resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
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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