefs to the bitter end. 
The squad bravely held their ground under bitter gunfire. 
Hold on to that thought for a minute. 


She's a hot lady!

Hover   Glide, Float

Hug   Caress, Pet

Inward   Pull, Draw into my Body

Jab    Flick, Poke, Prod 

Knead    Press, Fold

Knock   Tap

Lay   Place, Put, Move, Down, Below

Lie   Rest, Motionless,

Lift    Raise, Open, Move 

Light   Not Heavy, Small, Easy to Hold

He is light on his feet. 

Lower    Close, Drop, Release, Moving Downward Until Resistance Encountered

He tried to lower her to his level.

Manipulate   Finger, Feel

Move    Push, Lift, Place

Open    Lift, Raise

Outward   Push, Place Away from my Body

Palm    Hold

Pat   Tap, Pet

Pet    Stroke, Caress, Glide, Pat 

Pick    Point, Select

Pin   Press, Hold

Pinch    Squeeze

Place    Set, Put, Move, Lay 

Point    Select, Pick

Poke    Jab, Poke, Prod

Pound   Knock, Hammer 

Prod   Poke, Jab

Press   Compress, Push, Squeeze

Pull    Inward, Twist, Tear, Lift, Open, Stretch

Punch    Hit, Strike

Push    Move

I am pushed for time.

Raise    Lift, Open, Pull, Lifting Upward and Infrequently Meeting Resistance

The gospel song raised his spirits.
Jesus raised him from the dead. 
He rose to the occasion. 
She raised the team spirits. 

Reach   Move Hand-Arm Upward, Downward, Inward, Outward, or Sideways  

Release    Drop, Toss, Throw, Letting Go

Rest    Release, Still

Rip    Slash, Cut

Roll   Rotate, Press, Twirl, Twist, Rotate

Rotate    Manipulate, Turn, Roll

Rub   Press, Move 

Scrape    Scratch, Rub

Scratch    Rub, Scrape

Screw    Tighten, Twist

Select    Pick, Point

Set    Place, Put

Shake   Wiggle, Roll, Vibrate, Pat

Shuffle    Sort, Manipulate, Arrange 

Sign    Gesture, Hand Sign Language for Deaf Persons

Slash    Slap, Cut

Slap    Hit, Strike

Slide    Glide, Stroke

Sort    Pick, Grasp, Move, Set, Release, Shuffle

Squeeze    Pinch, Grab, Fist, Compress    

The bill collector put a squeeze on us.

Stack   Pile, Balance, Sort

His problems started to stack up beyond his control.   

Still    Rest, Release, Hold, Stop, Hover

Stop    Still, Rest, Release, Hold

Stretch   Pull, Break, Twist   

Strike    Hit, Punch, Slap, Thrust

Stroke    Pet, Glide, Caress, fondle 

Tap   Knock

Tear    Twist, Pull

Tie    Connect, Thread

Thread    Connect, Tie, Attach  

Throw    Toss, Release, Hurl 

Thrust    Poke, Jap, Strike

Tie    Connect, Thread

Tighten    Twist

Toss   Throw, Release, Hurl

Touch   Feel, Press, Tap

The President touched many people with his moving speech.

Turn    Twist, Rotate, Manipulate  

He suddenly turned on his friends. 

Twirl   Twist

The ideas twirled around in his feverish mind. 

Twist   Tear, Pull, Wring, Twirl   

He has a very twisted and mean mind. 

Upward   Lift, Raise

Wiggle   Shake, Rotate, Twist

Wipe   Rub, Clean, Dry

Wring    Twist




Rudolf von Laban analyzed and described eight basic Touch Efforts: 

Dab - A soft, light, short, quick, small direct touch (pat)

Glide – A lingering, sustained, soft, light, big direct touch (hold, touch, stroke)

Float – A traveling, sustained, meandering, soft, light, indirect touch (caress)

Flick – A brief, quick, short, small, light, hard, direct touch (poke, jab) 

Punch - A direct, strong, quick, hard, fist touch (knock, strike)

Slash - A fast, quick, light, short, hard, direct touch (slash)

Press - A long, sustained, hard, strong, direct touch

Wring - Hard, strong, sustained, wandering, indirect touch







"The human hand can be used to grip objects in several different positions. These different positions require different types of grip strength which are typically quantified based on the way the hand is being used.

The crush grip is what is most commonly thought of as "grip". It involves a handshake-type grip, where the object being gripped rests firmly against the palm and all fingers. A strong crush grip is useful in bone-crushing handshakes or for breaking objects with pressure.

In a pinch grip, the fingers are on one side of an object, and the thumb is on the other. Typically, an object lifted in a pinch grip does not touch the palm. This is generally considered a weaker grip position. The pinch grip is used when grabbing something like a weight plate or lifting a sheet of plywood by the top edge. Care must be taken to avoid cramping the muscles in the hand.

A support grip typically involves holding something, such as the handle of a bucket, for a long time. This type of strength is epitomized by the "Farmer's walk", where the bucket is filled with sand or water, and carried over a long distance. A great deal of muscular endurance is necessary to have a good carrying grip."
Grip Strength





"Should political leaders violate the deepest constraints of morality in order to achieve great goods or avoid disasters for their communities? This question poses what has become known amongst philosophers as the problem of dirty hands. There are many different strands to the philosophical debate about this topic, and they echo many of the complexities in more popular thinking about politics and morality. All, however, involve the idea that correct political action must sometimes conflict with profound moral norms."
The Problem of Dirty Hands, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


"Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon absolute truth."
-  Friedrich Nietzsche






"The finger is made up of nerves, bones, blood vessels, muscles and skin. Finger joints are the areas where bones meet and consist of cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bursas (fluid-filled sacs that help cushion the joint), and synovial membranes and fluid, which lubricate joints. Any of these structures in the finger can become irritated or inflamed and painful in response to a variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders or conditions, such as trauma, infection and inflammation.  Common causes of finger pain include injury or trauma, such as bending your finger backward (hyperextension) or from repetitive use, such as long periods of keyboarding. More serious conditions, such as diabetes or a neck or spinal cord injury, can also cause pain or a burning sensation in your fingers. Sore joints in the fingers may be caused by arthritis, inflammation, and age-related wear and tear. Depending on the cause, your pain may be short term and disappear quickly, or it may develop slowly over weeks or months."
-  Finger Pain


"The nun Wu Jincang asked the Sixth Patriach Huineng, "I have studied the Mahaparinirvana Sutra for many years, yet there are many areas i do not quite understand. Please enlighten me."
The patriach responded, "I am illiterate. Please read out the characters to me and perhaps I will be able to explain the meaning."
Said the nun, "You cannot even recognize the characters. How are you able then to understand the meaning?"
"Truth has nothing to do with words. Truth can be likened to the bright moon in the sky. Words, in this case, can be likened to a finger. The finger can point to the moon’s location. However, the finger is not the moon. To look at the moon, it is necessary to gaze beyond the finger, right?"
-  Classic Zen Dialogue


"Pointing at the moon,
making a point―
her lovely fingers."
-  Mike Garofalo, Above the Fog


"When we touch another person's body our first contact is with the skin, the primary boundary that differentiates the physical body within from the physical bodies outside.  Through awareness of this boundary, gained through the experiences of contact with the world outside, the infant first begins to identify itself as a unique and relatively separate individual.  Touch plays an essential role even from the very beginnings of intra-auterine development.  The infant is learning about the world around it as it experiences this world through touch.  The development of a healthy ego also depends very much during the earliest phases of life on adequate holding, touch, and the stimulation this gives to the growing sense of body boundary.  For adults, too, where this experience of self and personal boundary has not been fully nurtured and developed or has been temporarily lost, such simulation through contact can be beneficial in helping to redefine what is self and what is other."
-  Linda Hartley, Wisdom of the Body Moving, p. 132 


"The least pain in our little finger gives us more concern and uneasiness that the destruction of millions of our fellow beings."
-  William Hazlitt 


"Every man's dream is to be able to sink into the arms of a woman without also falling into her hands."
-  Jerry Lewis


"Sometimes if you want to see a change for the better, you have to take things into your own hands."
-  Clint Eastwood


"Ambition has one heel nailed in securely, though she stretches her fingers to touch the heavens."
-  Lao Tzu


“I wasn't born with enough middle fingers.” 
-  Marilyn Manson


"The ego is the perception of the bodily self, and what one feels and knows of the body is the skin."
-  P. Lacombe


"May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand."
-  Irish Blessing


"The Devil finds work for idle hands."
"Idle hands are the Devil's workshop."
-  Proverbs


"The eyes have undressed things that hands have dressed."
-  Charles de Leusse


"Most people's hand-grip strength gradually diminishes as they age. Maintaining decent hand-grip strength levels can enable elderly people to more readily complete daily living tasks and may help them stay alive longer. A 2007 study published in "The American Journal of Medicine" concluded that lower hand-grip strength readings are a reliable predictor of an increased mortality rate. Testing your hand-grip strength can help to monitor this decline and can give an indication of risk."
Hand Grip Strength Test


Word Web Flows

re-tie, re-link, re-connect, re-attach, re-unite, re-turn, re-peat; yoke up, yoga, hook up, set up and connect leather or rope rigging; {re-ligio, re-ligion, re-peat}, re-imagine, re-ality; re-live, re-member, re-think, re-imagine, re-create, re-peat. 
-  Mike Garofalo, Hands On


Self-Massage Techniques, Practices, Theories: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotations


Somatic    (A definition of "somatic" provided by Wikipedia - Somatic

"The term somatic (from the Greek σωματικός) means 'of the body' - relating to the body.  In medicine, somatic illness is bodily, not mental, illness.

The term is often used in biology to refer to the cells of the body in contrast to the germ line cells which usually give rise to the gametes (ovum or sperm).  These somatic cells are diploid containing two copies of each chromosome, whereas the germ cells are haploid as they only contain one copy of each chromosome.  Although under normal circumstances all somatic cells contain identical DNA, they develop a variety of tissue-specific characteristics.  This process is called differentiation, through epigenetic and regulatory alterations.  The grouping of like cells and tissues creates the foundation for organs.

Somatic mutations are changes to the genetics of a multicellular organism which are not passed on to its offspring through the germline.  Many cancers are somatic mutations.

Somatic is also defined as relating to the wall of the body cavity, particularly as distinguished from the head, limbs or viscera.

It is also used in the term somatic nervous system which is the portion of the vertebrate nervous system which regulates voluntary movements of the body."
Wikipedia - Somatic



Soma, Body-Mind, Somatics, Somaesthetics:  Quotations, Sayings, Information, Bibliography, Resources



"Once I knew only darkness and stillness ... but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of being."
-  Helen Keller


"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats."
-  H. L. Mencken


"A man paints with his brains and not with his hands."
-  Michelangelo


"Green fingers are an extension of the verdant heart."
-  Russell Page


“You can prick your finger, but don't finger your prick!”
-  George Carlin


"It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth.  I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth.  I didn't feel like a giant.  I felt very, very small."
-  Neil Armstrong


"I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out the the hands of fools.  Let's start with typewriters."
-  Solomon Short






Lao Gong or "The Palace of Labor" 

"The palm of the hand is home to one of the most powerful acupuncture points, which is considered also to be a minor chakra. The Chinese name for this point is Lao Gong, the Palace of Labor, and it’s the 8th point on the Pericardium meridian.  The classical location of this point is about where the tips of the ring and middle finger lands, in the palm of the hand, when we make a fist. 
     Pericardium 8 may have been named “palace of labor” for a very mundane reason: because the hands are the part of the body frequently used to engage in manual labor.  A somewhat more interesting explanation is that, according to the Five Shen system, the heart is residence of the “emperor” of all the shen.  Since the pericardium is the sack that encases and protects the heart, we can think of it also as being the heart’s (and emperor’s) “palace,” whose job (i.e. labor) it is to comfort and protect the king. 
     To massage your own Lao Gong, simply rest one hand, palm up, on the fingers and palm of the other hand. Then, use the bottom hand’s thumb to reach into the palm of the top hand.  Apply moderate pressure, with the end or tip of your thumb, moving it in tiny circles, as you place your mental focus gently upon the point." 
Acupressure Treasury - Lao Gong 


You can also practice the Sun Taijiquan He Shou and Kai Shou movements, Open Hands and Close Hands, to visualize/imagine/pretend/act/engage/positively enhance/open the Lao Gong point and its connection to the pericardium that surrounds your heart. 



"Most primate hands are long of palm and finger, short of thumb, and suited for climbing. Human hands have short palms, short fingers and long thumbs, which are not. These proportions do, though, make it possible to grip things in two ways that other apes’ hands cannot manage well. One is by using what is known as a precision grip, in which an object is held between the pads of the finger tips (especially the first and second fingers) and the pad of the thumb. The other is by means of a power grip, in which all the fingers and the thumb are wrapped around what is being grasped. These two grips are crucial to Homo sapiens’s characteristic tool-crafting skills, and it has thus long been thought that the widespread use of tools by humanity’s ancestors was the driving force behind the modern hand’s proportions.  In a study just published in the Journal of Experimental Biology (12/2012) by Michael Morgan and David Carrier of the University of Utah has shown that the exact geometry of the hand is probably the result of its destructive rather than its constructive power.  Most natural weapons are obvious: teeth, claws, antlers, horns. But the hand becomes a weapon only when it turns into a fist.  “There may, however, be only one set of skeletal proportions that allows the hand to function both as a mechanism for precise manipulation and as a club for striking,” the researchers write. “Ultimately, the evolutionary significance of the human hand may lie in its remarkable ability to serve two seemingly incompatible, but intrinsically human, functions."
Making a Fist of It

   Even better than a fist alone is a fist holding a cane staff weapon.  Grabbing a stick and hitting something, or sharpening a stick to make a spear for stabbing something (animal or human), is the most primitive form of tool using for self-defense and an essential survival tool in hunting. 



"Perception and attention are affected by how close our hands are to an object.  Items near our hands tend to take priority.  The point of both these studies is not that one strategy (whether of hand movements or hand position) is wrong. What you need to take away is the realization that hand movements and hand position can affect the way you approach problems, and the things you perceive. Sometimes you want to take a more physical approach to a problem, or pick out the fine details of a scene or object — in these cases, moving your hands, or holding something in or near your hands, is a good idea. Other times you might want to take a more abstract/generalized approach — in these cases, you might want to step back and keep your body out of it."
Enhanced Visual Perception Near the Hands



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"Contrary to popular opinion, humans - homo sapiens -  are not the only primates posessing opposable thumbs. Chimanzees and monkees can oppose the thumb to the index digit. What makes the human hand unique in the animal kingdom is the ability of the small and ring fingers to rotate across the palm to meet the thumb, owing to a unique flexibility of the carpometacarpal joints of these fingers, down in the middle of the palm. This is referred to as "ulnar opposition" and adds unparalleled grip, grasp, and torque capability to the human hand.

  • Each hand contains (plus or minus... everyone is different, and everyone counts these things differently...)
    • 29 major and minor bones (many people have a few more).
    • 29 major joints.
    • At least 123 named ligaments.
    • 34 muscles which move the fingers and thumb:
      • 17 in the palm of the hand, and
      • 18 in the forearm.
    • 48 named nerves:
      • 3 major nerves.
      • 24 named sensory branches.
      • 21 named muscular branches.
    • 30 named arteries and nearly as many smaller named branches."
Interesting Facts About Hands



"We explore the world around us with our eyes and hands but, as pointed out by John Napier in Hands (1980), only one of these permits us to see around corners and in the dark. The exploratory capacity of the hand brings to the tactile sense a quality that transcends all the other senses and led Bichat in the early days of the 19th century to refer to touch as the only active sense. An inert hand receives an impoverished sensory input and is but a poor transmitter of information about an object placed in it to the centres for perception. But to observe a skilled Braille reader translating series of raised dot patterns into meaningful language at a rate of up to 100 words per min is to recognize not only the high resolution sensory capacities of the active human hand but also the capacity of the neural signals generated by the mechanoreceptors in the moving fingers to gain rapid access to the highest cognitive centres. This is on the input side. On the output side, apart from the chimpanzees who exhibit a limited capacity, humans are the only species that can communicate meaningfully with the hands.
    The hand and the somatosensory system of which it is the handmaiden have never attracted the same extensive and long continued treatment as the eye and the visual sense. Vernon Mountcastle's book, The Sensory Hand, nevertheless, comes in a tradition that commenced with Sir Charles Bell's Bridgewater Treatise of 1832 (The Hand its Mechanism and Vital Endowments as Evincing Design), a pre-Darwinian perspective on the place of the forelimb appendage in the broader economy of nature. Bell like Napier and others after him, for example, Frederic Wood Jones in his influential The Principles of Anatomy as Seen in the Hand (1919), was principally focused on the hand as a motor organ, fascinated as they were by the almost unlimited capacity of the human hand for precision and dexterity of movement. In this, they saw the hand as an executive organ of the brain. To Napier, the hand was the mirror of the brain and ‘there can be no such combination as dextrous hands and clumsy brains’. For Wood Jones, ‘It is not the hand that is perfect, but the whole nervous mechanism by which the movements of the hand are evoked, coordinated and controlled’. All recognized nevertheless the important relationship between tactile sensation and the motion of the hand, Bell summing up one of his chapters with ‘…
.how happily the hand is constructed: in which we perceive the sensibilities to changes of temperature, to touch, and to motion, united to a facility of motion in the joints, for unfolding and turning the fingers in every possible degree and direction, without abruptness or angularity, and in a manner inimitable by any artifice of joints and levers’. "
The Sensory Hand


"We can land men on the moon, but, for all our mechanical and electronic wizardry, we cannot reproduce an artificial fore-finger that can feel as well as beckon."
-  John Napier


"The trees which are pruned, watered and nurtured by caring hands bear the greatest fruits; it is the same with people."
-  Bryant McGill





"Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm.  As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others."
-  Audrey Hepburn 


"The greatest sense in our body is our touch sense.  I is probably the chief sense in the processes of sleeping and waking; it gives us our knowledge of depth of thickness and form; we feel, we love and hate, are touchy and are touched, through the touch corpuscles of our skin."
-  J. Lionel Tayler, The Stages of Human Life, 1921, p. 157. 


"The impersonal hand of government can never replace the helping hand of a neighbor."
-  Hubert H. Humphrey


"When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that four of his fingers are pointing at himself."
-  Louis Nizer






"The Bible tells the story of a man who was very sick with leprosy. Coming to Jesus, he knelt on the ground and implored the Master to heal him. When Jesus saw this man, He was moved with compassion and “stretched out His hand and touched him” (Mark 1:41). The man was instantaneously healed. Elsewhere the Bible says, “So He touched her hand, and the fever left her” (Matthew 8:15). It also records, “Then He touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith let it be to you” (Matthew 9:29). Do you notice a pattern in these verses? Let’s continue on for a moment. The Bible also says, “Jesus came and touched them and said, Arise, and do not be afraid” (Matthew 17:7). Again it says, “So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight” (Matthew 20:34). Occasionally the sick person touched Jesus; for example, “She said to herself, If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well” (Matthew 9:21). And when word spread that contact with this man brought healing, the Bible says, “When the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well” (Matthew 14:35-36).  These verses show us plainly that Jesus Christ is infused with magnificent healing power—a power far superior to anything man has to offer. Furthermore, this power is readily available: it is as close as the touch of the Lord. To partake of it we must simply touch Him, or be touched by Him, for this is all that it takes to be completely healed. As a child of God, it is vital that you really believe this."
-  David A. Huston, Healing Hands


"Hands-on healing, also known as Energy, Radiant or Spiritual Healing, has been practiced by many cultures for thousands of years. In Greek mythology, Chiron, the wise Centaur, taught Asclepius, the God of Medicine, hands-on healing. This practice was so revered that Grecian statues of Asclepius were made with gold-gilt hands, celebrating the power of touch to heal. This was also the source of the caduceus, modern medicine's symbol of healing and the word Chi-ergy, which evolved into surgery. Later, in Christianity, we are told countless stories of Christ's ability to heal using the laying-on-of-hands. Jesus further told his disciples in John 14:12: "... he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do..." Humankind was truly given a profound legacy in Hands-On Healing."
The Spiritual Healing Practice of Laying On Hands


"There have been heavy criticisms from the scientific and non-religious communities towards the practice (as is the case of virtually every form of faith healing), such as that it has been touted as a cure for life-threatening conditions like brain damage, venereal diseases, diabetes and cancer, among others, which can and many times has led to a casualty that might have been avoided or delayed with scientifically proven methods. Also that the sort of the "energy field" created by the "vital energy" sent by the practitioners (i.e. the Japanese ki, the Chinese chi, the Indian prana, or a form of animal magnetism) cannot be detected by any scientific instruments, remaining thus in the realm of speculation and fantasy. Another thing that is strongly criticised on the practice is that, upon failure of the treatment, practitioners tend to use excuses such as that the patient was a non-believer, didn’t have enough belief or faith in the practice or practitioner, including other excuses that shield the practitioner at the cost of the patient.[8] Claimed cures with the imposition of hands are usually dismissed by the scientific community either as a placebo effect or as a spontaneous remission. One cannot however differentiate between a remission and a healing."
Laying On Of Hands


"Reiki (霊気?, /ˈrk/) is a spiritual practice developed in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui, which has since been adapted by various teachers of varying traditions. It uses a technique commonly called palm healing or hands on healing as a form of alternative medicine and is sometimes classified as oriental medicine by some professional medical bodies. Through the use of this technique, practitioners believe that they are transferring universal energy (i.e., reiki) in the form of qi (Japanese: ki) through the palms, which allows for self-healing and a state of equilibrium."







"Power and speed be hands and feet."
-  Ralph Waldo Emerson


Tai Chi's "Wonderful Hand."
Chang Cheung-hsing's "Message of His Discovery of the General Theory of Tai Chi Ch'uan."

"Totally Yin with Yang is "Soft Hand".
Totally Yang without Yin is "Hard Hand".
10% Yin with 90% Yang is "Hard Rod Hand".
20% Yin with 80% Yang is "Combat Hand". 
30% Yin with 70% Yang is "Rigid Hand".
40% Yin with 60% Yang may be classified as "Good Hand".
Only 50% Yang beautifully matched with 50% Yin, without being partial to either Yin or Yang, is regarded as "Wonderful Hand".
The execution of "Wonderful Hand: is an expression of Tai Chi.
When all images and forms are completely neutralized, things once again return to their original state of "nothingness." "
Cloud Hands, Inc.  Tai Chi Chuan: The Technique of Power, p 75.  By Cloud Hands Inc., 2003.  290 pages.  ISBN: 0974201308.  VSCL.   

My teacher, Sifu Knack, once spoke of "Blood Hand" when you punch so hard that the blood of your opponent is on your fist.   


"How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience would have achieved success."
-  Elbert Hubbard


"Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands."
-  Anne Frank


"After coming into contact with a religious man I always feel I must wash my hands." 
- F
riedrich Nietzsche




“Regarding the mother tongue, Luca Cavalli-Sforza relies on Joseph Greenberg, who claims that there is at least one word that seems to be common to all languages. 
This is the root word tik.


Family or Language










titi, tito

finger, single






to indicate, to point






index finger






hand, arm



finger, hand, arm







-       Peter Watson, The Modern Mind, 2000, p.691


In English, we use the word “tickle” to refer to use of the hands to cause another to laugh, squirm, or react with discomfort.  A “tick” is a single mark or count of something, a rhythmic audible tap or beat, tick of a clock hand, a glancing touch, or a reflex jerk of a finger.  A “tickler” is a device to count or jog the memory about something, a mental way of pointing to something.  A “token” is a single instance, a single part, a piece.





One, Single










uno, solo





one, single



手指  zhi

手  shou

之一,單   yi





une, unique





ein, single







Japanese   te    




unum, unicus





“Among men it is in virtue of fineness of touch, and not of any other sense, that we discriminate the mentally gifted from the rest.”
-  Thomas Acquinas, Commentary on Aristotle’s De Anima


“Until the eighteenth century at least, touch remained one of the master senses … It verified perception, giving solidity to the impressions provided by the other senses, which were not as reliable.”
-  Robert Mandrou, Introduction to Modern France


“A world of meaning can lie with the simplest gesture, a kiss, or the touch of a hand.”
-  Constance Classen, The Deepest Sense


“If anyone can do something for me, these are my hands.”
-   Psychiatric patient in Langenfeld, Germany







How to Live a Good Life: Advice from Wise Persons

The Virtuous Life


Index to A Philosopher's Notebooks






Research by
Michael P. Garofalo



Green Way Research, Vancouver, Washington

This webpage was last modified or updated on October 7, 2017.

This webpage was first distributed online on January 23, 2013.


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Michael P. Garofalo's E-mail

Brief Biography of Michael P. Garofalo, M.S.

Cloud Hands Blog

Index to A Philosopher's Notebooks


The Five Senses



Hands On:   Version 2 on March 15, 2013.  Complete Version, PDF Format, 530Kb, 53 pages, Printable, Read Only, Free.