resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
September, 2008, Vol. 08, Issue 09
Questions With Direction
By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB
One of the most challenging aspects of being a massage therapist is trying to build a thriving practice with repeat clients. So, it's no surprise that many therapists have felt the crunch with the recent downturn in the economy.Unfortunately, services like massage therapy often are among the first to be cut from one's budget in times of economic crisis.
Therefore, it is now more important than ever to convince your clients to stay the course with their massage therapy sessions. This article will show you how asking some simple questions can ultimately lead to repeat clients, whether you work in a spa, outcall, seated or clinical massage setting. Soliciting a client's feedback by way of asking thorough questions will better help you understand your client's needs and deliver results. Even more important than asking questions, however, is listening and responding to the information your client provides.
One way to organize your questions is to make use of the wide range of forms available for these purposes. In fact, your questions will, to a degree, be directed by the information you obtain using forms. I have my clients complete intake forms prior to therapy. These help me develop targeted questions to clarify my knowledge about their health history, specific areas of pain, stresses in their life, ergonomics of their activities of daily living, medications they are taking, and to identify any precautions or contraindications before the session begins. Using intake forms helps me develop goals for the client's current and future sessions, which also is useful in persuading my clients to commit to ongoing treatment.
There are various types of questions. However, this article will focus on two primary categories: general and those related to a client's pain. General questions are great for helping you understand your client's expectations no matter what kind of practice you have.
Question: What are your goals for today's session?
Reasoning: If you don't ask this question, you won't know if a client wants a relaxing Swedish massage or a vigorous sports massage that integrates stretching. This also is important so you're responding to your client's needs and not responding to your perception of your client's needs.
Question: What areas would you like me to focus on today?
Reasoning: This question also relates to the previous question. At one time or another, we've all probably had an experience with a therapist who seemingly ignored the very thing that brought us to therapy in the first place. When you ask this question, it's very important to listen closely to the answer. When you listen to the client and deliver results, it increases the odds your client will reschedule and/or refer others.
Question: Have you received massage therapy before?
Reasoning: Regardless of the client's answer, this is the ideal time to communicate to the client how you will perform the session. For new clients, you might advise the client to disrobe to their level of comfort and then discuss draping techniques. For veteran clients, you might ask if they'd like you to do something extra special, such as incorporate essential oils into the session.
Question: If you have received massage therapy previously, please tell me where you received it, by whom, and which treatments were the most beneficial?
Reasoning:This information can help you understand how to adapt the session to the types of massage therapy that have produced positive responses for the client in the past. You might also ask the client what they think makes a great massage - and then do what you can to meet the client's expectation.
Question: What type of pressure do you prefer?
Reasoning: Keep in mind that levels of pressure are subjective for each client. What you perceive as light pressure and what the client perceives as light pressure could be entirely different. It's important you check in with the client at the start of and during the session.
Question: Have you ever had any negative effects and/or experiences from receiving massage in the past?
Reasoning: People respond to massage in different ways. Some get ill or are sore for several days after they receive a deep massage. This is where intake forms and questions can be very useful. Some questions might include what medications the client is on, if they bruise easily, what the client's diet is like, as well as questions related to general health and exercise.
Question: Is there anything else I should know?
Reasoning: I intentionally keep this question open-ended so the client can add additional information at their discretion. It's up to me to connect the dots. I am frequently amazed by how many clients will tell me about a traumatic accident and/or major surgery in the past that they didn't mention previously.
Questions About Pain
Question:What other health care providers have you seen recently and for what?
Reasoning: This question immediately informs you if your client has seen a doctor or if the client has self-diagnosed. I can then quickly perform a postural analysis (See "Getting Comfortable with Postural Analysis" in the July issue), check range of motion and perform relevant muscle tests and orthopedic assessments to determine if it's appropriate to proceed or if the client needs to first follow up with a physician.
Question: Have you tried different health care practitioners over time? If so, which one(s) provided the most relief? What did they do and how long did the results last?
Reasoning: Understanding more about the treatments a client has sought for pain relief will give you insight into how you can best help them. For example, if the client sees a chiropractor on a regular basis, you might suggest they schedule an appointment with you immediately before the appointment with their chiropractor for maximum results.
Question: What do you do for pain relief?
Reasoning: I am always surprised by how many people buy topical pain relievers at a drug store. Why should the drug store get the money? Consider selling topical ointments in your practice. Integrate a topical into the therapy session, then send the client home with a sample. The next time the client buys a topical ointment, it might just be from you.
Question: What aggravates your condition?
Reasoning: If the client reports increased back pain when standing or straightening after bending down, it might indicate lumbar and hip flexor or extensor involvement. A muscle movement chart can help you determine exactly which muscles to assess. Trigger-point charts are useful for educating clients about referred pain. Additionally, using the postural analysis information combined with photos helps show the client how stressed or shortened muscles have contributed to the formation of trigger points. This further leads into a discussion of how a series of treatments can be beneficial.
Asking the right questions can help your practice tremendously. I am looking forward to learning how the questions in this article worked for you. I encourage you to read my other articles that can help during these challenging economic times.
Click here for more information about David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
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