resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
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 previous articles by David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
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