resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
March, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 03
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.
So, the Spa House is getting closer to its grand opening.Products, menu, pricing, staff and décor is falling into place, and you have freshly printed letterhead, business cards and brochures - your collateral materials - with the Spa House logo, ready to go. I predict that your logo - a child's drawing of a house with two figures holding hands out front - is going to have great success in the community. Remember, the root of logo is from the Greek word, logos, meaning "word" - not like a word in a sentence, but like "word of God." According to the American Heritage Dictionary, logos means, "the principle governing the cosmos, the source of this principle; the power of reason residing in the human soul; God's medium of communication with the human race." A logo has a profound, usually subliminal, impact. I'm glad to see you've used it to your advantage on all your collateral, and on a beautiful sign to hang out in front of the Spa House. Good job! What's next?
You've got a thousand things going on. Your spa consultant has done a good job of getting your products and equipment into place, and now she's getting busy with the opening-phase marketing plan. I can't wait to hear about it; in the meantime, you've got to focus yourself on the next important step: setting up a computer system for scheduling employees, booking appointments, selling products, and running promotional campaigns.
Let's face it, Lou: This is 2004. I know you consider yourself a non-geek (some would even call you a technophobe), but in order to be competitive, even at a "mom and pop" business like the Spa House, you've got to get computerized. This can be easier than you think. First of all, you don't have to know how computers work in order to get computers to work for you. Your partner, Barbara, is computer savvy. In addition, the company you choose for your spa software will provide a technician to bring the system up to speed. Some companies also offer a less expensive option of hooking up your computer through a phone line so they can set up your system remotely. That young receptionist you hired also has computer skills, as does almost everybody under the age of 25. So, don't worry! You don't want people calling you a Luddite behind your back. Get with it, Lou. Computers are hip. They're happening. They will help you. The only quation: Which one to choose?
Once you've gotten over your fear of technology, another problem arises: which technology to choose? As far as spas go, a lot depends on your size. Larger spas need computers and software with higher capacities and more capabilities. The Spa House will not - at least not at the beginning. So, which components are right for you?
First, start with the box - the actual physical computer that will sit at your reception counter. This does not need to be fancy. It does not need to have a brand name you recognize, though sometimes the support of a larger company is worth paying for. The most important aspect of this element, in my opinion, is how it looks. Your computer practically screams out your level of sophistication to guests as they walk through the door. Even though you consider the Spa House a "natural" business, believe me, it will look better with sleek technology. Old technology looks...well, old-not-natural. The main computer case will likely be hidden from view.
What matters most when purchasing a computer (and where you want to invest more money) is the monitor. The monitor, in case you don't know, is the TV-like screen you look at. These days, there is no reason not to purchase a flat-panel display monitor. They are not much more expensive than the old clunky CRT monitors. Get one in black or sleek silver. You might be enticed by the colorful displays offered by Apple, but beware that many spa software systems do not work on Apple (Mac) computers.
A practical note regarding your computer system: Your staff will need to stay informed about their bookings; if the only place to do that is on the main computer at your reception desk, guess what? Traffic jam. At the busiest time, when your receptionist is dealing with the flow of customers, your therapists will be craning their necks to see the screen. This is not good. To avoid this, many spas have tried printing out schedules at the beginning of the day, but you probably remember from your days working at the spa resort that schedules change throughout the day. Another option (which works well in my opinion) is to place a separate monitor in a back room. This can be a larger CRT and there is no need for a keyboard; it is just an "observation station" to quench your staff's curiosity. The hardware is only the tip of the iceberg, though. What really runs the show is the invisible software behind the scenes.
Though you can't see software, it will be responsible for making your spa run smoothly, which will keep your staff and guests happy; therefore, it is vital to choose the right brand. Where are you going to find it? You could browse through ads in spa magazines, visit a trade show and listen to "caffeinated" salespeople, or, alternatively, ask other spas what has worked for them. This is the best choice. Call a few places for some opinions from the trenches, then see how these fit with your needs. Qualities you want in the software you choose include:
Simplicity. You want the fewest keystrokes to enter and retrieve information so you don't have to spend all day clicking and tapping when you could be attending to guests.
Least complicated interface. You never know when you're going to get a less computer-literate person to cover your front desk; the easier the program is to use, the better.
Best service. Always ask about customer support, as there are bound to be occasional problems, no matter how good the software is. Most appropriate. Some software packages are made to handle huge resorts, which would be overkill for your small spa.
Price. This is always important, of course, but great support and features can outweigh a little extra cost sometimes.
The Road Ahead
You're coming down to the wire now, Lou. Your infrastructure is falling into place. Now, you've got to focus on your most valuable asset - your people. It's time for some last-minute training.
In answer to the question in your last letter, I'll say, "Yes, I would be glad to come help you with that training." In fact, it's going to be exciting to see the Spa House for myself after hearing so much about it.
Until next time,
Steve Capellini, LMT
Click here for previous articles by Steve Capellini, LMT.
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