resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
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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