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Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
August, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 08
Is a Spa Right for You?
By Ann Brown, LMT
Here's what I find inspiring about massage therapists: Many of them enter massage school because they want something unique. They want to live a life that goes beyond cookie-cutter America.They can pick a specialty, learn it and get good at something that resonates with them. They can even tweak their craft a bit, make it theirs and then share what they can do with rest of the world -- on their terms. Many of them want to set their own hours and be accountable to themselves.
Graduating from massage school, they are ready to take on the world and do it their way. So why would a massage therapist go to work in a spa when they can be their own boss? Fast-forward five months after graduation. The therapist is now licensed, has gone through some national testing and is ready to work. They look around and see the other MTs they graduated with entering into private practice in the same market, plus they start counting up the number of established LMT practices.
The Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals estimates 293,531 trained therapists provide massage and bodywork in the United States. According to the ABMP web site, some 50,000 therapists leave the profession each year – a desire for more clients is one of the top three factors they identify as contributing to that attrition.
In the face of competition, a massage therapist might start to wonder if they will make a decent living, so they look at job openings in the local paper and online. A spa is hiring and they think, "Is this what I want?" In my experience, most LMTs who haven't previously worked in a spa will walk into an interview with the same questions and fears:
As you can see, the list is long ... Massage therapists know what they want and they don't want to have to compromise. A lot of therapists carry around pre-conceived notions about working in spas. The spa industry has been stigmatized because it is a business and MTs are afraid of time management constraints and that corporate management will kill what they set out to do in this business – be free to make a difference in the lives of their clients. However, spas are in the same business of wellness that a general massage practice is. The end goal is the same: to positively impact the health and wellbeing of their clients.
One of the things that most LMTs don't know walking into an interview is what they can gain from the support of a spa. As a spa director, I have seen how LMTs can blossom in the right spa setting. One of the main keys to a successful spa career is just that – finding the right setting. Before you even go to your first interview, you should familiarize yourself with the different types of spas, because the benefits and procedures of each can vary greatly.
According to the International Spa Association, the number of spas in the United States totals 20,600 – a number that keeps growing every year. ISPA details seven different kinds of spas: club, cruise ship, day, destination, medical, mineral springs and resort/hotel. Check out the ISPA web site for the basic definitions. Each of these spa types has its own identity that a therapist might connect with. For example, if you have a particular passion for fitness, the club spa may hold an attraction for you. Or maybe a medical setting best fits your experience and expertise. Beyond surface descriptions, however, you should also consider the extra perks that each type offers.
For example, working at a small, privately owned day spa might allow you to keep some of your autonomy, but you are not likely to receive any benefits. At a resort/hotel spa, benefits such as sick days, vacation pay and health insurance are most often included in a full-time employment package, as the spa usually draws upon the HR strength of the larger organization behind it.
With that corporate strength usually comes a few more rules when compared to a small business. At a resort/hotel spa, you will likely be expected to adhere to policies regarding uniforms, non-compete clauses and appearances. You also might be asked to follow specific protocol for each treatment you perform.
Do these rules mean you have sacrificed your ideals and entered into the cookie-cutter massage business? The rules aren't in place because spas want to stifle you. They are there because a specific treatment protocol means the guests know what to expect each time they visit and the spa can more easily maintain standards of quality. Guests don't want to be surprised on the massage table and they are more likely to return to the spa when they are confident they are receiving the same treatment they signed up for every time they visit.
Just because you follow protocol, however, doesn't mean the spa wants you to mindlessly administer a massage. Intent is still the most important factor in making the difference between a so-so massage and a great one – that doesn't change if you are a self-employed operator or a massage therapist at a Ritz-Carlton.
In fact, one of the most notable benefits of working in a spa might be the opportunity you find to improve upon your talents. At a spa, you may be provided with advanced knowledge of specialized modalities that even better equips you to change guests' lives. According to the 2010 ISPA U.S. Spa Industry Study, 52 percent of spas provide paid education/training for their staff. While vendors often provide training, more and more spas are realizing the value of turning to independent organizations for advanced, professional education, and therapists working in a spa setting might find themselves learning from nationally recognized leaders in specific modalities – a level of training an independent massage therapist might find cost-prohibitive.
Spa Montage at The Montage Resort in Laguna Beach, California, is proof of the power of advanced education. Spa Montage therapists participate in a year-long American Spa Education and Certification Council training program to make them among the best in the industry. The proof? The ASTECC education has contributed to Spa Montage's earning Mobil's prestigious Five-Star rating for five consecutive years. If you are a massage therapist who wants to continue to learn and grow, post-graduate educational opportunities might be an important perk in your benefits package.
In addition to the obvious benefit of learning new skills, top-level education through a spa employer is often conducted in a group environment, illustrating the value of a spa's internal support network. By learning hands-on in a group, you are able to see colleagues at work, thereby opening up your perspective and leading to trading for services. Trading between therapists adds to proficiency as you receive good, qualified feedback regarding the modality you have learned from others on your team who are also working at perfecting the treatment.
If you are wondering if a spa is right for you, I encourage you to do your homework. Browse around www.experienceispa.com. Research a spa you might be interested in, and talk with the spa director. Spa directors want you to bring the same passion for massage therapy that you would bring to private practice, and while you might have to make some compromises, you might find that, in the right setting, the support of a spa can help you succeed beyond what you might be able to do on your own. Great partnerships are mutually beneficial!
Ann Brown, a licensed massage therapist, is a member of the International Spa Association's board of directors and serves as spa director at Spa Shiki at The Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, Mo. She also provides management consulting services through Spa Insight Consulting.
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