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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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
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.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.).
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.
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?
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.
May, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 05
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.
A-ha! Now you know what I was talking about, don't you? The entire staff of massage therapists, who just a few short weeks ago were your colleagues, equals and friends, are now looking at you with new eyes.You're the one in charge of their destinies, on a certain level, in the enclosed environment of the spa. Sensing your vulnerability in this new position, they're pressing their advantage by staging a mini-revolt. They want more money and have started to complain bitterly about the miserable 50% cut they're receiving from each service performed, plus tips and benefits.
Remember what I said in my last letter about being the boss? Well, now's the time to embark upon that treacherous journey of making yourself into another person: a boss person.
The Boss Trap
Do you remember any previous bosses who everybody agreed were complete jerks? And do you remember speaking to many people from many different companies, at all different levels from top to bottom, complaining about their own bosses? Did you ever think that there was a "boss gene" of some type that selected these people for a combination of power-hungriness and unreasonableness? How could every boss be so bad?
Well, now you know. Be absolutely certain, and make no mistake about it, some of your erstwhile colleagues are now talking about you in the same backstabbing tones you overheard them using in regard to the former supervisor in the spa. I call this the "boss trap," and it's 99% dependent upon the boss/employee relationship, and 1% dependent upon the personalities involved. Now is when you start to really understand what the spa business is built upon - relationships.
How are you going to position yourself in this new dynamic? On the one hand, the therapists are using their close ties to you as a recent member of the staff to plead their case to the management, and on the other hand the management is watching you to see how you'll help run the department as smoothly and cost-effectively as possible. Where are you supposed to land in this salary debate? As a traitor to your own kind? As an ineffectual leader who perhaps should not have been promoted? It's a dilemma, this boss trap.
Openness Is the Best Policy
In answer to the plea for help in your last letter, I'm going to offer another one of my off-the-wall opinions that many people may disagree with. Be assured, though, that some very successful spa owners and managers have used this technique with positive results. It's a policy of openness about money, and it scares many people.
An "open book" policy means you inform the employees about the costs of doing business, the income, profit margins, goals, etc. Massage therapists seem to be particularly affected by money issues, clamoring for their due, a little naïve perhaps at first, but they usually understand the overall situation quickly when shown the reality.
The therapists confronting you now scream, "How can I, the one working so hard all day, get only $35 when the spa is charging $70 per massage? For doing what? Giving me an empty room to work in? Supplying towels? They're ripping us off!" But, were you to show your therapists the true costs of doing business, they, like many therapists before them, might get real quiet, real fast. I've seen it happen.
The Avalanche of Costs
If you can get management to agree to it, try this. Sit down in a special meeting with the therapists and use a flip chart or a slide show to outline each of the costs faced monthly by the spa. This information alone may be enough to steer the therapists onto another course, regardless of final profits or losses.
Show them the costs for original build-out still being paid off to the bank; the huge utility bills; the staggering amount of laundry; and costs associated with that (on a recent spa project of mine the cost just to launder sheets, towels and robes was well over $5,000/month for 9 massage rooms. Share with them the cost of the janitorial service to keep the facility clean; the constant upkeep of temperamental equipment; the unending flow of supplies and products to stock the spa; and the need to purchase new linens at least quarterly to offset the loss due to rampant stealing. Share with them the costs of licenses; permits; taxes; advertising; promotions; printing; office supplies; management salaries; trade show events; workers' compensation; and health insurance.
Put just these numbers in front of your therapists, add them up, place the grand total in big bold letters, and then ask them if they think a 50/50 split isn't absolutely reasonable. I know of several spas that offer less, more along the lines of 30/70 or 60/40, and the therapists are happy, because they know the realities. Spas usually are not profit-intensive businesses. We are all in it for the service, and to follow our passion.
Most therapists, being reasonable, will relent when faced with an avalanche of so many costs, grateful they don't have to deal with them personally, and remembering that's why they chose to work for somebody else in the first place. It's natural for highly skilled therapists to want to be compensated well for what they do, but some of them don't understand the challenges involved with running a large business.
Gird Yourself for the Fight
Don't think it will be easy. My words might make sense to you now, but you will, of course, be dealing with the volatile reality of several "massage personalities" (you know what I mean) and the newly forming relationship between you and your staff. I think it will work, if you can get management to go for it. Remember to tell them other spas have done this successfully, and assuage their fears by assuring them not all numbers need to be revealed, just those related to spa operations. Also, you have to present it in the right way to the therapists. This is where all your skill and diplomacy will be needed. This is your trial, your opportunity to fulfill your new role: to be one of the therapists, and a part of management at the same time.
Good luck! I can't wait to hear how it goes.
Steve Capellini, LMT
Click here for previous articles by Steve Capellini, LMT.
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