resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
It might have been a miserable start to the day in the heart of downtown San Diego. A heavy rain had soaked the large homeless population congregating near the intersection of Third Avenue and Ash Street as they waited for a free breakfast to be served at the First Lutheran Church on the corner.
News in Brief
An Encouraging Sign at Palmer; NBCE Announces Retirement of Longtime Director of Testing.
The CDC came out with a report in March 2013 that suggests 1 in 50 children will be diagnosed somewhere on the autism spectrum – significantly higher than the 1 in 86 figure that came out in 2007. What does this mean moving forward, particularly for children?
Are You Really a Healthy Eater?
I always giggle a little bit (to myself) when someone comes into my office and informs me that they are a healthy eater. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean they eat sugar in moderation? And what's that, exactly?
Acupuncture and Homeopathy: Bioenergetic Brothers
Acupuncture and homeopathy share an important healing principle: bioenergetics. "Bio" means "life," so bioenergetics is literally "life energy."
Unlevel Pelvis in the High-School Athlete: Exploring Causes and Effects
The unlevel pelvis is all too common in the high-school athlete and if not detected, will likely cause a lifetime of musculoskeletal issues. Any provider who doesn't look for this common finding is missing critical information.
Finding Balance in the Clinic
This past December, I celebrated 11 years in practice. I seriously don't know where the time went. I feel beyond blessed and grateful to be practicing our profound and beautiful medicine and to be helping guide my patients restore a state of optimal health.
Put the Social Back Into Social Media
Social media is more than a passing fad, it is definitely here to stay. Social media apps and channels of distribution may evolve, but the concept of social media is now big business and a part of all our lives.
Case Histories from Bali: Treating Balinese Chidren with TCB and Shonishin
When I moved to the island of Bali in 2005, I offered my services in Bumi Sehat, which means Healthy Mother Earth, a free birthing center for poor and disadvantaged local women located in Ubud.
Cell Health (Part 2)
Dr. Barsten, your book is about restoring "cell vitality." Can you briefly define the term? Cell vitality is more than the mere absence of symptoms or pathology, but optimum structural, physiological and energetic health.
The Conscious Evolution of Healing, Part 2
The idea of transmission is very important in the Chinese medical classics. According to author Claude Larre, the ancient Chinese were highly interested in the connection between things. Nothing was looked at as an isolated entity.
Let's Speak With One Voice in 2015
For the longest time, the chiropractic profession has attempted to achieve some form of unity. On a political level, this was characterized by an ultimately unsuccessful two-year merger effort between ACA and ICA leadership from 1986-1988.
Mind-Body in Motion
A central goal of low back pain treatment involves the correction of dysfunctional movement patterns believed to be responsible for spinal overload.
Old TCM Sayings: Treat the Front to Treat the Back
Chinese medicine college was, and always will be, a memorable time. It was a time of massive personal and professional growth.
Connecting the Dots
In 2002, I published a book on patient examination procedures that included information on the procedural coding of the recommended examinations. The book should have been published in 2000, but I had trouble finding a publisher. Why?
Help Your Parents Stay Engaged
As much as parents may wish it were so, children do not come with an instruction manual. There's no "how to" that can be followed and no two children are alike, so what works with one generally won't work with the next.
Reflections: The Art of Teaching Asian Medicine
Over the past three decades, my global workshops have been translated into German, Swiss German, French, Romansch, Spanish, Lithuanian and Xhosa. Time to offer you new teachers a few tips!
Leaving Footprints on Capitol Hill: Tribute to Dr. Kenneth Luedtke (1930-2014)
It was with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Dr. Ken Luedtke.
The Top Seven Website Mistakes Clinics Make
The majority of acupuncture clinics finally have a website for their business. Having a website is crucial for being found online through Google, Facebook and review sites like Yelp.
Neuroscience: Where Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine Can Come Together
The recent advances in neuroscience are truly incredible. With this expansion of scientific knowledge, I would like to see even more research into the neuroscientific basic of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine.
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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