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Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
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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