What can I do to prevent my staff getting repetitive strain injury?

What can I do to prevent my staff getting repetitive strain injury?

Therapists working in spas and salons have a tendency to suffer with repetitive strain injury, especially tension in the shoulder, back and neck areas. For massage therapists, the repetitive movements can also put unnecessary stress on the tendons and nerves in hands, wrists and arms.

Poor posture during treatment is normally to blame, as well as spending too much time in one position, but a lack of adequate breaks can also cause injury. It’s important to make sure staff take regular breaks throughout the day and use breathing exercises to help release stress and increase oxygen intake.

Therapists should also stretch regularly, to improve circulation and increase mobility, and change positions in treatment as much as possible. Remind therapists it’s OK to move the client during massage so that they don’t have to bend over as much. Switching up the rota so staff perform different treatments throughout the day can also help.

Yoga is a great stretching and breathing exercise and a perfect start and end to the day.

One six-step seated exercise, spinal stretch, is particularly good for therapists suffering with tension and is easy to do:

Step one: sit on a chair with feet parallel and flat on the floor. Allow the spine to lengthen.

Step two: place your hands on your knees.

Step three: inhale as you draw your shoulders back.

Step four: lift your head and draw your chest forward and up, arching your back.

Step five: exhale, before releasing your head down to your knees. Press your hands into your knees and round your back up toward the ceiling, drawing the abdominals in towards the spine.

Step six: repeat the steps four or five times, then come back to a sitting position.

Anna-Cari Gund is president and managing director of Cidesco International, the international beauty and spa therapy standards and qualifications body. Gund has nearly 30 years’ industry experience.