We look at things from the ground up, starting with proper footwear, stance and use of your wrist in this three-step wellness takeaway for stylists.
It starts with a solid foundation. For a stylist who spends most of their working life standing, the shoes you wear and the surface you’re on are important. This sets the tone for your day, and it needs to be strong.
Start with an anti-fatigue mat, one that provides enough firm cushion without being too squishy (which can be a trip-factor), positioned around your chair.
At 1” thick, the Minerva Anti-Fatigue Mat is easy on the feet and can be placed behind a shampoo system or underneath a styling chair with a round base. Position it where you need it to make sure you and your back feel comfortable during a day in the salon.
Minerva 3’x5’ Rectangle Anti-Fatigue Mat with Round Cut Out.
It makes good sense to wear sensible shoes. And you can do it without sacrificing style. Be sure to look for shoes that are designed with good support and long-lasting comfort.
A great option for all-day comfortable footwear is the Skechers Arch Fit collection featuring a patented insole system with podiatrist-certified arch support. The insole shape was developed with 20 years of data and 120,000 unweighted foot scans and it helps mold to your foot to reduce shock and increase weight dispersion.
Skechers offers a wide range of options, including boots, sandals and lace-ups (for a secure fit). There’s also slip-resistant styles that can help protect your balance around those occasional spills on the salon floor.
Skechers Arch Fit footwear is available in all-over neutrals as well as in statement-making brights. The collection features athletic breathable knitted materials for even more comfort and many of the styles are machine washable.
Take a Knee
Dr. Chris Durall, a physical therapist, researcher, and author at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse recommends that stylists try to keep their knees slightly “soft” while standing at work.
“Standing with the knees thrust backwards into hyperextension for prolonged periods of time can damage some of the stabilizing ligaments, which increases the risk of knee osteoarthritis and pain down the road,” explains Durall. Standing with locked knees can also aggravate some types of lower back pain. Consequently, stylists who tend to lock-out their knees while working should try to ‘soften’ them so that they are bent slightly.
“It’s true that keeping the knees ever-so-slightly bent while standing takes a bit of mindfulness and muscular effort,” notes Dr. Durall, “But doing so protects the knees, relaxes the lower back, builds stronger quadriceps, and, as an added bonus, burns a few extra calories.”
Photo credit: Izabela Habur/Getty Images
Repetitive strain, carpal tunnel, tendonitis and rotator cuff tears often rear their ugly heads when hairdressers overwork or are not working ergonomically. Andrew Carruthers, education director for Sam Villa, says that proper precautions can help prevent these career killers.
• Learn correct body positioning to reduce stress. Carruthers says he developed the bad habit of hanging his neck, which damaged vertebrae. Instead, raise your guest up. You can also bring your body down and work more from your knees and core.
• Use cutting stools. This takes stress off legs, back and core.
• Strengthen finger muscles to distribute action evenly. Do stretches to create more flexibility in your fingers, wrist and thumb tendons.
• Use ergonomic tools such as light-weight blow dryers and shears designed to allow hands, wrists and elbows to operate in safe positions with minimal weight.
• Install shampoo bowls to the proper height to reduce stress from bending over.
• Utilize trolleys to minimize extra movement and weight.
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