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.
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.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.