Palm Reading; Part 1

8 10 2009

The eyes may be the window to the soul, but there is no doubt that the hands are the windows to health.

When I was a teenager, naively contemplating career paths, I spent some time ‘shadowing’ (read – “getting in the way of”) my mum, who was working at a GP surgery (Family Practice for my American readers) at the time. I vividly remember the fascination I felt watching her perform a kind of voodoo witchcraft. Every patient, seemingly regardless of complaint or condition, had teir hands examined. Watching my mother pouring over these confused individuals’ palms and nails, I couldn’t help but feel she was simply giving a mystical palm reading.

Now (as every good medical student soon learns), I understand that hands hold a multitude of clues about an individual’s health. In fact, it become so ingrained as one of the first steps of the routine examination, that you almost ‘palm read’ as a reflex. The hands can tell you about the heart, lungs, joints, blood, liver, skin, and almost every organ in between. There are markings that would indicate a potentially fatal infection of the heart, that could allow you to consider alcoholic liver disease, or tell you that their blood isn’t properly oxygenated. And there is certainly nothing esoteric about  noticing tar staining from cigarette smoking, and extrapolating that they might have any of the hundreds of conditions caused by smoking!

Whether palm readers use some of the signs doctors do to predict life and health in an individual is anyone’s guess, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me!

Until next time,

Jo

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