About the HeadBed inventor

Posted by Cathy Dalton on 3rd Jun 2014

HeadBed was invented by West Australian naturopath Catherine Randabel (BA Phys.Ed & Psych., Grad.Dip.Psych., Dip.Applied Science Naturopathy. Member ATMS).

Catherine started her Naturopathic practice in 1991 and has since built a successful and busy private practice in Wanneroo WA, blending all aspects of natural therapies including remedial massage.

Catherine began to observe with her clients a cluster of neck problems and headaches that started at the hair salon during and after the hair wash.She found that on average most women visit the hairdresser’s every 6-8 weeks.

"One of my client’s rang me on a Thursday in great distress, as she had 2 days of painful headaches and sore neck after a long session at the salon sink! All day I kept thinking about the implications of placing one's head in such extreme hyperextension position with the neck taking all the weight of the head. To make matters worse, while washing my client’s hair, the hairdressers applied downward pressure on the head with the neck against a hard porcelain edge. My client’s neck muscles must have been put under a lot of pressure and tension as they are not meant to sustain such force. No wonder she was in great pain and distress.

Our head on average weighs between 3.8 to 5 kgs, this hyperextension does put a lot of pressure on our delicate blood vessels and nerves which weave their way through and around the vertebrae of the neck. I reasoned that if the whole weight of the reclining head could be supported at its heaviest point (under the occipital bone), then the neck's delicate structures would be safe and would not be strained or injured!

Thankfully I managed to massage and relax the 'traumatised' neck muscles of my client and she went away determined to never have her hair washed at the salon again.

I wanted to help my patients with this problem so I kept thinking of ways to solve this issue, and the image of a golf ball on a tee came to me! An obvious comparison as this very small surface of the tee can balance and take the whole weight of the golf ball with ease.... So we needed a small platform to hold the full weight of the head and a method of attaching it to the edge of the washbasin!

I became curious about the incidence of such injurious effects from being at the salon sink. So I started researching in the medical journals for any evidence or reported cases of injury. Unfortunately, I did start to uncover articles in several reputable journals warning of the dangers of the salon sink hair wash. These could range from just a stiff sore neck, to tearing of the lining of vertebral arteries, leading to blood clots to the brain and strokes ! Although rare, the latter has happened and some women have died as a result of these strokes.

As we grow older we also tend to lose the strength in the neck muscles, which adds to the problem of shearing forces applied to the delicate blood vessels and nerves in that area. Hairdressers' clients could also be suffering from high blood pressure, hardening of their arteries, high cholesterol and plaques in the inner lining of the arteries, which could all cause the neck blood vessels to get easily damaged if they are hyper-extended and kinked while at the salon sink.”

This motivated her to solve the problem and create the HeadBed. After years of research, and understanding and observing the actions/activities that occurred at the salon sink from a customer and hairdresser’s perspective, the HeadBed was conceived.

"I see the HeadBed as a safety device really. The neck has to be protected by correctly supporting the weight of the head. Once this is achieved the result is also much greater comfort for the person at the sink! No more strain and pain. The whole experience can become very enjoyable once again."

Catherine has a university degree in Teaching, Psychology and Physical Education. She particularly enjoyed the Biomechanics, Ergonomics and Sports Massage units of the Physical Education degree. She also has a graduate Diploma in Naturopathy and Remedial Massage Therapy.