resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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?
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
November, 2009, Vol. 9, Issue 11
Practice Building: Taking Your Massage Practice to the Next Level
By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB
Many massage therapists are frustrated by how the current economic situation has affected their practice. They are having difficulty making ends meet while trying to find or maintain continuous employment. While most massage therapists love their chosen profession, many doubt their ability to sustain themselves financially in the field over the long term.
Sound familiar? There is hope! There are proven strategies to create an effective plan of action that will help you build a rewarding and financially lucrative career as a massage therapist. It starts with asking some vital questions and then using the answers to help focus your time and efforts in ways that produce positive results.
Clarify Your Goals
Free your mind by capturing your thoughts on paper. This will help you get organized and focused. Start by writing your goals, followed by the actions you need to take to achieve them. Be as specific as possible. For example, don't set a general goal: "I want to make more money." Instead, set a specific goal: "I want to make $10,000 more this year." Another general goal would be "I want to have a more regular treatment schedule," but a specific goal would be "I want to treat my clients on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and on Tuesday and Thursday from 1:00 pm to 7 p.m."
Create an Action List
Once you have specifically defined your goals, you will have a clearer idea of the questions you need to ask yourself to determine the actions you need to take to achieve them. Think about the following questions and answers related to increasing your income.
Question: What businesses in my area could also be referral sources?
Answer: First make a list of potential sources in your area. Depending on the modalities you practice, these could include chiropractors, physicians, physical therapists and health care providers; professional office complexes; health food stores; hotels; gyms; and hair and nail salons. After you have created a viable list, hit the ground running. Schedule an appointment, call or simply pop in for a visit to introduce yourself and explain what you do, how you can help and how to schedule an appointment.
Question: How can I educate my clients so they see progress quickly and become raving fans that refer their friends, family and coworkers?
Answer: Take a few minutes to perform a full evaluation, provide education and develop a customized treatment plan to meet each client's specific needs. Taking such measures will gain your clients' respect and confidence, earning you a reputation as a knowledgeable and skilled massage therapist. Integrate postural analysis photos and trigger-point charts into your treatment plans so that your clients will understand why they hurt and how you can help. Encourage your clients to commit to a series of treatments that will reduce and/or eliminate their pain. Other articles I have written on this topic include: Getting Comfortable with Postural Analysis (MT July 2008), Simple Answers Create Positive Results (MT May 2008) and Charting Your Progress: Visuals for Success (MT February 2008).
Question: Which clients and referral sources should I focus on to increase my income?
Answer: Typically, 20 percent of clients will produce 80 percent of your income and/or 20 percent of your referral sources will send you 80 percent of your clients. I have written several articles on this topic: The 80/20 Rule: Maximizing the Return on your Investment (MT March 2008).
Question: How can I ensure that my clients will come back to see me?
Answer: Nurture your relationships with your clients by making follow-up phone calls, sending "thank you" cards, offering treatment specials and showing a genuine concern for their overall health and well-being. Another article I have written on this topic: Building Raving Fans: Consistency is the Key (MT April 2008).
Question: What products can I sell to generate additional income?
Answer: Items like topical analgesics are popular with the public and have a 50 percent markup. It is important to realize that making just an extra $20 a week in profit from selling topical analgesics adds up to more than $1,000 in your pocket at the end of the year. One manufacturer will send therapists complimentary brochures printed with the therapist's name and phone number, as well as a sample of the product attached. This saves valuable advertising dollars while helping to promote your business.
Question: Who has the experience, resources and track record to help mentor and guide me?
Answer: It is very important to keep up on the current research in the field, as well as become familiar with the industry's movers and shakers. Continue reading professional trade publications such as Massage Today. Seek mentors who provide an array of resources to help you grow your practice, such as seminars and home-study programs, online resources, and products. For tips on designing empowering questions to help clarify your goals and determine the actions you need to take to get there, read The Power of the List (MT January 2008).
Once you have listed specific goals and the actions you need to take to achieve them, the next step is to create a timeline for completing each action. The word syntax involves the arrangement of parts or elements. The order of these parts or elements determines the outcome. For example, a phone number is a form of syntax. It consists of a series of digits in a specific order (area code + phone number). To call a specific person, it is necessary to dial all of the digits in the correct order or your call will not be successful. The same concept applies to your practice. There is a syntax, or order, in which you must complete each action to achieve your goals.
Question: What is my timeline to perform each action so I achieve my goals?
Answer: Write each step you need to complete on a calendar on the date you plan to start the task and the day you intend to complete the task. Be sure to schedule a date and time for each action. Plan a day to research online and then drive around to become familiar with the local businesses in your target area. Plan another day to write and practice what you will show and tell referral sources and potential clients about your services. I always carry a trigger-point flip chart with me so that I can show people that I understand their pain and that I can help. Be familiar with your charts so that you are able to quickly show pain patterns. Schedule several days to hit the streets to market your business.
Take a few minutes every day to work on attaining your goals. To succeed, you must consistently write down your goals and the actions necessary to achieve them. Then you must frequently review your action list and follow through. Each day, ask yourself: What are three items on my action list that I could work on today to help build my practice? Other articles I have written on this topic include: The Power of a Minute (MT June 2007), Consistency Breeds Success (MT February 2009) and Hire Me! Getting a Job in a Tough Environment (MT April 2009).
I hope this article has stimulated a few ideas and provided the motivation for you to focus your time and efforts in ways that will take your practice to the next level.
Click here for more information about David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
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