It goes without saying that a magician, more specifically one who specializes in sleight-of-hand, needs to have nimble fingers. It would also go without saying that any injury to those fingers would greatly make difficulty the ability of a magician to ply his trade. That is what happened to me. After experiencing a painful injury to my left index finger, I found that I had to relearn most of the sleight-of-hand movements I had perfected over the time of 30 years. What came as a surprise to me however, was that by relearning these movements, I greatly accelerated the healing course of action. This is something I have dubbed “Re-habra-cadabra”.
In the time of action of rehabilitating my injured digit, I discovered an age-old truth. If something is boring, you won’t do it! That is where most finger rehab exercises fail. They are incredibly dull to do. While perfecting finger flexion and figure extension is an important part of any finger rehab, the truth of the matter is, the boredom of the repetition of most exercises will all but guarantee that within a few days of starting an exercise regimen, you will drop it. I think I’ve come up with a better solution.
Most people look at sleight-of-hand magic and assume it is quite difficult. For the most part this is true. A magic routine comprised of multiple sleight-of-hand movements is very difficult. But, the chief movements that make up the routines can be quite simple to learn. In fact, I ingemination when first learning how to do magic that the initial sleights I learned I mastered comparatively quickly. When you are learning magic, you’re asking your hands and fingers to do unorthodox movements. You’ll often experience intense cramping and fatigue. You will discover muscles you never thought existed. This is good for rehab. This method you are working all of the various muscles that function your fingers.
This is great news for those who have to rehabilitate a finger. Instead of just opening and closing your fingers you will be giving them a task to do. The nice thing about having a task is there is an end goal in mind. Instead of just relearning how to open and close your fingers, you’re giving them a reason to open and close. You are communicating to your hand and fingers a task you wish to accomplish.
The other great thing about learning the sleight-of-hand magic for your finger rehab, is that it becomes very clear when you are progressing and healing. For the most part finger rehab can be a very slow course of action and it is very difficult to tell if you’re making any improvement. But, if you give your fingers a task to accomplish, such as making a coin disappear or performing a one-handed cut with a deck of cards, then as your movements become more fluid were able to see how well your healing. Nothing succeeds like success, so these improvements will further stimulus you on to working on your rehabilitation.
This is the time of action that I followed, although I did not set out to discover a new mode of therapy. My purpose in undertaking this regimen was so that I could get back to work as quickly as possible. With an injured and immobile finger I was unable to work from many months. So, I started to relearn the sleight-of-hand I spent a lifetime perfecting. In the time of action I discovered that my finger rehab therapy went much more swiftly than what I could have expected with the exercise protocol typically given out by hand therapists. I took a particular liking to magic with rubber bands. They’re easy to carry around, and can also be used to add additional tension to normal finger flexion and figure extension exercises.
There would not be enough space in this article to teach someone how to do sleight-of-hand. There are thousands of books obtainable on the topic in addition as many videos on websites such as YouTube. The point of this article is to get you thinking differently. What I hope to impart to you is the idea that you don’t have to stick to the exercise regimen given to you by your hand therapist. In fact, when I would visit my doctor on a weekly basis, I would show him some of the sleight-of-hand movements I had learned. He was impressed with the speed with which I was recovering.
By all method don’t limit your rehabilitation to the three or four standard exercises given to you by your therapist. I would highly encourage you to seek out different therapy in the form of learning a new skill or hobby. Sleight-of-hand magic is just one of them. Shadow puppets and origami would be other excellent alternatives. Taking up a musical instrument can do wonders for giving your fingers flexibility, coordination and strength. In my own personal case, I was a banjo player. It was many months before I could go back to playing the banjo and was only able to do so with multiple layers of bandages on my fingertip. Over a period of weeks and months I would remove a inner at a time. Currently I’m down to just one thickness of bandage. I have no doubt that this has expedited my recovery. So, in closing, have some fun with your therapy. It is highly possible that you can end up with more flexibility more strength and more agility than you had before your injury. In the time of action you might learn a few tricks and stunts that you can show to your friends. Plus as I stated at the beginning of the article, you are more likely to do therapy that you enjoy. If it’s boring you won’t do it. But if it’s fun, not only will you do it, but your recovery time will be greatly reduced.