Energy can be felt by our facial clients, especially if we're nervous or uncertain about performing a task. In this blog we'll look at the anatomy of the head to understand we are not forcing the neck into any un-natural positions when turning the head from side to side. Your client will feel totally supported and massage serenity will be maintained.
If we take a closer look at the anatomy of the neck, specifically the cervical vertebrae to gain a greater understanding of how it functions we can remove some of the fear I regularly see with my esthetician students when it comes to turning the clients head from one side to another.
There are 7 cervical vertebrae, and the first two are unique in shape and function. Your first vertebra (C1), also called the atlas, is a ring-shaped bone that begins at the base of your skull. It’s named after Atlas, of Greek mythology, who held the world on his shoulders. The atlas holds your head upright and allows the head to nod back and forth, indicating “yes” movement.
Your second vertebra (C2), also called the axis, allows the atlas to pivot against it for the side-to-side “no” rotation of your head. These bones are designed to allow this type of movement, you are simply working with the body in a natural movement.
Your seven cervical vertebrae (C1 to C7) are connected at the back of the bone by a type of joint (called facet joints), which allow for the forward, backward and twisting motions of your neck.
Your cervical spine has several functions, including:
Protecting your spinal cord. The nerves of your spinal cord pass through a large hole (called the vertebral foramen) that passes through the center of all of your vertebrae.
Supporting your head and allowing movement. Your cervical spine supports the weight of your head (average weight of 10 to 13 pounds). It also allows your head and neck to tilt forward (flexion), backward (extension), turn from side to side (rotation) or bend to one side (ear-to-shoulder; lateral flexion).
Providing a safe passageway for vertebral arteries. Small holes in cervical spine vertebrae C1 to C6 provide a protective pathway for vertebral arteries to carry blood to your brain. This is the only section of vertebrae in the entire spine that contains holes in the bone to allow arteries to pass through.
Our bones were created to have full range of motion, supporting the cervical spine we have shock absorbing intervertebral discs, ligaments, tendons, muscles all of which may prevent full range of motion in the neck due to poor posture, tension, disease or disorders of the tissues. This is where the use of our esthetics intake forms become very important for the safety of our clients.
Checking for the most common conditions of any previous neck injuries or whiplash, cervical spondylosis, cervical stenosis is a must before proceeding.
The aim is to turn the clients head in a gentle, supported way while maintaining their relaxation.
The easiest and most comfortable way I find to do this is to slide one hand under the neck so I can cup the occiput and my other hand with fingers spread wide is placed on the crown of the head.
Slightly lifting the head with my hand supporting the occiput, no more than an inch, so keeping the head close to the pillow, gently turn the head to the side.
Always work slowly when turning the head. This allows the client to register any discomfort by their facial expressions or tensing the muscles preventing you from turning the head.
If you're unsure ask for feedback and never push past the client’s “edge”.