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It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
Syncretism: Acupuncture and Public Health in Cuba
"Syncretism" is defined as a union of diverse tenets or practices. On a recent trip to Cuba designed to demonstrate the integration of Traditional Medicine and biomedicine, our group witnessed this union firsthand.
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
April, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 04
Make Your Client's Experience Memorable
By Jenn Sommermann, LCMT
A plethora of competition, coupled with a struggling economy makes for tough business times. There is no doubt that our massage industry has experienced a population explosion since the turn of the century and rivalry abounds. There are probably very few, if any, massage therapists who are the "only ones" in their town. Now we see competing spas and franchises opening up in record numbers at every cross street and massage schools turning out graduates in record numbers. Added to these quantitative challenges is a tough fiscal period. Most of us have been affected in one way or another. The weekly client may now only come every two weeks, or the monthly client may now only schedule for every five weeks. Some clients may have dropped out altogether, in order to pay for their higher priority items. It will get better but it's challenging now, to say the least.
What's a therapist to do? I know I paint a bleak picture and you may be wondering what can be done, if anything. In my opinion, it all comes down to the client experience and what your clients will remember about you. There's a saying that 'no one will remember your words or your actions, but they will remember how you made them feel.' Think back over your life and I am sure you will agree. The specifics about people, places and events may be fuzzy but the feelings linger. The feelings are what created the memorable experience. The same goes for a massage session. It must be memorable and lasting, in order for your clients to want to return. After all, isn't that what we want? Client retention is the key to business success. Turn your massage session into a memorable experience and your clients will return more frequently.
At this point it is necessary to objectively look at the services you provide, including the business side of your practice. The experience starts long before a client walks into your treatment room and unfortunately, this area is often overlooked. Instead, I see therapists flock to hands-on continuing education, adding modalities to their bag of tricks, in hopes of becoming more successful. While a varied arsenal of techniques is imperative, it rarely brings clients in your doors or gets them to reschedule. It is the "little things" that clients rave about, tell their friends and come back for. Below are some things to consider when assessing the experience you provide for your clients.
Assessing Their Experience
Is it easy to reach you on the phone? Do you actually answer your phone or at least, return a call within a few hours? This tiny detail is so critical to a client's happiness, especially in today's fast-paced world. It is easy for a client to just try another number or book with a therapist who calls back first. I recommend routinely checking voice mail and returning calls every two hours. Clients will leave messages if they know you return calls promptly.
Is it easy to find you? And are there clear directions for what they should do once they get there? Not all of us can afford an assistant to greet our clients when they walk through the door. Most of us have clients enter an empty room and wait. That's OK, but what is the atmosphere when they arrive? Is there something to read or clear instructions regarding paperwork? Do you have a sign directing them to the lavatory or to refreshments (water/tea or fruit)? This is precious marketing time and a great opportunity for your clients to read about other modalities you offer, products you sell or the benefits of consistent massage therapy.
I won't address the actual massage, as I feel this is so individual and personal. I am also not a technique coach and don't feel this falls into my area of expertise. That said, you must consider a few things regarding the treatment. Did you provide a place for your client to put their things? A hanger for their jacket? So simple but overlooked and often replaced by just a hook. I don't know about you but I don't like to hang my nice leather jacket on a hook. Is the room warm or cool enough. Nothing turns me off faster than being cold. With inexpensive table warmers, there is no excuse for a client being chilled.
Did you offer a music choice or a lubricant choice? Clients like some choices and control, especially on their dime. This is a joint venture. Include them in the process. You are not "doing a massage" to them; you are entering into a healing session with them. How much are you talking? Rule of thumb: answer a question but don't ask another one. Engage only as much as they want and don't initiate conversation. Silence is really golden and very healing.
What is the last thing that happens when you end a session? Do you ask for feedback? Rather than just ask, "how was your massage?" (which is likely to illicit a vague response), be specific. "Is there anything you liked about your session or anything you would like added next time?" Planting a seed about a "next time" is a powerful message. To that end, do you ask a client to reschedule? Do you offer water/tea or fruit? Do you offer the client any exercises or take-away information? I like to walk my clients out the door, instead of just saying goodbye and having them exit on their own. Somehow the image of me waving goodbye from the front door seems more hospitable and welcoming for their return. Again, simple but many of my clients have commented on it.
An experience means different things to different people. In a sea of massage therapists and with clients becoming more savvy and conscious of where they spend their money, it is imperative to create lasting memories. Look beyond the treatment to what else you offer; and if it is average, work to improve it. Simplicity goes a long way. Still at a loss of what to do? Go get a massage from someplace new. Be a detective and look at all the details of their practice. Does something stand out? If so, replicate it. If not, you at least got a massage and can be the role model for your clients.
Click here for previous articles by Jenn Sommermann, LCMT.
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