resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
April, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 04
Your Backup Plan: When Life Interrupts Your Practice
By Jenn Sommermann, LCMT
Being a massage therapist is physical. I don't have to tell you that in order to do this work well, it takes a strong body, a clear mind and endurance. Even if you only practice part time, you must inhabit a high state of health to care for your clients.Of course, there are differences, i.e., you travel with your table, perform sports massage, have to work around a hospital bed with less than optimal ergonomics or have a private practice where clients come to you.
I am not referring to any particular type of practice but am speaking in general. You must have a certain level of fitness to be a massage therapist. I often joke that I am in the best shape of my life and it is because I have been a massage therapist for almost 20 years.
But then life happens. Sometimes you get sick. Sometimes you get injured. Sometimes you have emotional issues that leave you less than grounded and present for your clients. It isn't realistic to think that you can be strong, sound and able, year after year, client after client, without interruption. If you have practiced for any length of time, this issue may have already occurred. The question is what to do about it so that you can maintain your practice, your income and your reputation.
One morning this winter, I woke up injured. The distal joint of my fifth finger on my right hand was bent at 90 degrees. I have come to learn it is called a "mallet finger". There was no injury or trauma; I simply woke up with a crooked finger. As I make a portion of my living with my hands, I panicked and rushed to a hand surgeon. He told me this is a common injury and probably occurred while pulling up the sheets in bed. Really? Didn't I just say I was in the best shape of my life? How on earth could this happen? After consoling me, I was put in a splint to be worn 24/7 for eight weeks.
As of this writing, I am still splinted and hoping for a positive outcome. Surgery is the next option and one I don't care to bring into consciousness. And then the reality sets in: I am impaired. I cannot use one of my fingers and moreover, need to keep it out of the way of the other fingers. How will this affect my work? Can I work? I asked the doctor. He merely stated, "Try it and see how you feel". I hated this answer but realized he couldn't say anything else.
I decided to take the first week off to heal and come up with a plan. There are options when you are sick or injured and it is important to consider them, even before you need them. A backup plan is one you hope you will never need to use but is good to have ready, just in case. A backup plan for a massage therapist may include:
It should be noted that there is always a risk if you stop seeing your clients for a period of time (either because you took a break or referred them elsewhere) that they may not come back to you when you are able to work again. I truly believe there is enough work to go around and chances are if the relationship is well-established, it can survive a hiatus until you return. That being said, the risk is real and must be considered.
Once the options are weighed, implement your decision. Remember if the decision does not work out, you can change your mind. For example, if you find that you cannot work with the injury or illness, inform your clients immediately so they can seek care elsewhere. It really is OK to change the plan. Your health is paramount and if you don't take care of yourself, how are you to take care of others when you are well again?
I am back to work again. My finger is splinted and bandaged. I have also chosen to wear finger cots that are changed between clients. For the most part, I keep my finger out of the way of the other nine but it occasionally comes along for the ride. I have adapted; the first few massages were shaky. Most of my clients have no idea that anything is wrong with my finger. I am not trying to hide it and if they "see" it, I tell them. But I don't want it to be the focus. The care is about them and I want to focus on them.
Whatever ails you, be it physical, emotional or spiritual, your work can be impacted. If it is too much of a burden, you may need to consider options. A backup plan is a good thing to have in place. My wish for you is that you never need to call on a backup plan. But in case you do, you'll be glad you planned ahead.
Click here for previous articles by Jenn Sommermann, LCMT.
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