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Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
March, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 03
Practice Building: Learning to Engage All the Senses
By David Kent, LMT, NCTMB
Patients are constantly evaluating their treatment experience utilizing a multitude of sensory stimuli including sight, hearing, smell and touch. The human senses can influence your patients to upgrade to a series of treatments, purchase additional products, refer others and, in some cases, the amount of your tip.Implementing systems that make your practice standout from your competition are fundamental to insuring success. There are numerous strategies to build your practice by properly engaging the senses of your patients. (See "Getting In Our Patient's Head - Practice Building" MT, January 2011.)
Whether you work performing out-calls, in a spa or in a clinical setting, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Visually, patients can learn a lot about your practice by looking online at your web and social media sites. They can read, see pictures and take a virtual tour of your practice. Make sure you keep posted information up-to-date.
Show patients you use professional grade supplies and equipment that have been designed and tested for the therapy you perform. Selling these professional products like lotions, oils, topical analgesics and exercise balls to your patients will generate additional income that adds to the bottom line. Patients purchase these products for self-care and give them as gifts to family and friends. Your appearance, equipment and facility from the entrance, reception area, hallways, bathrooms and treatment rooms must also be neat and clean.
Postural Analysis photos add a whole new meaning to the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words." Postural analysis photos can be utilized like doctors use X-rays, CAT scans and MRIs to evaluate, educate, design treatment plans and document progress. Smart phones, iPhones, tablets and iPads have a built-in high-resolution camera and screen, making them the perfect postural assessment and education tools. No special software is needed, simply snap a photo and instantly educate patients of the roll their high shoulder or forward head posture plays in perpetuating their pain (Photo 1).
Postural analysis photos are a great visual tool for attracting new clients and selling treatment packages. (See "Practice Building with Postural Analysis" MT, January 2012.) While wall charts are great, mobile therapists use flip charts to educate patients on a number of topics from muscles and bones to myofascial trigger points and the referred pain they produce. (See "Tools to Succeed for Massage Therapists" MT, May 2009.)
Before you begin treatment, review intake forms, listen to your patients subjective complaints, make notes and address their concerns. Check with the patient throughout the treatment session that your pressure is comfortable. (Photo 2) Another component to creating a stress free ambiance is sound or the lack there of. Listening to music wearing headphones while receiving chair massage in a busy location can have a major impact on the patient's experience. Be conscious of the words you speak and the tone in your voice, as they can also affect the patient's experience.
Just like the aroma of freshly baked bread is a powerful trigger causing many to eat, aromatherapy can be used during treatment to stimulate the mind and body to relax. (Photo 4) Essential oils can be used in numerous ways for aromatherapy in oils, lotions, creams, baths, inhalers and vapor diffusers. A moist warm towel is another way of delivering aromatherapy to the face, hands, feet and other parts of the body. Selling aromatherapy products to your patients can be another way of earning additional income.
The skin is rich in sensory receptors that transmit the sensations not only of touch, but also pressure and pain. The last time you touched a hot pot or stubbed your toe, you felt your sense of pain. The goal of treatment is reduce pain, not create it. Continually confirm with the patient during treatment that their positioning and your pressure is comfortable. Only after reviewing the patient's subjective complaints and performing the appropriate objective findings will you be able to determine the most effective treatment techniques to use during the session. Pillows and bolstering systems allow for a wide range of positioning options. Some electric tabletops go a step further when it comes to making patients comfortable with sections that adjust to various angles.
The temperature of multiple items must be monitored and adjusted to ensure patient comfort. The checklist should include the temperature of the: reception and treatment rooms, treatment table, lotions and oils (Photo 4). Remember the temperature of your cold hands can be a very chilling and unpleasant experience for a patient attempting to relax. Many pillows and gel packs are designed for use at various temperatures. Some can be placed in either the freezer and or microwave. These items can also be sold to your patients or included in a package of treatments.
The Bottom Line
Engaging the senses of your patients is a great way to standout from your competition to build your practice. Keep in mind, that how the patient "feels" about their treatment can trigger them to upgrade to a series of treatments, purchase products, refer others, and in some cases the amount of your tip. Make them "feel like a million bucks" and they will share their wealth with you.
Click here for more information about David Kent, LMT, NCTMB.
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