resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Applauding a Legacy of Leadership
Founding Palmer West President, John Miller, DC, HCD (Hon.), FICA (Hon.), a 1954 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, passed away March 8, 2015 at age 83.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
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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