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Massage Today
May, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 05

We Get Letters & E-Mail

By Editorial Staff

Gift Certificates, Discounts and Incentives

Dear Editor:

A question from Becky to DearLyndaLMT prompted me to write this letter. (Editor's note: See Lynda Solien-Wolfe's column in the October 2001 issue of Massage Today.) I too have a three-month expiration date on my gift certificates, with holiday and multiple-session exceptions.

Initially I allowed a full year, then reduced it to six months before finally deciding that three months was in my and my clients' best interest. It became apparent that if I allowed a year for the gift certificates to expire, the recipients would wait almost the entire year's time before redeeming it. Only those who prioritize massage and their health redeem their gift within the first few months.

If people "don't have the time," massage isn't really that important to them. Of course, there are always exceptions to all of this. If a new client comes in within three months of receiving a gift certificate, I may see that client nine more times before the year ends, which benefits both of us. If that same client takes a full year to redeem the gift certificate, we both lose. I find the public to be quite uninformed about massage therapy and bodywork. Most people do not understand what a massage encompasses until they receive one. Once they experience a massage, they wish they hadn't waited so long.

Another issue bothering me involves the frequent recommendations for massage therapists to give their time and work away. The work I do is medically grounded. I feel I'm an integral member of the medical profession. MDs, DCs, DDSs, etc., don't give discounts or incentives to their patients, nor are they expected to do so. Giving discounts insults the quality of work I do, the time and money I put into improving my skills and increasing my knowledge, and the emotional and physical energy I expend. I give all of myself when I work, and I need to be compensated for it. Financial compensation is one of the many reasons I do this work, and most people don't value what they don't pay for.

Leave discounts and incentives for the spa and beautician world, which generally provides luxury services. The massage practitioners working there receive wages and usually can expect to receive tips. A distinction between luxury massage and medical/rehabilitation massage needs to be addressed when speaking of incentives. It's appropriate for one, but not for the other.

I'd like to add that many of my clients bestow gifts on me during the holidays, and I sometimes receive notes or gifts of thanks and appreciation for what I've been able to do for them. My clients are important to me, and I care for and appreciate every one of them.

Kay Gustin
Troy, Pennsylvania

Staying Informed

Dear Editor:

After reading your great January 2002 issue, I decided to comment on two articles in particular. First, I always enjoy the motivation that Perry Isenberg's column provides, and I agree with him 100% that we can't stay with the status quo. Yes, our profession has made leaps and bounds in a short time, but we must remain ever vigilant and informed, or the allopathic world of doctors and their ilk will come down hard on us.

This leads me to the insightful article by my favorite writer, Ralph Stephens. In this particular issue, his article and Mr. Isenberg's seem to flow in sync. Mr. Stephens always keeps us on guard about the medical establishment and how it tries to define us as massage therapists. He provides a great service to all health care professionals, by reading the fine print of government agendas to illustrate the dangers of their beaurocratic ways.

Harry Waranch, LMT
Palm Coast, Florida


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