When work becomes a pain in the neck
Anyone who works intensively with their hands can be prone to injuring their arms, wrists, thumbs and fingers, and unfortunately beauty therapists are no exception.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. If therapists know the correct way to use their body they can have a long and healthy career without incurring a repetitive strain injury.
The risk of developing RSI does tend to vary depending on the type of beauty business. Beauty salons will find that therapists’ columns will be filled with a mix of waxing, manicures, facial, lash treatments, and some massage. Whereas a day spa like ours will have a much higher demand for massage and body treatments.
The demand for massage is enormous in our business, and there are lots of reasons why therapists tend to get injured while carrying out their job:
- Bad posture
- Massaging with their couch at the wrong height
- Limited techniques
- Trying too hard
- Using muscular strength rather than body weight
- Bad body mechanics
As an employer we have a duty of care to look after our therapists and ensure that they can enjoy a happy and healthy career. We have always tried to ensure a varied day of treatments for our therapists, along with attaching an RSI point system to our treatment list. We work this out by completing a risk assessment for each treatment, looking particularly at those that are repetitive or strenuous. Points are then allocated to each treatment, and therapists are given a maximum number of points they can total up in a day. This ensures no therapist has an entire day of massage.
Therapists must also help themselves
Athletes always warm up before a big sporting event, and the same theory should apply to therapists. Implement “warm up” exercises at the start of the day for your team, plus regular stretching moves throughout the day.
We try to encourage our therapists to change their massage routine regularly. Poor body mechanics in a therapist tend to get worse when they are bored. No therapist should be stood like a statue when performing a massage, they must move with rhythm, almost like a dance.
How often do therapists get to be the client? Let’s also not forget that they need massage too. We offer incentives towards earning a complimentary massage or treatment.
If a therapist does fall foul of RSI, they must go and see a medical professional, and you should ensure all personnel meetings are documented. If in doubt seek advice from a specialist HR solicitor. They can help guide you in the correct procedures if any staff members are on long term sickness.