e2c wrote:No, they weren't kidding. It's an old Cuban "remedy": maybe has something to do with the salt content of urine?
I've heard the same story for djembe players. I have this sneaking suspicion that, somewhere in West Africa, there is a bunch of djembe players who are laughing themselves silly about all the stupid westerners who are pissing on their hands: "These guys believe absolutely anything we tell them..."
Soaking your hands in warm, extremely salty water will work just as well or better. (At least, that's what I've been told - "make it salty like the sea.") It certainly is a lot cleaner!
work--I know from first-hand experience. It's good for bruising because the heat gets the circulation going. But it really helps with swelling. When I play hard for about a week or so, gradually I get fluid build-up in my fingers. They are just a little bit thicker than normal. ("Puffy", you might say.)
Take a bowl of really hot water and dissolve all the salt you can in it. You need to put so much salt in that there is some amount left that will no longer dissolve, no matter how much you stir. That's a saturated salt solution.
Now bathe your hands in the hot water, as hot as you can possibly stand it. The high salt concentration of the water causes liquid from your fingers to be drawn out through the skin into the water due to osmotic pressure. You need to give it a minimum of 10 minutes. 20 minutes is better. (You may need to reheat the water half-way through.)
It really does help by reducing the swelling and, if you have bruising, the bruises will heal quicker.
One you've dried your hands, while the skin is still soft, use a bit of shea butter on your hands. It penetrates better due to the heat and the soft skin, and helps to keep calluses soft and pliable.