resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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 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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
April, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 04
Are You Under Contract?
By Jenn Sommermann, LCMT
Unfortunately, it's still not the norm for massage business owners to have employment contracts with their massage therapists. Although things are changing and employers are more informed than ever, the average business owner still does not protect themselves or their staff with a written contract.We previously have been a more lax profession and our personalities, by nature, are trusting and friendly. However, as our industry has become more professional and our business training savvier, we are starting to understand how important a working contract is. A handshake won't do the trick anymore. Every massage therapist should have a contract, either as an independent contractor or employee.
I wish I could tell you this is preventive in nature, and for the most part it is. But, as a business teacher and coach, I hear too many stories that prove how important this concept is. I was inspired to write this article because a former student called with his "nightmare story." It seems an entire staff of massage therapists was fired because they wrote a letter of complaint about a recent promotional venue at the spa at which they were employed. The spa offered a 50 percent discount during a two-week period, and the cut came strictly from the therapists' pay. When the therapists wrote a letter and complained, a meeting was called. That same day, the therapists (I think there were 10) were questioned, fired and told to vacate the premises immediately. My former student called me to discuss if this was legal. I asked, of course, if there was a contract.
The good news is that he said there was a contract, sort of. It came in the form of a 38-page handbook for employees. However, nothing was negotiated and there was no room for discussion. It was a "take it or leave it" handbook and had to be signed by the employee. There also was a clause in it stating the employer had the right to change things as they saw fit. The bad news is it wasn't really a contract and did not have the "right" information in it to support both the employer and the therapist. A truly fair contract will support and protect both parties.
I can't stress how important a contract is, as a starting place for negotiation and as a concrete design of what the working relationship and model will be for the duration of employment.
Here is where it went wrong. First, there was, in fact, information about promotions. However, it only stated that the establishment had the right to run them. There was no description about how they would impact the therapist or their pay. Often, promotions are run and the house takes the hit, or a combination of the house and therapist will be affected. If the massage therapist were to assume the entire financial burden, wouldn't you want to know that going into the job? That is not to say you wouldn't work for someplace that assigned the financial burden to you. Rather, the information would be helpful so you could budget and/or plan your finances. Perhaps you rely on other sources of income and two weeks of a pay cut are fine, if it brings in more volume and is good for business. The converse side is, if you rely completely on this one paycheck for your personal finances, this could be a problem. Maybe you could not afford such a change in salary. Either way, knowledge is power and it would be helpful to know for future financial planning.
Second, there should have been a paragraph detailing termination agreements. If the business owner wants to fire you and end your job immediately, that is their right, but it should be in writing. Similarly, what if you are not happy? Are you allowed to walk, or are you obligated to give some notice? I am not an advocate for walking off the job. I always think the right thing to do is give at least two weeks notice. Whatever you and your employer decide, it should be detailed in the contract. Wouldn't it be helpful to know these things before you start working someplace?
Lastly, how are disputes handled at places of employment? A good contract will detail this in the unfortunate event that it happens. How stressful is it to think you cannot have a voice at your place of employment for fear of losing your job? If something like this were made clear in the contract/handbook, perhaps there would have been a forum to vent their grievances instead of everyone being fired.
There are many other topics I would suggest for an employment contract. And when it comes to contracts, the more information there is the better. Take any uncertainty out of the employment situation and detail the working relationship and model as much as possible. I have detailed three topics for you, given the unfortunate example from my student. In addition, I have named the other two on my Top 5 and provided this list for your reference.
Topics for written working contracts:
This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a start. I strongly suggest you get your hands on The Business of Massage by the American Massage Therapy Association and use it as a resource. It's an excellent book you will use for years to come. As ambassadors for the field, we must encourage employers to have working contracts. If they don't, suggest it. Be proactive. Draw one up yourself. If they don't like it or won't sign it, ask yourself, "Do I really want to work here?"
Above all, protect yourself and stay focused.
Click here for previous articles by Jenn Sommermann, LCMT.
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