resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
Misconceptions & Opportunities With Medicare
As I speak around the country on how to properly document Medicare patient encounters, I get questions regarding opting out of Medicare. There are many misconceptions about opting out of Medicare, including just what it means to opt out.
Let's Streamline Your Front Desk
Your front office can be your greatest source of efficiency or a constant bottleneck. Increasing the productivity of this area without sacrificing the quality of patient interaction can be a little tricky.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Day in the Life of an Advanced-Practice DC
Can you tell us a little about your background in the profession? Why did you want to become a DC? I studied at Boston University from 1968-1972 as a pre-med student majoring in biology.
An Alarming Lack of Accountability
Accountability seems to be a lost quality today. The simple act of taking responsibility and doing the right thing just doesn't happen as often as it should. Maybe it is the litigious nature of our society.
Identify & Adjust the Apex Posterior Sacrum
Low back pain involving an apex posterior sacrum (+θX-axis misalignment) typically presents with signs of lumbosacral joint impingement or facet syndrome.
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?
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.
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.
News in Brief
Northwestern Student Honored for Addressing Concussions Head-On; Northwestern Announces New CFO; Life U. to Provide Unique Opportunity.
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.
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.
How Many of Your Patients Have Sarcopenia?
Figure 1 demonstrates the typical appearance of sarcopenia in the paravertebral muscles. Have you considered evaluating your patients for this problem? Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that affects the older population.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 4): Blending Pain Relief With Healthy Aging
Pain relief is still the No. 1 reason patients come to my office. However, most of my patients have other goals as well, such as: "I want to lose 10 to 20 pounds"; "I feel old and want to slow down the aging process"; "My doctor says I am becoming a diabetic and need to exercise"; or "I'm tired and want more energy."
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.
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.
Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators: 21st Century Inflammation Fighters
Specialized pro-resolving mediators, or SPMs, are a portion of the omega-3 fatty-acid spectrum that have been shown to have a powerful effect on reducing inflammation.
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.
F4CP Launches New Social Media Campaign
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has launched a new service to help member doctors: a social media campaign called "Accelerator."
Excited to Share the Science of Chiropractic: An Interview With Dr. Heidi Haavik
Dr. Heidi Haavik has become known in the circle of chiropractic researchers as not only a rising star, but also one willing to do research that can have a major impact in the scientific world and how chiropractic is perceived.
September, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 09
Massage Therapy Meets Corporate America
By Rebecca J. Razo
There was a time when massage therapy was considered a luxury that only the wealthy could afford. These days, health-conscious consumers from all walks of life are increasingly drawn to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatment options, including massage therapy, which, according to a recent survey conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), ranked among the top 10 CAM therapies used by Americans in 2002.1
The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) notes that the number of American adults who received a massage over the previous 12 months jumped from 8 percent in 1997 to 21 percent in 2003.Additionally, the combined number of massage therapists and massage therapy students in the U.S. increased from roughly 120,000 to 260,000 in 2002.2,3
Inasmuch as this growth has helped validate massage as a therapeutic treatment option and dissolved many previously held misconceptions about the profession, some therapists have found it increasingly difficult to expand their businesses and stay competitive in the ever-growing market.
The Entrepreneurial Spirit
But resourcefulness and ingenuity has led some massage therapists and businesspeople to embark on a trend that is sure to change the way consumers see massage now and in the future: "commercializing" the business of massage through franchising, brand-naming and expansion.
Take Arizona-based Massage Envy, for example. Since its inception two years ago, the company, which was founded by John Leonesio, a veteran health club and wellness executive, has grown to 14 locations: 12 in Arizona, one in Texas, and one in Oregon, with many more in development. Operated like a standard health club, clients pay a monthly membership fee for one "free" massage, and reduced rates for each massage thereafter during the month.
Phyllis Schwartz, a massage therapist for over 15 years, had maintained a thriving practice in Minnesota, christened Keep in Touch, for several years when a combination of business growth and personal tragedy motivated her to take her practice to the next level.
She began by creating a reception area akin to a cozy living room - complete with fireplace and stuffed easy chairs - that would later become the standard design for all Keep in Touch locations. In 2002, her son Chris suggested franchising the business.
Still operated by the Schwartz family, Keep in Touch Massage Therapy Centers, Inc., opened its first franchise in 2002 and now has six locations throughout the greater Minneapolis area. 4,5
The Schwartz family would like to expand to other areas eventually, but for the time being, they are comfortable letting the business grow at its own pace. "We're in [the business] because of massage, not to make 'a billion' dollars. Our family believes strongly in massage. So, it's important to us to make sure we do this right," said Chris, the company's president and CEO, who also indicated the family wants Keep in Touch "running as efficiently as we can before going national."6
Though owning a massage franchise may not be for everyone, Colleen Steigerwald-Holloway, owner of Success Beyond Work, a business-consulting firm and book for the massage therapy profession, notes that franchising is an option that can open doors not usually available to massage therapists.
"One advantage of franchising is that part of the fee includes training on how to open and operate a massage business," she commented. "Many massage therapists don't get this information as part of their formal education, so it can increase their chances of having a successful business. Another advantage is the marketing plan is in place ... therapists are not often knowledgeable in this area."7
But even Chris Schwartz affirms that there can be a downside to franchised establishments if owners aren't careful, noting that there exists a risk of losing some of the more personal aspects of massage in a large center that is trying to build clientele.
According to Schwartz, part of the recipe for success is paying attention to quality over quantity; he also believes that those who want to own a massage franchise must do so "for the right reasons."
Though beneficial in many regards, franchising is not the only high-profile massage game in town. Some massage businesses have been profitable enough to incorporate, offer entrepreneurial partnerships, or open multiple locations, such as the wildly successful Massage Bar, which has seven locations, primarily in airport terminals, throughout the country; mobileSPA™, a national entrepreneurial buy-in that brings spa services, including massage, to clients in their homes and businesses; the Ultimate Backrub, with two locations in Chicago, which offers massage therapy, retail products and ergonomic office furniture; and the Great Metropolitan Backrub, with two locations in Minneapolis.
Annette Rondano, owner of the Great Metropolitan Backrub, believes that aggressive marketing and concentration on the business side of massage is one way to reach a larger market of consumers.8
"No matter how hard you try, it is still hard to make a good living [doing massage]," she said. This is one of the reasons Rondano devoted herself to building a brand-name massage business: to upgrade her own position as a therapist, as well as provide job opportunities to other therapists.
"My company offers massage therapy by the minute," she continued. "So if all a person wants is five minutes, they can get five minutes ... what we do is kind of utilitarian -- it appeals to the broadest spectrum of people."
Irrespective of the business approach individual therapists choose, there is little doubt that as commercial massage businesses continue to grow, the practice of massage therapy will become more accepted as a necessity and less considered a luxury.
Rondano, for one, believes that without the continued growth of more commercial massage-business endeavors, "the industry will not elevate; it will remain an 'in-your-living-room' kind of venture. This is a way of upgrading the industry."
Editor's note: For information on the other companies mentioned in this article, visit the following Web sites:
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