resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 4): Blending Pain Relief With Healthy Aging
Pain relief is still the No. 1 reason patients come to my office. However, most of my patients have other goals as well, such as: "I want to lose 10 to 20 pounds"; "I feel old and want to slow down the aging process"; "My doctor says I am becoming a diabetic and need to exercise"; or "I'm tired and want more energy."
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.
Identify & Adjust the Apex Posterior Sacrum
Low back pain involving an apex posterior sacrum (+θX-axis misalignment) typically presents with signs of lumbosacral joint impingement or facet syndrome.
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.
An Alarming Lack of Accountability
Accountability seems to be a lost quality today. The simple act of taking responsibility and doing the right thing just doesn't happen as often as it should. Maybe it is the litigious nature of our society.
News in Brief
Northwestern Student Honored for Addressing Concussions Head-On; Northwestern Announces New CFO; Life U. to Provide Unique Opportunity.
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?
Let's Streamline Your Front Desk
Your front office can be your greatest source of efficiency or a constant bottleneck. Increasing the productivity of this area without sacrificing the quality of patient interaction can be a little tricky.
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.
F4CP Launches New Social Media Campaign
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has launched a new service to help member doctors: a social media campaign called "Accelerator."
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 Many of Your Patients Have Sarcopenia?
Figure 1 demonstrates the typical appearance of sarcopenia in the paravertebral muscles. Have you considered evaluating your patients for this problem? Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that affects the older population.
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.
Day in the Life of an Advanced-Practice DC
Can you tell us a little about your background in the profession? Why did you want to become a DC? I studied at Boston University from 1968-1972 as a pre-med student majoring in biology.
Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators: 21st Century Inflammation Fighters
Specialized pro-resolving mediators, or SPMs, are a portion of the omega-3 fatty-acid spectrum that have been shown to have a powerful effect on reducing inflammation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Misconceptions & Opportunities With Medicare
As I speak around the country on how to properly document Medicare patient encounters, I get questions regarding opting out of Medicare. There are many misconceptions about opting out of Medicare, including just what it means to opt out.
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.
Excited to Share the Science of Chiropractic: An Interview With Dr. Heidi Haavik
Dr. Heidi Haavik has become known in the circle of chiropractic researchers as not only a rising star, but also one willing to do research that can have a major impact in the scientific world and how chiropractic is perceived.
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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