resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
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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