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Web Marketing: Content Is King
Google's sweeping updates to its search algorithms over the past few years have brought a paradigm shift in how you can optimize your chiropractic website to gain maximum marketing leverage.
Managing Patient Expectations About Acupuncture
Last year, I attended the Pacific Symposium in San Diego for the first time in six or seven years. It was the 25th anniversary of this event, and on one evening there was a panel discussion with the title; "What is Qi?."
AOMA Strengthens Leadership Team
AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine, a leading college of acupuncture & herbal medicine, announced the appointment of Donna LaPoint Hurta, MBA as the new VP of Finance & Operations this Fall.
The Tao of Gender
If you think gender is as simple as having a new client check off the "male" or "female" box on your intake form, we hope this article will expand your understanding and thus the reach of your health care.
Help Patients Achieve Optimal Vitamin D Levels
Much research has been done on vitamin D levels and their impact on health; optimal levels have been correlated with a reduced risk of developing numerous conditions.
Jingei Diagnosis: An Effective and Powerful Diagnostic
I graduated from the Kotatama Institute under the direction of Drs. Masahilo and Katsuharu Nakazono in 1984. As a student, I was exposed to the practice of most of the various theories and modalites of Oriental Medicine.
5 Ways to Occupy Occupational Health
Despite the progress that has been made to better protect workers, occupational health and safety remains a priority area for many national governmental organizations due to the widespread problem of occupationally related morbidity and mortality.
Managing Today's Fertility Patient
I recently received an email from one of my fertility patients: "Got my lab results back. FSH is 11, AMH is 0.7. My doctor said these numbers aren't good. I guess I'm infertile. Just as a thought. Just set up an appointment to speak with an adoption agency."
Simple Ways To Find True Happiness
Patients in our clinics are always seeking happiness. As their health advocate, we need to ensure we inform them that in order to find happiness, they have to make sure to identify what makes them happy in the first place.
Talking to Patients About Healthy Aging
I've noticed that a particular category of patients seems to make up more and more of my practice – they work out, but still experience lots of degenerative joint disease (DJD) issues.
The X Factor in Clinical Research: The Patient
It was the great baseball legend, former New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra – he of countless aphorisms, each with a mind-bending twist – who once declared, "You can observe a lot by watching."
Saying No to Medicine
An interesting article recently appeared in Men's Journal titled "When to Say No to Your Doctor." The article begins with the summary statement above and effectively arms readers with information that will help them "take more responsibility for your own health care, because you can't be sure anyone else is.
Healing With TCM at San Quentin State Prison
For the prisoners at San Quentin State Prison, life-sentences are the reality of every day life. It is not often that prisoners get the opportunity to use alternative medicine to deal with common ailments they encounter behind bars such as, depression, anxiety and pain.
To The Finish Line With the Help of TCM
When acupuncturist Eddy De Smedt pursued a career in Traditional Chinese Medicine, he knew he wanted to make a difference.
Transparency and Accountability: Q&A With the CCE
Every profession needs an organization dedicated to upholding the quality and integrity of its degree programs and educational institutions.
Pulse Diagnosis: What We Know
I am still finding pearls of wisdom from the books and papers that I inherited from my pulse diagnosis mentor Jim Ramholz.
Understanding and Identifying Pediatric Growth-Plate Fractures
In general, fractures in children heal well with little intervention as long as the alignment is good. Fractures involving the growth plate, however, are a different issue. In fact, growth-plate injuries are the primary reason for the subspecialty of pediatric orthopedics.
Lime Jello on Morphine
Taste is in the eyes... actually the mouth... of the beholder. My food preferences have changed, lightening from the food of my youth. My parents loved heavy eastern European cuisine and I loved it as a child. Now I enjoy leaner, healthier whole foods.
The Heart Protector
On the physical level, the Pericardium is a double-layered sac of fibrous tissue that envelops the Heart. The space between the layers is filled with serous fluid that protects the Heart from external shock or trauma and lubricates to allow for normal Heart movement.
Calcium Helps Prevent Colorectal Cancer
Over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer.
The Wonders of Light Therapy: An Interview with Wes Burwell
I first met Wes Burwell in 2011 when he was teaching a class on light. Since then, every time I hear him speak, his understanding of the benefits, function and capacity of light has evolved.
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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