resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
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.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
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.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
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.
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.
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.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
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.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
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.
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.
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.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
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 Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
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.
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.