(This is a version of an excerpt from an article published in the Healthy Hairdresser section published in the August 2014 issue of MODERN SALON.)
Your legs are swollen, your wrist is inflamed and your back is begging you to curl up on a sofa. Who knew that doing hair would break the body?
click image to zoomGathering for a Crossfit session are (left to right): Allysa Naro, Hair Gallery 101, Akron, Ohio; Sara Tusai, Famous Hair, Ravenna, Ohio; Rowena Yeager, Studio Wish Salon, Twinsburg, Ohio; Caitlyn Haas, Texture Salon and Spa, Stow, Ohio; and Kristen DeGroff, Famous Hair, Ravenna, Ohio. Photography by Brian S. Alls.
After more than 20 years of standing on her feet doing hair, Rowena Yeager was sinking fast.
“I have scoliosis,” explains Yeager, the owner of Studio Wish Salon in Twinsburg, OH. “About five years ago I realized that if I could end up in a wheelchair if I didn’t start doing something to support my spine and back.”
A track star in high school, Yeager reconnected with running, improved her diet and lost 30 pounds. Then she discovered CrossFit, a tightly structured program that blends aerobic exercise, gymnastics and weightlifting built upon a group framework that’s both cooperative and competitive. When she started out, Yeager couldn’t catch her breath for a short run. Today, she runs half-marathons, hits the CrossFit gym five days a week and works at the salon pretty much pain-free.
“I’d been so focused on my salon that I wasn’t taking care of me,” she says, adding that she’s not surprised to have met other local hairdressers through CrossFit. “But if I don’t take care of me, I can’t take care of anyone else.”
Glenn and MaryAnn Guerriero already had been putting in long hours behind the chair for years leading up to 2003, when they launched their own salon, Brooklyn Attitude Hair & Body in Saratoga Springs, NY. In the 11 years since then, the workload has not eased up.
“Thankfully, from the opening of our doors we have always been a very busy salon,” Glenn Guerriero says. “But it has taken a toll.”
Now in their 50s, the Guerrieros have experienced the typical aches and pains that plague hairdressers. Glenn’s sore left shoulder, leg fatigue, troubled knees and stinging back have all been alleviated by a heavily used gym membership. However, MaryAnn has had a knee replacement and surgery for carpal tunnel and a bulging disc in the neck. She may soon be facing hip surgery as well.