As the girlfriend to a Chiropractor, believe me, I’m aware of proper posture, and when mine is WAY out of whack! Being a Lash Artist can be hard on your body. Bad posture can lead to muscle stiffness and strains; back, neck and shoulder problems; joint pain; headaches; and even weight gain if you don’t have the education and tools to make sure you’re working safely. I’ve asked the “expert” Chiropractic Physician, Dr. Maloney, for his tips and I’ve added some of my own as well!
According to the American Chiropractic Association, "poor posture is often seen in people who bend forward at the waist for prolonged periods of time in the workplace. People who bend over all day are more likely to experience back pain and injury due to the increased strain on muscles."
Luckily, posture is not difficult to correct, even for lash artists who need to bend over all day. It involves not only retraining your body and muscles to sit properly, but also adjusting the height of your chair and bed to reduce strain on muscles and joints. Making a new habit takes some time, but this new practice will be well worth it!
How Should My Chair Be Positioned?
Your chair should be at a height that allows your feet to be flat on the floor. This is widely agreed upon as the safest position for protecting muscles and joints. Which means that if you don’t already own an adjustable chair, its time to purchase one.
The American Chiropractic Association also recommends:
- Avoiding crossing your legs
- Keeping a small gap between the back of your knees and the front of your seat
- Relaxing your shoulders and keeping forearms parallel to the ground
- Avoiding sitting in the same position as much as possible (this is why it’s so important to move around between clients)
- Adjusting the backrest of your chair to support your back or using a back support
How Should the Client Bed Be Positioned?
Good posture is impossible if your bed is not the proper height. If the bed is too low, you’ll have to hunch over to reach the client. If it is too high, you’ll have to strain to reach the client. Either way, you’re putting unnecessary stress on your muscles and joints. The effects might not be noticeable at first, but they’ll show up over time. Many lash artists have complained of severe pain that affects their ability to work, and you want this career to last!
No exact bed height works for every lash artists because everybody is different, but some general rules will help guide you. Enlist a co-worker to pose as a client so you can test the height and make adjustments. You should always be looking out and over, not up or down, have the clients head be positioned as close to the head of the bed as possible so you don’t have to reach and purchase a bed that you can put your knees under comfortably without having to spread your legs.
Other things to consider:
- Sometimes technique can be a contributing factor to fatigue of not only the muscles in the neck and back, but also the wrists and hands.
- Invest in a good pair of tweezers with a nice loose grip, so they do not require a lot of pressure to close. This helps reduce wrist pain and carpal tunnel.
- If you're new to doing lashes, you may find yourself gripping your tweezers tightly when concentrating or bearing down with your isolating hand especially when you are looking away to select your lash. This causes your shoulders to shrug and your hands to cramp. Concentrate on keeping your shoulders down and back and a light grip on your tweezers as it will help you to create healthy habits while working.
- Try not to hover your hands above the client while working, as this can also cause muscle fatigue. Don’t be shy, use the client’s forehead to rest your hands and brace your wrists. Clients actually find the weight comforting! A nice added touch is to place a tissue on the client’s forehead while working. This prevents the client from perspiring and oils from your hands touching the forehead. Now everyone is comfortable throughout the service.
- Take 30 seconds to stretch between clients. At the end of your appointment you must wait a few seconds from the last applied lash until you nano mist, so use this time to talk about aftercare and stretch! Look at the ceiling, look at the floor, look to your left and right shoulder then stretch your arms out in front of you, point your fingers at the ceiling; point your fingers to the floor then do a few wrist circles.
- Purchase an ergonomically correct esthetic chair (we love comfortsoul.com!)
- Wear Magnifying Glasses while you work. This will prevent you from leaning in closer to focus. Plus they protect your eyes from strain and fatigue.
Invest the time and the money into keeping your body in alignment and your body will thank you and reward you with many pain-free years of happy lashing!
For more info on posture, check out this article. http://www.drbookspan.com/SittingHealthy.html