The human hand contains 27 small bones, and there are an additional eight bones in the wrist. Together, your hands and wrists make up some of the most delicate, intricate and hard-working bone-muscle-tendon combos that you have. If you value your career as a lash pro, you must treat your hands with TLC every day and ensure that you’re not putting undue stress on your most important tools.
Erik Bliss, DC, director of the Bliss Chiropractic Center in Cincinnati, is very aware of the damage a lash artist’s repetitive motions can cause over time: His office happens to be located right next to a full-service salon. “Preventative care is very important when it comes to your hands and wrists,” he says. “It’s the best way to avoid [debilitating] conditions.”
As the classic children’s song “Dem Bones” goes, “the hand bone’s connected to the arm bone, the arm bone’s connected to the shoulder bone” and so on. In other words, everything’s related. That means, the way you use your hands and wrists has consequences for your entire arm, straight through your elbow and shoulder, all the way up to your neck and even through parts of your back. “This is called ‘kinematic change,’” says Bliss. “It’s the same thing we see in the legs when ankle issues affect knees and hips.”
You don’t have to be gripping your tools too tightly to cause problems; simply repeating the same motions every day can cause serious stress injuries. “If you’re working with your hands day in and out, you should condition them with a gentle exercise routine every day,” Bliss suggests. “Doing a quick, five-minute routine before starting work, just as runners stretch before a run, can help prevent work-related injuries.” When exercising your hands, keep in mind extension and flexion. Flexion occurs when you bend your palms down toward your arms, and extension is when you bend your hand back, reaching your knuckles toward your forearm. Take a few moments between clients to pull your fingers back toward your wrist—gently. Check out these additional exercises:
Extend and stretch both wrists and fingers acutely, as if you’re in a handstand position. Hold for a count of five.
Straighten both wrists and relax your fingers.
Make a tight fist with both hands.
Bend both wrists down while holding the fists. Hold for a count of five.
Perform 10 repetitions of the entire sequence.
When finished, let your arms hang loosely at your side and gently shake them out for a few seconds.
–by Leslie Hedrick
[Images: Getty Images]