Yes, yoga. With a over 50 years of cumulative tattoo experience some things on our bodies are bound to break down just like a piston to a classic low-low.
Tattoo artists use their hands the most in our craft. The constant vibration and weight of a tattoo machine on our hands plus the repetitive position eventually takes its toll that has lead many artists to cramped hands, wrists and fingers, for some-carpal tunnel syndrome may develop or worse yet, permanent damage to our hands/wrists.
Maintenance and preventative exercises are something all artists of any genre can relate to. Check out our instructional photos and videos for reference. Hand exercises for some, or for a lack of better words- yoga for tattoo artists.
Yoga Hand Exercises for Tattoo Artists
We don’t just care about the tattoo, we care about you.
Old School No-No
Although handgrips are good to strengthen your kung-fu grip, your hand endures a lot of stress already. One needs to give up that macho crap for a small stress ball to ease that tension and exercise your hand gently.
Grab a decent size cushiony stress ball and open and close 50 times softly. Stop, rest for 30 seconds then repeat for both hands if necessary. Balance is good.
This is what you don’t want to do.
Tree Branch Bend
Your pointer, middle finger and thumb get worked from your works activity. By extending your arm out or down, place your fingers in your other hand or on your lap. The pull should be easy to be sure that you do not over strain your muscles. You will feel this in your wrist and forearm.
See the new PYT video here.
Happy Goose and Backward Goose
This is an advanced technique that requires your strict attention to detail otherwise you may not get the full benefit of this exercise.
In the first image, place your thumb over the bone of the ring finger while grabbing the pad portion of your thumb.
In the third image, slowly have your thumb point the clasped hand toward your shoulder. You want your clasped hand’s pinky to point away from you- the more you tweak the more you’ll feel it. This will feel familiar for those who have gotten hand locked by a cop.
In the forth image, keep your elbow close and bend your hand towards the opposite shoulder. Your free hand can gently apply some pressure from the wrist area down towards the ground.
Upside down Happy Goose and Upside down Backward Goose
Image 5 and 6, extend your arm straight and draw the hand backwards with the free hand upwards to stretch the inner wrist and outer forearm.
In the last 3 images, grab the wrist with the thumb and pointer finger clasping the palm and drawing the extended arms hand upward. You will now feel the stretch in the outside of the wrist (by your thumb) and outer forearm.
You may see the full video on how to do the above mentioned here.
Tree Trunk in the Wind
Images 15-17 is a variation of the first 5 with the exception that the arm is bent and you will want to slowly flex and bend the wrist back and forth 10 to 12 times per side to include the appendages- thumb and fingers.
See this ancient Samoan technique in action.
Pigeon Toe Wrist Bend
18-19, can be used against the side of a tattoo chair or table.
Elephant Trunk Boogie
20-25 can also be done on a table or the floor where you can fully extend your arms.
This is the Champion yoga move.
THE NANDO FINGER SEESAW TECHNIQUE
There is absolutely no benefits by doing this exercise except if you don’t have the coordination, you just feel stupid because you can’t do a stupid exercise that we just made up.
If you don’t like it, Ya Mama.
After all said and done, another effective treatment method is R.I.C.E an acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. If your fingers don't tingle then your hand/wrist may just be inflamed and you really just need to follow suit. This is a timely process so pay attention- ice for 20 minutes, stop the ice compression for 10 minutes then repeat two more times (3x total). Stay off the drugs. We can do things holistically without pumping our bodies with more crap.
Remember, we just don't care about the tattoo, we care about you ;)