Equipment

Getting Healthy Behind the Chair: It’s Easier Than You Think!

07.01.2019

A focus on health is essential to stylists’ wellbeing—an often overlooked topic, but an important one. We’re talking to Christine D’Alonzo, Wellness Expert, Salon Owner, and Stylist at Amelia Paris Salon & Spa in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, on how to stay healthy as a stylist.

Why is it important for stylists to think about their health behind the chair?

Stylists are prone to repetitive stress injuries that can cause us to develop poor posture, putting more stress and wear on our ligaments and tendons. Over time, this causes issues in shoulders, hands, and wrists, which ultimately reduces our ability to work. These injuries are all very avoidable by just incorporating a few simple exercises into the workday.

How early should stylists think about their health behind the chair?

Stylist health is so critical; education programs should be incorporating it into the curriculum. Educators need to teach stylists body mechanics, nutrition, emotional wellbeing—every aspect of wellness that will allow stylists to live a healthy and balanced life behind the chair.

Do you think stylists should sit down when cutting hair?

Absolutely. The constant standing and looking down that comes along with cutting compresses the neck vertebrae, which can lead to neck issues over time. Sitting puts the work at eye level and releases that pressure. Stylists should aim for a mix of sitting and standing throughout the day for balanced posture and movement.

What steps toward wellness can stylists incorporate into their day?

In addition to balancing their movements, stylists should work different stretches or yoga poses into their day where they can. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Use a few breaths here and there to stretch arms, or do a side bend. Stretch wrists by putting hands into a prayer position and tilting them toward and away from the body. Use the footrest on a cutting chair to alternate leg positions—anything that releases the tension on the body is beneficial.

Mentally, stylists should be mindful of their emotional wellbeing throughout the day. As stylists, we often end up playing the part of a therapist, a mentally taxing aspect of our job where there’s no escape, at times. Stylists need to be conscious of this and take a minute between clients to take a few deep breaths and recenter. Recentering is essential to avoiding taking on client feelings, bringing them home, and allowing yourself to become burnt out.

Stylists should also make an effort to stay hydrated. In addition to the physical benefits that hydration provides, drinking water rebalances the nervous system.

How can salon owners promote a healthy work environment to prevent back problems and repetitive motion injuries?

Salon owners should have cutting chairs available for stylists to use on and off throughout the day as needed to break up their motions. AOB has two chairs on sale for July/August: The 765 Pibs Grillo Stool, on sale for $127 (regularly $172), and the 766 Pibs Round Robin Stool, on sale for $109 (regularly $179). Both chairs feature an adjustable pneumatic lift and foot ring.

Salon owners should also promote wellness by making healthy product choices, understanding the daily chemicals that we’re working with, and developing a high standard of air quality in the salon. Even incorporating plants that will naturally purify the air, such as aloe vera, is a great step toward promoting wellness in the salon.

Salon owners can further promote wellness by educating stylists on the importance of wellbeing, and also by serving as a support system.

As stylists, we rely on our health to keep doing what we love. Incorporating aspects of wellness such as hydration, mindfulness, and a mixture of sitting and standing paired with stretches is essential to maintaining the longevity that keeps us going with a smile. To promote awareness around stylist wellbeing, Art of Business has two ergonomic cutting stools on sale this month—here’s to a healthier life behind the chair!

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