Fun facts about fingernails

Some of us paint them, some cut them short and barely notice them while others take a lot of pride in growing them as long as possible. Most of us have 10 fingernails spread across both of our hands but how often do we really think about how they grow and function? These fun facts about fingernails provide a little insight into this essential, but often unnoticed, body part.

  • Artificial nails were invented in 1954. However, this isn’t the first moment in history that they have been worn. There is evidence that women were wearing long artificial nails as far back as Ancient Egypt and the Ming Dynasty in China.
  • The fingernails on our hands grow at different rates. Thumbnails tend to be the biggest and also grow the slowest while the fingernails on our middle fingers grow at the fastest rate.
  • What happens to your fingernails after you die? Well, contrary to the many rumours on the subject your fingernails don’t actually continue to grow. They stop, just like most other body parts, once your heart is no longer pumping.
  • Men’s fingernails tend to grow at a faster rate than women’s – in theory at least. In fact, the person with the longest recorded fingernails was a man. American Melvin Boothe had grown his fingernails to the length of 9.85m when they were measured in 2009.
  • Plenty of women have also grown their nails long though. American Lee Redmond grew her fingernails to 8.65m, which took 20 years. Unfortunately, shortly after having them measured she lost the record breaking nails in a car accident.
  • Your fingernails grow much more quickly than your toenails. If you were ever to try to measure the rate of growth you’d find that your fingernails were achieving about 1cm every 100 days.
  • Fingernails respond to the sun. If you live in a hot country then your fingernails are likely to grow faster – and if your location is affected by seasons then they will grow more quickly in summer than winter.
  • You’re unlikely to wake up with much longer nails. That’s because fingernails will do more of their growing during the daytime than nighttime hours.
  • There are lots of different ways people try to encourage fingernail growth, from changing your diet to taking supplements. Typing on a keyboard has also been found to have a stimulating impact on the growth of these nails.
  • Fingernails respond to hand use. That’s why you’ll find that the nails on your dominant hand grow more quickly than those on your non-dominant hand.
  • Although we have millions of sweat glands around our bodies you won’t find any on your fingernails. Because there are no sweat glands on your fingernails you’ll never see them glisten, unlike other areas like your face or underarms.

Fingernails are a small but essential part of the human body – and one that has plenty of decorative potential, from fake nails to coloured nail varnish. As these fun facts show they are also quite an unusual body part too.

Check out the many benefits of massages

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It’s pampering and relaxing – great if you’re having a stressful time – but massage is just a luxury really, right? The benefits of massage therapy have been enjoyed by civilisations for thousands of years – and they go much further than just helping you to chill out.

It can actually improve your immune system

Regular massage therapy helps to boost your natural immunity. In 2015, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a study that found that massage increases white blood cell count, which has an essential role to play in defending the body against disease and illness.

Combating anxiety and depression

Feeling isolated and alone is common among depressed and anxious people and something as simple as the soothing touch of a massage therapist can help lift dark clouds. Studies have found that people who have regular massage therapy report that they are less depressed and feel less angry about life, even those who have been diagnosed with a serious condition such as cancer.

Releases the tensions of office life

Many of us spend a large part of every day sitting at a desk and this can do a lot of damage to the body. From pain in the neck and shoulders to issues that arise in the lower back and hips, many of us are constantly dealing with the postural stress of our day-to-day lives. Regular massage therapy helps to counteract this, releasing tense muscles and helping with the issues that start to arise as a result of long periods of sitting down.

Soothing muscle pain

Whether you’re an athlete in training or you’ve stressed your muscles in daily life, massage therapy helps to provide pain relief. It works by improving and increasing the circulation in the body to help reduce inflammation and pain. Research has shown that massage therapy is as effective as any other treatment option when it comes to reducing the impact of something like back pain, for example.

Better sleep and less insomnia

From infants with sleep issues to those undergoing medical treatment or suffering insomnia as a result of stress, massage therapy offers a great solution. Massage techniques can be used to help release tension in the body and prepare it to wind down for sleep. It has been found to reduce stress in infants and help them to cry less, both at bedtime and during the day. For adults, massage therapy can release a build up of tension and interrupt negative thought cycles that might be interfering with sleep.

Tackling tension headaches

Just one massage therapy session can have a positive impact for those suffering with tension headaches, reducing the intensity and frequency of issues. If you regularly experience headaches and are looking for a way to deal with them that doesn’t involve lots of medication, massage therapy offers instant relief.

Yes, massage therapy is indulgent and relaxing but it’s also a very practical way to tackle some of the physical, and emotional, issues that many of us suffer with every day.