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Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
9 Common Causes of Thyroid Imbalance and How You Can Help
How you sleep, how easily you wake up, and how much energy and stamina you have during the day are directly related to levels of the thyroid hormones.
MPA Media Wins 7 Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Dynamic Chiropractic and DC Practice Insights, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecedented seven publishing awards by the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
Don't Turn a 2 Into a 10
The Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale1 is so useful because it can be used by almost anyone. Patients can use the numbers associated with the faces depicted on the scale or select the face that demonstrates their current level of pain from 0-10.
Waking Up the Gluteus Maximus
In previous articles in this series, we expounded on the importance of the gluteus maximus (GM) in athletic performance and protecting the knee from injury. We also know there is a link between iliotibial band syndrome and GM weakness.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Pain Underfoot: Metatarsalgia
Foot pain can interfere significantly with normal activities and severely limit participation in sports. Metatarsalgia is foot pain involving the metatarsal bones in the forefoot – the complaint of pain on the bottom of the ball of the foot.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
CCE Finally Takes a "Baby Step" Toward Reform
During a 16-month period from October 2010 to February 2012, I devoted four separate columns to the heavy-handed attempt by the Council on Chiropractic Education to radically change the chiropractic profession through the accreditation process.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
A Vibrating Capsule for Constipation? Relevance to Your Chiropractic Practice
The relationship between gastrointestinal (GI) complaints and back pain is not typically written about or discussed.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
Chiropractic Research in Review
Chiropractic Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis; Cost / Benefit Analysis: Different Doses of SMT for Low Back Pain; Imaging for Occult Rib and Costal Cartilage Fractures; Treating Neck Pain: Thoracic Thrust Manipulation vs. Non-Thrust Mobilization.
Why Young People Need Chiropractic Now More Than Ever
According to a recent study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, "It is now widely acknowledged that neck pain (NP), mid back pain (MBP), and low back pain (LBP) (spinal pain) start early in life and that the lifetime prevalence increases rapidly during adolescence to reach adult levels at the age of 18."
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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