resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
July, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 07
The Initial Treatment: Generating Thousands to Your Practice
By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB
After nearly two decades of owning a clinic, managing therapists and treating patients to this day, I have learned to never underestimate the potential income of a new client, when their initial treatment includes the appropriate education.A client who is well-educated on the tremendous benefits of consistent massage will more than likely become a regular client. And potentially, after an initial treatment, one client can generate tens of thousands of dollars to your practice.
In the early 1990s, a client was referred to my clinic with symptoms of pain and restricted range-of-motion (ROM) in their neck and low back. During that initial treatment, I provided pain relief along with education to help the client understand why he was in pain and how continued treatments would help improve his quality of life. To this day, that same patient spends hundreds of dollars in monthly self-care treatments when he visits Florida. This adds up to thousands of dollars annually, and tens of thousands of dollars since his initial visit.
Whether you work for yourself or someone else, the initial treatment often determines the number of future appointments scheduled, the purchases of other products or services, future referrals and possibly the amount of your gratuity or bonus. This article will cover various ways to educate patients during their initial treatment to build your practice and attract patients who will spend tens of thousands of dollars.
During the initial treatment the patient is evaluating whether they should invest future time and money on more treatments. Since you only get one chance to make a good first impression, make it count. Start by being thorough and have clients complete health intake and pain intensity scale forms to document their past and current conditions. On a diagram of the body have the patient shade the areas that hurt, indicate the pain type (e.g. aching, dull) and intensity (0 = no pain / 10 = excruciating pain) they are experiencing. (Fig. 1)
These essential forms will help the patient to clarify and the therapist to quickly understand: When the pain started and what may have caused it? What has been tried in the past for relief and the results? Do they believe the condition is temporary or permanent? What movements aggravate the pain? If there has been a medical diagnosis: when, by whom, and what tests or imaging were performed? What activities of daily living (ADL) is this pain effecting and how has the pain modified those activities? What are their goals for today's treatment? (Read "Questions with Direction" MT, September 2008.)
Clients should feel confident that you understand the origin of their pain and have the information needed to implement an effective treatment. It only takes a few minutes to ask clarifying questions regarding information on their intake forms, check range-of-motion, perform prudent orthopedic assessments and take postural analysis photos.
Postural analysis grid charts make it easy for clients to see asymmetries of the body. While large charts are appropriate to hang on a wall, digital versions of charts are perfect for when wall space is limited or when you perform outcalls. And along with the digital age we live comes various digital applications to choose from. I show patients the correlation between their posture and their pain by using the screen on my cell phone. (Fig. 2) (Read "Getting Comfortable With Posture Analysis" MT, July 2008.)
A muscle movement chart allows you to immediately identify the muscles causing their postural distortions, limited range-of-motion and pain. This chart lists the muscles that shorten and contract producing movement in every joint of the body so you can breakdown any postural pattern. It also allows you to confirm the normal degrees of range-of-motion for each joint.
Review the trigger point (TrP) referral patterns that mimic their symptoms. If a client reports they have headaches that start in the temple or behind the eye, which then radiates behind the ear and into the neck, they are describing the referral pain pattern for TrP #1 in the trapezius muscle. This is one of the most common TrPs found in the body. Showing clients their pattern on a trigger point chart lets them know you understand the pain and have a plan to help. (Fig. 3)
Portable trigger point flip charts provide a professional presentation in any environment and are easily moved from one location and/or treatment room to another. The best flip charts on the market have laminated pages to prevent oils and lotions from damaging them. Note: Look for chart systems that are logically designed, easy to use and includes a muscle movement chart. (Fig. 4) (Read "Tools to Succeed for Massage Therapists" MT, May 2009.)
Training and Treatment
A solid knowledge of anatomy is key to delivering effective hands-on treatment techniques. Dissection seminars are the ultimate learning experience allowing you to see, touch and understand every tissue of the body. Attending this level of education sets you apart from other therapists. Physicians and other health care providers in your area will respect this level of study and be more willing to refer. Your therapist bio should be updated to reflect your advanced trainings. Certificates should be placed in your reception area, treatment room and/or your Web site.
Homestudy DVD programs are excellent support tools. The best dollar valued programs cost more; however, they come with accompanying photo manuals. This allows you to watch the DVD while reviewing your manual. Some systems include cross-referencing to trigger point, muscle movement and other charts.
Review and Recommend
Upon completion of the treatment, explain that it makes sense to you that they felt the aches, pains and symptoms that caused them to seek your services. Share that during the treatment you palpated the muscles, assessing and confirming your other objective findings. Review very briefly their postural analysis photos, correlating the photos to their pain intensity scale and trigger points that were identified during the treatment. Conclude your treatment with a few tips and recommendations to help them avoid this pain from returning. Show them stretches, the proper use of ice, and the ergonomic modification to be integrated into their daily routine. Now that they feel the relief of one treatment, explain that a series of four, six or more would provide much greater benefit. This is the time to explain the specials or packages that would be best for them.
Clients also realize we have extensive experience using various creams, lotions and topical analgesics. They respect our judgment and purchase the same products we use during their treatment as gifts for themselves, family or friends. Most products have a 50 percent markup and can add significantly to your annual bottom line without requiring you to perform any additional hours of therapy.
Never underestimate the future potential income a new client can generate. Be proactive and prepared by investing today for the tools and knowledge you need to educate yourself and your clients. Before you can expect clients to make a large long-term financial investment in your treatments, you must show and tell them all the reasons this is a wise and worthwhile investment. Integrating the proper patient education into your initial treatment can reap patients that spend tens of thousands of dollars with you over the years.
Good luck and please let me know about your experiences in the treatment room.
Click here for more information about David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
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