Although many consider the work of Brian Gray in the area of Iron Palm to be controversial, his basic summary of the four areas of potential damage from improper Iron Palm training delineated in his book Iron Palm Fundamentals can be helpful for those starting out. These include:
- External Immediate damage: Bruising, tenderness, swelling, painful sensations, and/or temporary loss of range of motion.
- Internal Immediate damage: Bruising, tenderness, swelling, hematoma, broken or fractured bones, and/or muscle spasms.
- External Future damage: Permanent loss of range of motion, adaptive shortening of the muscles, calcium deposits in muscle tissue leading to chronic ache and poor circulation, and/or calcium deposits in bone tissue leading to disfigurement and loss of movement.
- Internal Future damage: Damaged nerve paths, arthritic conditions, spinal problems due to relativity principle of muscle-action pathways and spinal–area muscle insertion points, weakened internal organs, and/or heart problems including propensity for heart attacks.
According to Gray, immediate damage is felt right away or within hours of the trauma. He suggests that this kind of trauma be treated immediately with herbal remedies and/or massage to the affected area. As the body is very capable of self-healing, given the proper amount of recuperation, slight injuries may heal on their own entirely unaided. Moderate to severe injury, however, should be immediately be treated with a strong Iron Palm liniment. Gray says that he often considers himself a “crusader” against worthless liniments. He says that “if the liniment you are using does not remove a bruise faster than normal, throw it away.” Immediate injuries are one-time events that should not be repeated because the accumulation of repeated traumas causes future damage – therefore, using a weak or ineffective liniment will not help to undo the adverse effects on the hand or body that is repeatedly traumatized without being provided proper time to heal.
The goal of Iron Palm training is to avoid severe trauma on a repeated basis. What is needed most to strengthen the hands is, according to Gray, “mild trauma coupled with an herbal liniment that is potent enough to speed the healing process.” It is the “mild trauma/potent liniment” process that is the key. If an Iron Palm student is using a method of severe trauma and applying a worthless liniment, or, worse, no liniment at all, he or she will cause repeated injury to the hand that will likely result in carpal tunnel syndrome, fused bones such as the metacarpals, permanent loss of range of motion, arthritis, or, quite possibly, all of the above! One must also keep in mind that there is a point of overtraining beyond which even the most potent liniment will not be able to stop or reverse the damage being done.
Even if the Iron Palm practitioner seems to experience no ill effects from daily brick or block breaking, if the hands are not given a full day of recuperation between breaking sessions (of three or more breaks) then, Gray argues, it is most certain that dangerous future damage is slowly occurring beneath the surface, though it may not fully reveal itself in stiffness and inflexibility for many more years. While some bone damage can be reversible with powerful liniments and rest in the early stages, if repeated and prolonged, the same damage will become permanent.
Whether or not you are a fan of Gray’s work, please, be smart in your training, and make sure you are protecting your hands and your health with a powerful and effective herbal liniment suited for your type/style of Iron Palm, Iron Hand, Iron Fist or Iron Body training. We are happy to help you select the best formula for your needs.
Stay tuned for the next part of this article on how improper Iron Palm training can cause damage to the spine, heart and other internal organs.