A Study on Hairdressers and Makeup Artists
Harmony Amatsu Clinic
Anyone that has worked in a salon will know how hard hairdressers and makeup artists work. Long hours on your feet, standing on hard floors, often not moving more than a couple of feet, with your arms in an elevated position and your hands constantly moving. The description alone makes you aware that this kind of work is not what your body was designed to do and now you begin to realise why hairdressers and makeup artists report having more musculoskeletal issues than most workers.
Recently a study was done by the Centre for workplace health, health and safety laboratory in the UK. They interviewed 147 hairdressers and 67 non-hairdressing office workers. They asked for details of complaints/pain that they had and then asked them to specify what they thought, were work-related pains, below are their findings
Immediately you see that hairdressers report a much higher percentage of pains in all categories, the only ones that come close are wrist/hand pain and neck pain, which are big issues for office workers that sit in poorly designed workspaces for long periods of time, looking at badly placed computer/laptop screens while typing and using a mouse. Also, if you consider that neck, upper back and shoulder pain are quite often different descriptions of the same thing, the study suggests that 1 in 4 hairdressers report that they have a work related pain/complaint.
Why do Hairdressers have these complaints?
- Hard unforgiving floors. Standing for long periods of time.
- Posture while working
- Elbows at chest height and above. Stooping while working or reaching upwards
- Repetitive motions
- Continuous scissor work or use of hairdryers and brushes/combs
- The salon environment can be very dry and caffeinated beverages won’t keep you properly hydrated, water is key here.
- Incorrect Footwear
Louboutin said high heels are “pleasure with pain” and after 7 or 8 hours on your feet in a busy salon you’ll agree with at least 50% of that statement. The picture below demonstrates what some footwear can do to your feet. Keep in mind your feet are how your body interfaces with the ground when you walk/jog/run so it’s vital they can do their job properly.
One of these factors in isolation is bad enough but when you combine them you start to understand the stresses that a hairdresser/makeup artist’s body is under. Complex, unnatural movement by tired, dehydrated muscles is almost certain to cause musculoskeletal dysfunction, in fact 1 in 4 is now looking a little low which leads me to wonder if hairdressers and makeup artists so accustomed to feeling tired, sore and stiff that they only notice a problem when it has become severe? If ever there was a collection of people that need regular maintenance treatments, they are those people.
So what can be done about it?
Well firstly I’m going to make some assumptions. I’m going to assume that wearing sensible flat shoes, having a personal floor mat, taking copious water breaks and self levelling salon chairs are on the “maybe list” so what’s left?
- Get an Amatsu treatment. An Amatsu treatment (also called a balance) uses gentle techniques to release excess tensions in your musculoskeletal system and restore your body to a balanced condition. Regular Amatsu treatments will not only improve your posture and movement but unwind the damage done by years of bad posture/movement or previous injuries.
- The Salon Floor is the salon floor; it’s not going to change so please keep this in mind when you choose your footwear. By all means wear heels, maybe rotate with different heel sizes, wedges or if your salon allows, fashionable trainers/converse. Look after your feet, massage them, remove calluses/exfoliate them, protect bunions. If you work all day in heels, spend the evening in your bare feet or in socks. Do not underestimate how important your feet are in relation to your overall musculoskeletal health.
- Use a cutting stool; you don’t have to use it all day but periodically. Consider it a break. For those of you that are tall, either higher the clients seat or use the chair, if not you’ll end up with big problems over time. For those that are not so tall, consider lowering the clients chair or use the stool. Be aware of your own posture when you work, there are plenty of mirrors around. Slouching when you stand is not good either.
- Massage your hands, especially your scissoring hand. We all know how to do this, use some lotion and massage away the knots and tension. Its better to gently massage over a longer period than to “get right in there” your hands are your income after all.
- Get yourself a plan. If you want to be a hairdresser or makeup artist, you will be working long hours in unfriendly environments (from a musculoskeletal viewpoint). You can get away with a lot when you’re in your early twenties but at some stage bad habits will catch up with you and you don’t want to end up unable to work at what you love. Consider getting regular Amatsu treatments to keep your body in balance, work to improve your posture in and out of work, think about your footwear and take great care of your hands. Remember that movement is your best friend, both in work and on the dance floor.
For further information on Amatsu and how it can be part of your maintenance plan for your body,
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