Are muscle niggles affecting your treatment delivery? Making sure therapists are looking after their bodies when performing treatments back to back is a passion for Kerry Beavis, Pilates teacher, Professional Beauty’s Therapist of the Year 2016 and owner of home-based salon The Revive Company in Wixams. She shares her top tips for preventing work-related injuries.
1. Be aware of the common injuries
“Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is an ache that occurs when you perform the same movement continuously, causing your tendons to become inflamed and tired. For therapists, it can affect the hands, fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders and neck”, says Beavis. “The other common injury is lower back pain and this happens when you don’t stand correctly for long periods of time. If you don’t treat these issues they can really jeopardise your career.”
2. Think about your posture
“If you’re not in a good posture during treatments then you’re going to be putting stress on the joints, which can lead to back pain and potentially arthritis in later life. My number-one rule is to always stand tall. Imagine you’ve got a magnet on the top of your head and another attached to the ceiling and then feel that pull upwards; this simple technique will keep your back nice and straight. Also, always bend from your knees and lower the treatment bed to stop yourself standing incorrectly”, says Beavis.
3. Take a rest when you get a niggle
“To prevent the occurrence of RSI, you really need to have a rest from the thing that’s giving you grief, so take some time out or do other treatments apart from massage if you’re able to. It’s also worth wearing wrist splints when you’re not doing anything, to give that extra support. However, if your ache lasts more than a few days, even after a rest period, visit your GP and nip it in the bud”, explains Beavis.
4. Invest in the right tools
“To prevent lower back pain, book yourself in for regular massages or grab a couple of tennis balls, put them up against a wall and rub yourself up and down on them like a bear. This stretches any areas that are tender and builds strength”, says Beavis.
“An exercise called the roll down is also great for stretching out your posterior chain. Start with your feet hip width apart, before rolling your shoulders back and drawing your naval in towards your spine to engage the muscles around your mid-section, which are vital for supporting your back.
“Next, breathe in, and as you exhale, nod your chin towards your chest, before rolling down bone by bone as far as you can go, letting your arms hang freely. When you’ve reached the bottom, breathe in again and as you exhale, restack your spine bone by bone until you’re standing.”
Kerry Beavis is a Pilates teacher, owner of home-based salon The Revive Company in Wixams and Professional Beauty’s Therapist of the Year 2016. Watch Beavis’s video where she demonstrates four RSI and back pain prevention exercises at professionalbeauty.co.uk/PBTV