resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
News in Brief
Northwestern Student Honored for Addressing Concussions Head-On; Northwestern Announces New CFO; Life U. to Provide Unique Opportunity.
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.
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.
November, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 11
Unlocking Your Creative Power
Learn how to turn roadblocks into opportunities.
By Tina Dietz and Patrick Ingrassia, LMT
Even if you're living out your dream career as a massage therapist, chances are you've run into some issues. You might be really tired at the end of your day or getting sore while you're working.Maybe you're not making as much money as you'd like. Or maybe you're simply getting bored with the same old routine. The good news is, if you're encountering obstacles like these, you're not alone. Massage therapists face a number of similar problems in their careers that can be grouped into four major categories: boredom, fatigue, injury and income level. The great news is, you have a powerful tool you can use to overcome these four obstacles: creativity.
The first step in discovering solutions to the problems you encounter, whether in your massage practice or in other areas of your life, is to identify the specific problem you are trying to solve. Take some time with a notebook and write down exactly what is getting in your way. You may think you know what the issue is, but in the rush of day-to-day life it's easy to overlook important details that can lead to a better solution. A clear picture of the problem is essential.
After you've detailed the problem, envision an ideal result. What would it look like if this problem were solved? Be sure to capture the details here, too. You know where you are; this shows you where you're going. Once you have these two areas nailed down, it's time to brainstorm. What are some empowering actions you could take to fix this problem? Remember, during brainstorming, there are no wrong answers. Write down whatever comes to mind, no matter how silly it might seem at the time. One of those "silly" solutions just might spark the idea you need.
After you've brainstormed your empowering actions, it's time to choose one to follow through on first. It's important to choose one task to focus your energy on. It's easy to become overwhelmed by both the initial problem and all the great ideas you came up with to solve it. Don't let that become another obstacle! Choose one action, follow through, and then take the next step. If you need to adjust your strategy later, great. Creativity is all about adapting to new circumstances. By taking the time to gain some new perspective on whatever roadblock you're facing, you'll be able to find new ways around it.
Let's tackle the four major issues faced by massage therapists with some unique solutions. One issue that may come as a surprise the first time you experience it is boredom. This is your career, your passion — how could you be bored? But if you're giving the same session over and over again, eventually, it will get boring. How can you inject some creativity and keep your sessions fresh and exciting? Continuing education is one answer. Learning new techniques and modalities will keep your mind engaged and you inspired, so expand your toolbox. Maybe you'll branch off into a new and unexpected direction. Trying something new has a double benefit. You get to enjoy the new technique while also returning to what you knew before with fresh eyes.
Another answer to boredom follows easily from the first one: try mixing and matching different modalities. This will make for interesting massages and prevent you from always giving the same session. Customize sessions to fit your clients' needs. Each client has unique issues that can be solved with different massage tools. Finding the best combination of techniques and modalities to answer your clients' needs can be an interesting and even fun way to exercise your massage skills and your creativity. Your massage practice is about your clients, but it's also about you. One underappreciated area of personal expression in a massage practice is the atmosphere. What choices are you making in terms of decorations, lighting, music and scents in your massage environment? If you have an office, how often are you changing its appearance? Small changes in your surroundings can lead to big changes in your attitude, so consider shaking up your atmosphere when you start to get into a rut.
Maybe you're not bored with your massage practice, but you just don't have enough energy to get through your day. Enter the next major obstacle faced by massage therapists: fatigue. There are two major types of fatigue: physical and mental. Chances are, if you have one, it will lead to the other. When you're seeking creative solutions to physical fatigue, it's time to examine your techniques. Advance your application and knowledge of both body mechanics and ergonomics. Many people don't know the difference between the two. Body mechanics are all about how you use your body, while ergonomics involves the setup of the environment, such as your table height. Physical fatigue can be lessened by finding new techniques that are easier on your body. Get creative in your search—each body is different, so you may need to personalize. Find a friend who doesn't mind being a guinea pig while you experiment with the setup and techniques that work best for you.
Mental fatigue can be combated with creative methods for recharging. You could try taking a series of mini-breaks throughout your day. What feels refreshing for you? A five minute meditation? A quick dose of nature with a stroll outside? Maybe it's something fun, like listening to a comedy station or playing with a slinky. Again, experiment, and see what makes you feel best during your day. It can also be helpful to create a personal ritual you use to center yourself and prepare for a session. Do you feel best lighting a candle, playing a certain type of music, arranging your lotions and linens in a certain way? Do you need a few minutes of quiet, or do you want a chance to be chatty and get the excess energy out of your system? What you need might change from day-to-day, so don't be afraid to be flexible.
Fatigue can lead to injury, so many solutions for injury prevention are similar to the solutions for fatigue. Finding techniques that are easier on your body, as well as the methods that will fulfill your clients' needs better, will prevent injuries, both in the short-term and throughout your career. Also, finding new positions in which to offer massages, as well as using different equipment (tables, chairs, etc), will allow you to deliver more effective massages with less risk of injury. Are you using the same table you got when you were in massage school? Have you ever tried a different one? Have you adjusted the height of your table? Lowering your table will make better use of both gravity and your personal momentum. How about delivering a massage while seated? All of these elements can reduce your risk of injury. If you're not sure where to begin, there are a lot of great continuing education courses out there to help you get started.
Even after you've tackled these major issues, there's one roadblock that stands in the way of many massage therapists who just want to enjoy the career they love: income. At the end of the day, you still have to pay the bills. Fortunately, creativity is even easier to apply to this block than any of the others. It's what makes you stand out from not only your direct competitors (i.e., other massage therapists), but also from your indirect competitors: the other services your clients might spend their money on.
There are many creative ways to advertise and get the word out about your massage business. Have you tried creating a brief video showing off your practice to potential clients and posting it on YouTube? How about holding a contest inviting clients to show "how massage has helped you" on Facebook, and giving away a free session as a prize? You could also use a give-away, such as small tubes of hand lotion with your company information on the labels. Give it some thought and you're sure to come up with interesting ways to get attention for your practice.
There are also many creative solutions for bringing your clients back and making them feel more valued. Why not give away a handout explaining after-care that will help clients to get the most out of their massage? You could try offering clients a little refreshment after a session, such as a cookie, fruit, crackers, or something to drink. Maybe you could create an email-based appointment reminder system that helps clients to get to their scheduled sessions on time, and also reminds them to reschedule with you.
The other side of having a profitable practice is to open up other avenues of income. Why not add the massage chair as a therapeutic modality? Most therapists use the chair for events, and a few do corporate massage, but you can do outcalls, sports settings, trade shows, or even use it in your practice for daytime sessions. No oils are used, and you can provide up to an hour in the chair of therapeutic, full body treatment with the right training.
You can also try using retailing inside your practice as another line of income. For example, you can sell home self-care tools, such as pillows, lotions, aromatherapy kits and such. These methods can be combined: take a massage chair to a convention, art show, or other festival, and at the end of your chair sessions, have the lotion you just used on hand for clients to purchase. That way if they enjoyed the session you gave, they can have a way to "take it home."
There can be a lot of roadblocks to a successful massage career — boredom, fatigue, injury, and income level can be formidable obstacles. But with the application of some creative thinking, you can turn your roadblocks into opportunities. Identify your problem, figure out where you want to be, and then brainstorm the empowering actions that will get you there, one step at a time.
Tina Dietz, Director of Business Development for Nayada, is an educator, counselor and entrepreneur who helps individuals, communities and businesses to grow. She holds a Master of Science in Counseling and Education Development and has created successful high school to college transitional programs for hundreds of local educators.
Patrick Ingrassia, LMT, is a world-renowned massage therapist, teacher and innovator, as well as the founder of the Nayada Institute of Massage and inventor of the BodySaver Method™. Patrick graduated from the Florida School of Massage, earning his Thai Massage teacher certification from the Institute of Thai Massage in Chiang Mai.
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