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Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
August, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 08
By Steve Capellini, LMT
Author's Note: The Spa Letters column features news, personality profiles, trends, and plenty of professional possibilities for LMTs in the spa industry. The style is epistolary, meaning the articles are letters to a fictional massage therapist friend of the author.
As Dickens said in A Tale of Two Cities, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Now that you've decided to hang around the spa and see if you can drum up any work for the summer, you've found yourself inundated. This is a good thing, Lou! Of course, it's also difficult -- little did you realize that several of the other therapists would take advantage of the slow season for some extended vacations and work in other areas. Little did you know that your services would soon become the "talk of the spa," and that people would start requesting you after hearing about your massage skills from their neighbors in the spa dining room. And little did you know that you'd become a celebrity therapist with that write-up in a local magazine.
All of this has added up to some rather nice paychecks and some hefty gratuities, which is great, but it has also meant sore hands, a painful back, and a less-than-energetic attitude some mornings as when you head into work. This is a very important juncture for you, Lou, one that could spell the premature end of your massage career in the next year or two, or one that could propel you onward for as long as you'd care to continue. What I'm talking about here, of course, is the "B" word.
Avoiding burnout when working as a popular therapist in a busy spa, even in the off-season, is a bigger challenge than it may first appear. It's difficult to get people to sympathize with your situation when it sounds like you're complaining about too much of a good thing. And the pains and discomforts you're experiencing are usually invisible to the casual observer. You've got a sympathetic ear in me, however, and I'm sure the other therapists on staff can relate to your situation. I've known a number of therapists over the years who had to give up doing therapy altogether because their bodies couldn't handle the strain. It's really important for you to take good care of yourself now, before it may be too late.
Body mechanics is probably the most important factor to keep in mind when trying to save your body from wear and tear. You've certainly learned about body mechanics in school already, and I won't go into details here. Suffice it to say that if you don't feel a little bit like you're dancing or performing tai chi while giving a massage, it's probably hurting you. You've got to work smart if you want to keep working for a long time. Beyond that basic point, though, is a concern that many therapists bring up, one that makes them feel taken advantage of at times. It's often a sore issue, as sore as their aching lower backs after a long day at the spa.
Do Spas Overwork Us?
Recently, I received a letter from another therapist employed by a spa, just like you, and she had similar concerns. She wrote:
In my opinion, it's a mistake to perceive the dollar as "almighty," although certainly it is quite powerful. It's what gets you up in the morning to go to work in the spa, and it's what gets the spa owners concerned about running a profitable business. Although it might seem otherwise to you, spas in general don't make much of a profit, and many even lose money.
While it is indeed possible that spa owners or directors may ask more of you than you feel you can reasonably perform, they are not doing this because they hate you or because they are slave drivers. They're simply trying to run a profitable business, which is what you yourself might do in their shoes, and they probably don't have the advantage of your experience to help them realize how truly taxing massage work can be. There are no labor laws that I'm aware of stating the maximum number of hours a massage therapist can be expected to work.
There are several spas that have implemented humane guidelines, though. Often, the manager of these spas is a former therapist. If your own particular spa is run by people who don't have a proper understanding of the physical duress we are put through in the treatment room, it is up to you to inform them. You should do this in the most non-confrontational way possible, for two reasons:
As always, you've got to take responsibility for your own experience, Lou. So what can you do?
You may want to organize as many of the therapists as you can, not necessarily for the same purposes as a union, but to create a cohesive group with a single voice, so that the management of your spa can better hear what you're saying.
As a group, you can come up with some creative ways to make sure that management gets what it wants (coverage for all the hours in which clients want treatments) and the therapists get what they want (a safe manner in which to work reasonable hours while making money at the same time).
If there is no one who will organize with you, you'll to organize yourself. What I mean is, you have to present yourself as an intelligent, organized individual so that management will respect you and your opinions. Offer some sane, well-considered alternatives to the working conditions you are now experiencing. If your spa director sees you as someone who is truly concerned about the overall success of the spa, and not just your own personal happiness, I'm sure you'll receive positive response to your suggestions.
And in the meantime, you might want to take a look at some tools therapists can use to "work healthy," such as the book Save Your Hands by Lauriann Greene. For more information, check on the internet at www.saveyourhands.com. And get creative... For example, I've heard of a man in California who has taught workshops on how to perform a massage without using your thumbs! Think outside of the box, Lou. Save yourself and your precious instrument by using creative communication with your spa superiors, and the best, most sustainable, work techniques you know of. Of course, now that you're making more money, why not use some of it to practice what you preach and purchase massage for yourself on a regular basis?
And definitely take advantage of the spa's other resource like the jacuzzi, hot paraffin wax for your hands, and more. I'll talk a little more about that next time. For now, try to enjoy your spa success. It's just the beginning!
Talk to you later,
Steve Capellini, LMT
Click here for previous articles by Steve Capellini, LMT.
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