The thigh bone, in anatomy, is called the “Femur.” The word “Femur” is the Latin word for thigh. There are two femur bones; one in each thigh. The femur has a hollow area; it contains morrow within it. The production of white blood cells (WBCs) and red blood cells (RBCs) occurs in the bone morrow of the bones of the thigh.
From this bone marrow, about 180 millions of RBCs are produced every day. During our daily life, innumerable RBCs get destroyed, and they are replaced by this factory inside the femur. Some production also occurs in the liver and the spleen during early life; but it is negligible later on. The mass production is inside the femur. RBCs and WBCs, of the immune system, protect the body against both infectious diseases and foreign materials.
Out of the 208 bones in the adult human body, the femur (or thigh bone) is the longest, biggest, and the strongest bone. It extends from the hip to the knee. It has great amount of minerals and essential elements, such as 99% of calcium, 88% of phosphorus, a low amount of copper, cobalt, and other trace elements. Both the ends of the femur are attached, on each side, with different bones.
The head of the femur joins with the cavity in the ileum. It is known as a ball and socket joint. At its lower end, it joins with the tibia, fibula, and with patella. These bones have two types of bones – compact outer part, which is stronger and cancellous, and the inner part, which is lighter in weight and contains pores. This structure has extra- ordinary strength.
The functions of the femur include creating the structure of the thigh, bearing weight, supporting movement of the legs, creating insertion points for muscles, and forming blood cells within its bone marrow. Like in a big factory, continuous uninterrupted production of protective elements goes on for all 24 hours.
These bones start degenerating at about 48 years of age, because of our being ignorant and negligent about this bone. For example – many of our daily chores are done while standing; we use the vacuum cleaner in standing position, clothes are washed in washing machines while standing, dishwasher cleans crockery while we stand, kitchens are designed to allow cooking while standing, and even toilets are having western style seats.
So, where do you have the occasion to sit with folded knees? Yes, if we go to attend a gathering to mourn the dead, we may have to sit with folded knees and legs. But these days, chairs are provided there too! So the exercise of the femur is lacking. Slowly, the functioning of the femur is reduced; and conditions that can afflict the femur include infection, trauma, rickets, osteoporosis, cancer, bone marrow disorders, and genetic conditions.
The femur bone is a very important bone. We can’t stand without this bone, or walking, or running. If these bones are not given proper exercises, they will tend to contract, and there will be stiffness and heaviness in the body. Blood circulation and nerve force will, consequently, be impeded. Their malfunctioning will disturb the organs. We should remain conscious to protect it. If we make a habit to do the following exercises, for some time during the day, we can protect it all our life and maintain the right circulation in all the body parts.
BUTTERFLY* AND ITS VARIATIONS:
1. Sit down on the ground, by keeping the legs straight. Bend the legs from the knees, in such a way that both the soles of the feet remain together; let the heels be nearer to the perineum. Interlock your fingers around the toes, and move the knees up and down (very slowly) like the wings of the butterfly. Do it for a minimum of 8-10 times. Breathe normally.
* The Sanskrit name is Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) as used in most yoga guides
As we do butterfly, the heels move away from the body unconsciously. Each time, make conscious efforts to bring the heels closer to the body.
2. Same position – but instead of holding the toes, place both hands on the respective knees. Hold the right knee by the right hand, and the left knee by the left hand. Now, move the knees up and down (slowly) as done before. Do it for a minimum of -8-10 times. Breathe normally.
3. (a) Sit – by keeping the legs straight. Put the right leg on the left thigh. Hold the toes of the right foot by the left hand, and hold the right knee by the right hand. Move the right knee up and down (slowly) for eight to ten times. Breathe normally while doing this. Then, rotate the right knee by the right hand, clockwise first, for eight to ten times, and then anti-clockwise for eight to ten times. Inhale deeply, while the knee moves towards the body, and exhale, while the knee moves away from the body. Then straighten the right leg.
(b)The same exercise should be repeated, with the left leg, also. For that, put the left leg on the right thigh. Hold the left knee by the left hand. Move the left knee up and down (slowly) for eight to ten times. Then, rotate the left knee by the left hand clockwise, first eight to ten times, and then anti-clockwise for eight to ten times. Inhale deeply, while the knee moves towards the body, and exhale, while the knee moves away from the body. Then straighten the left leg.
Then, try to sit in Padmasana (Lotus), by keeping the right leg on the left thigh, and then the left leg on the right thigh, for some time. If you can’t, then try half Padmasana for a few days. Slowly, you’ll be able to sit in full Padmasana.
These butterfly exercises are advantageous for the joints of hips, the knees, as well as the ankles. The working capacity of the legs increases, because stiffness of the joints decreases. Ladies get great advantages to their ovaries. When we perform this exercise, it gives flexibility to the inner thigh and pelvic muscles; and also, it is good for the lower hips, knees, and ankles. A number of joints get lubricated, and the chances for arthritis and joint pains, minimizes.