resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
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.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.