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Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
Syncretism: Acupuncture and Public Health in Cuba
"Syncretism" is defined as a union of diverse tenets or practices. On a recent trip to Cuba designed to demonstrate the integration of Traditional Medicine and biomedicine, our group witnessed this union firsthand.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
June, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 06
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.
You see? It wasn't as bad as you thought. When you were able to convince management that the "open book" policy might work for your spa, and that it was a good idea to disclose some of the costs of doing business with the therapists, everyone calmed down a bit. Now the therapists are happier doing the same work they were before, and they feel more a part of the big picture, too.
The open-book policy can be a good one for many spas, and you've seen it work. But now the therapists have just one last bone to pick as far as what they want from the spa, and on this topic I'm going to have to side with them. They want the spa to pay for part of their continuing education in the field, and I think that's right.
Of course, once again you're stuck in the middle as the spa treatment supervisor, needing to appease the therapists on the one side, and management on the other. I think there might be a solution that will make everyone happy.
Retention vs. Detention
I know you might have trouble convincing the spa ownership to invest in furthering the education of their therapists. The first thing you're likely to hear is something along the lines of, "Why should we pay for them to get more training, when then they might just take off and work for a competitor? We'll end up paying for their education and another spa will swoop in and pay them slightly more per treatment, thereby receiving all the benefits of our generosity."
That is a viable concern on the part of your spa management and owners, but guess what? There are countermeasures the spa can employ to minimize worries of this kind.
First of all, certain spa managers and owners need an attitude adjustment. Specifically, they need to alter their concept of the phrase "employee retention." For many managers and human resources departments, retention means something more like "detention." Due to the high costs of hiring and training new people, they will do anything they can to keep the employees they already have, but instead of coming up with inventive ways to make their employees want to stay, they try instead to instill in them a fear of leaving. "What if you loose your insurance?" they say. Or "That other spa might fire you within the trial period. You'd better stay here where you have security." Employees can end up operating out of fear rather than motivation. They feel trapped rather than inspired - detained rather than retained.
Spa management can get around this problem by encouraging their therapists to learn new skills that would make them valuable to competitors. Yes, that's right. It's counter-intuitive, but it works. And the way it works is through incentives and recognition.
Incentives and Recognition
As you well know, Lou, what massage people want most, in addition to good pay and the satisfaction of helping people one-on-one, is some recognition from the people with whom we work. We want our skills and abilities recognized and appreciated.
Some spas offer to assist their therapists with the expense of continuing education, and then when they come back to the spa to use their new skills, they are given special recognition as they move toward becoming "advanced therapists." An advanced therapist is someone who can perform most or all of the modalities offered by the spa and who has been with the spa for a certain period of time. Someone who can perform Swedish, neuromuscular, stone massage, reiki, reflexology and Lomi-Lomi, for example, will help the spa by being available to cover many guest requests during all possible shifts. This person becomes highly valuable and deserves to be considered an advanced therapist, as long as her skill levels are satisfactory in each modality.
That's the recognition part.
The incentive part has to do with pay, of course. Once a therapist reaches the "advanced" level, he or she is paid a little more per treatment, which makes sense because the spa usually charges more for these services as well. In addition, if the spa helps out with the tuition for the classes taken, that adds another incentive to stay with the same company. Imagine working for people who actually want to help you become more qualified so you can earn more! This is the situation at some spas, and the therapist turnover rate in these facilities tends to be much lower than the average.
How Much Is Enough?
There are differing thoughts on the matter of how much is enough when it comes time for a spa to actually shell out money for their therapists' education. Many spas opt to pay for a trainer to come on site and offer classes to the entire staff, which is often more cost-effective than subsidizing therapists' individual classes. However, those that do offer a form of "scholarship" usually give a certain percentage, not the entire amount of the class. A 50/50 split is typical. Sometimes the spa only pays a quarter of the class fee, or a flat rate, such as one hundred dollars per class.
Really, any amount, even just a $50 voucher toward a class, is enough, as long as it demonstrates management's commitment to furthering the skills of their staff.
You also need to be realistic when it comes to what the spa will be willing to provide. You can't expect the moon. I can think of no spa that would offer their therapists a full ride to the Rolf Institute, for example. Financial help is only given for classes and workshops that will give therapists skills they can put to use in the spa immediately after training. If a therapist wants to learn Thai Massage, but it's not on the spa menu, it wouldn't make sense for the spa to subsidize part of the training. However, if several therapists are interested in a new technique, that may be a good opportunity to expand the menu at the spa and add the new modality.
Recognition of Specialists
Of course, some therapists want to stick with what they know best. Becoming an advanced therapist who knows several techniques is of no interest to them. They'd rather hone their skills in one area or technique. In this case, the spa can provide some assistance and incentive for the therapist to take advanced courses within the modality, becoming an advanced practitioner in one specific technique. Often, therapists who get proficient enough in a certain modality end up leaving their place of employment to set up their own studio or clinic, and that too should be encouraged!
Put the Money Where It Matters
Do you see where I'm heading? In my last letter, I told you that therapists need a refresher course on the bottom line of spa operations so they don't get unrealistic expectations about their salaries. I believe therapists, especially newer ones, should be happy to receive a reasonable wage even a little lower than what they might expect. Then at the same time the spa can offer some incentives and recognitions for those therapists who improve and help the spa over the long haul, nurturing those who are willing to commit to the growth and success of the overall enterprise. The cost of subsidizing some training will be lower than trying to keep therapists on board with higher salaries, and it will foster an environment of loyalty.
Even if therapists eventually leaves you to open their own business, you'll have created such good will that they will probably have someone to recommend to you to take their place.
My advice is to tell your spa owners it's smarter to put the money where it matters, in recognition and incentives, rather than an ill-advised raising of pay to try and "detain" a team of therapists.
Talk to you later,
Steve Capellini, LMT
Click here for previous articles by Steve Capellini, LMT.
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