I can’t stress enough the importance of stretching your hands, and forearms every morning and every evening, spend 5-10 minutes going through a stretching routine. These are very easy to do, takes little time to do them.
It’s VERY common in all animation studios. Conditions can slowly develop, the most typical one is Repetitive Strain Injury, it’s a prevalent condition resulting from overusing the hands to perform a repetitive task, such as typing, clicking a mouse, writing, and of course drawing. In simple medical terms, repetitive strain injury (RSI) stems from prolonged repetitive, forceful, or awkward hand movements. The result is minor damage to muscles, tendons, and nerves of the neck, shoulder, forearm, and most commonly hand and wrist, which can cause pain, weakness, or numbness.
If you’re feeling some pains, tingles, weakness, or numbness in the wrist/forearm; one of the best ways to heal quickly are ‘Contrasting Baths’.
What crazy voodoo am I speaking of?
A couple different physiotherapists and massage therapists had recommended this technique to me several years ago, and for anyone I knew that tried it, they all say the results are fast and effective.
Commonly used by carpal tunnel suffers, it’s a method of treating muscle soreness, swelling and inflammation, it’s also known as Hot/Cold Immersion Therapy.
You can use the double sink in your kitchen at home, if you don’t have one, then get your hands on two very large identical bowls, it needs to be big enough to submerge your entire forearms from wrist to elbow.
Fill one up with ice cold water (with a couple dozen ice cubes floating in there). The other with very warm water, not tea-kettle boiling hot water, just hot tap water, or as warm as you can handle, no sense in burning yourself of course.
Have a stop watch or clock ready, and submerge your arms for 30 seconds in the hot, then switch to doing 30 sec. in the cold, and repeat a few times back and forth, 30 sec. a piece. After only a few times you’ll notice the hot water getting cooler and the cold water getting warmer, so then the technique grows to be less effective, but by then, the job is done.
The idea is that the extreme heat and cold contracts and expands your blood vessels, promoting greater blood flow to circulate and flush through your arms, and increased blood flow is what aids in healing faster!
For artists and animators.
Take care of your body and your body will take care of you.