The “Carpal tunnel” is an arch-shaped passageway beneath the wrist formed by the bones in our hands called “Carpals”. Numerous images illustrating this structure are available from online image searches. This passage allows nerves, blood vessels, and specific muscles and tendons to extend into our hands. This arch can become distorted from repeated movements and thereby put pressure upon the important parts that travel beneath.
This will cause “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome”. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a problem associated with numbness and tingling in our hands, and more urgently problems with the strength of our grip and the dexterity of our fingers. Discomfort is often the first sign, and disfunction the second.
Rolfers address this problem by rebuilding the shape of the carpal bones’ original arch. With carpal tunnel syndrome, there are usually movement limitations “upstream” of the hands. In a Rolfing session, people are often surprised to discover how much normal movement they have lost in their elbows, shoulders, and often necks. The Carpal Bones below the wrist can become distorted to accommodate the stresses required by the arms and torso. A Rolfer would dare to say such stresses extend from the body at large!
How does a Rolfer approach this restoration? We fix problems within the fascia. For carpal tunnel-related problems our goal is to restore the normal elasticity of the very strong ligaments connecting the bones of the hand, especially the carpal bones. We must address other adhesions in the fascia beyond your hands as well.
Fascia is both friend and enemy, hardening the parts of our body we regularly abuse both to our benefit and detriment. In the case of hands, it tends to strengthen (and thereby immobilize) joints in the positions we use the most. For an unrelenting computer user, it is the shape of their hand around the mouse, for a dentist, this is the shape around the instruments they hold, and for a sportsman the shape of their hand around a tennis-racket or golf-club. In every case the whole body is tied together by fascia, seamlessly woven, to support whatever habits we have.
If these habits are causing Carpal tunnel syndrome, Rolfing may be the answer.