resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Nectar of Plants: Essential Oils and Chinese Medicine
Essential oils are a very hot topic these days, especially with the likes of the Ebola virus and the resurgence of measles lurking in our awareness, but when I first became interested in Chinese medicine, essential oils weren't on the radar screen for acupuncturists.
The Source-Luo Point Combination
The luo collaterals are part of the acupuncture channel system presented in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu (The Nei Jing). The function and clinical application of the luo mai are primarily presented in chapter 10 of the Ling Shu, however, they are also found in others chapters in the Su Wen and the Ling Shu.
TMF 2015 Scholarships
The Trudy McAlister Foundation (TMF), a nonprofit organization established to support students who are on track to make contributions either to clinical practice and/or to the understanding of the role of Traditional Oriental Medicine, has announced the 2015 scholarship recipients.
Acupuncture in the U.K. Today: A Personal View
When asked to write a short piece on the current state of the U.K. acupuncture profession, my first response was to say it has all been relatively quiet.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Breath: The Movement of Oxygen and Energy
I remember with surprising clarity the first time a patient started crying during an acupuncture treatment I was giving. This is now quite a long time ago, back in 1999, when I was a student.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 2
A talented young woman presented herself with emotional mood swings, which included being nervous, anxious and jittery.
Use Technology to Gain New Patients and Improve Efficiency
From the smartphone in your pocket to your microwave oven, advancements in technology have made almost every aspect of our lives easier.
What Does Success Mean to You?
Recently, I was asked to speak to young, budding businesswomen about running a successful business — and at first I thought, "Me? You want me to speak to others about success?!"
The Year to Make Things Happen
It is hard to believe that the Year of the Ram – 2015 is half over. Time seems to be moving especially fast. This is the year for things to happen for the acupuncture profession.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Acupuncture and the Pulse
In 1991, I attended a martial arts workshop hosted coincidentally by Sung Baek, a martial artist and the head of his lineage as a Korean trained acupuncturist. I was enamored by the details Sung could attain from the pulse, as told to me by some of his apprentices.
How One Little Symbol (#) Gets You More Patients
Are you struggling to get more fans or followers for your acupuncture practice? Or are looking for ways to simply connect with your patients? Or do you just want to know how to keep them engaged (comments, retweeting, liking and sharing)?
Calculating Billable Units
I recently learned of an office that was audited based on the number of acupuncture sessions performed in one day. Is there a maximum number of sessions that can be performed in one day?
The Modern Acupuncturist
You studied ancient Chinese medicine, but I'll bet you don't practice it! Contrary to popular belief, our medicine has evolved A LOT over the years. Let's take a brief walk through history and discover the differences between ancient and modern acupuncturists.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients, in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2 to 4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
May, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 05
The New Internet Marketing Machine
By Stephanie Beck
In 2011, 97% of consumers used online searches when researching products and services. When searching for specific products and services, where do you think these smart savvy shoppers are finding this information? Where are you going to find your IDEAL customers, or any customers for that matter? You have new marketing machines at your disposal and as long as you are using them correctly, they will produce great results.As a massage therapist, you want to focus on what you do best, massaging people. Finding those people doesn't have to be a struggle. Go where your customers are spending time and implement new marketing machines with strategies to get you the results you desire.
Social media and online marketing options keep advancing and it can be difficult to keep up with the changes, let alone trying to figure out which option is right for you. For some, about the time they decided to step into the social media world, all the rules changed; like the recent 180 degree change with Facebook. If you're one of the people late to the social media party, there is a bright side. Instead of trying to catch up with your competition, you now have an even playing field because everyone has to upgrade their technology. The truth is that marketing has shifted from a one-way broadcast to a multi-point conversation and you need to take action to stay competitive.
"Old school" marketing techniques like sending out catalogs, direct mail and Yellow Page ads are losing their effectiveness without additional help from online marketing. According to Yahoo, 92% of all business searchers start looking online, either at home or on their mobile phones. Is your massage business easy to find online by your ideal customers? Are you active in all the places where your ideal customers are hanging out online? Do you have an easy, automated way to follow up with them over time? If not, why not?
Developing A New Online Strategy
Updating your strategy is important. When I started working for a massage manufacturer more than 12 years ago, as part of our distributor criteria we would ask massage businesses inquiring about distributorships to submit a copy of their Yellow Page ad with their application. A few years later, we upgraded by requiring websites and even more changes have been implemented since then. Do you realize that brand new massage business owners entering today's workforce have no idea what a Yellow Pages phone book is? Last week, the Encyclopedia Britannia announced they would no longer be printing any new editions because everything would be accessed online. This isn't just about the newest generation. When today's consumer wants to look something up they grab their phone or computer, not a book.
In 2011, more than 90% of the U.S. population used a cellular phone. Sixty five percent of mobile users said they used their mobile device to find a business to make a purchase. In terms of the types of information mobile users will be looking for via their devices, 31% said they will look for updates on sales and promotions and 27% will look for local store hours and directions. Guess what, a certain percentage of those people are looking for massage. In how many online directories have you listed your massage business? Yelp, City Search, Insider Pages, Merchant Circle, Google Places, Facebook Places and Yahoo Local are great ways to get started and all free. Your strategy for directories is to be complete and be consistent. Make sure you use the same spelling, the same way for all listings. Fill in as much as you can; photos, videos, mission statement, services and anything else they want to know about your business. Finally, ask friends to like and place reviews on these directories and let your customers know where you can be found.
With any social media sites, one great strategy is to always think like the customer. Anticipate their needs and what they will be searching for online. Maybe they are looking for a way to relax, de-stress or seeking information about pain management? Could a massage benefit anyone struggling with stress or pain? Of course, so be smart when it comes to sharing information. Think in terms of how your ideal customers will need help. What kind of answers are your customers and potential customers seeking and how does your service meet those needs? Now pretend you are having a conversation with them, ask questions and share information about solutions without being a commercial about your business. Use the 80/20 rule; 80% educational, 20% promotional. At least once a week, be sure to include a post specifically for a special, promotion, offer, coupon or other reason for potential or current customers to make a purchase now.
Marketing online is no longer just having a website where people can come to find your business. It's about going where your customers are online and connecting with them in those locations. Internet search engines, directories and social media are fast, fuel-burning engines. If you're not delivering something new on a regular basis, you're going to get left on the side of the road by someone else who is. Once you get found, engage with your followers on their terms. Get them to follow you on Twitter, Fan you on Facebook, or subscribe to your YouTube channel. Offer more insightful information, expert perspective, recommendations and news.
The Power Of YouTube
If used effectively, online video is the most powerful way to educate, inform, and build a community of customers and potential customers for your business.
Did you know most consider YouTube to be the second largest search engine? YouTube gets more than 300,000,000 visitors a month who watch more than 2,000,000,000 videos. Consumers go there to look for videos to answer their questions, show them how to do something, or review a product or business. When consumers are searching for information online and given a choice of reading content or watching a video, approximately 56% will choose to watch a video. If you want to use YouTube as a part of your marketing machine, you need to create informational-based videos, not promotional videos. People don't care about your product or service. They care and choose to do business with people who have solutions to problems they need solved. If you are going to create videos, make them about solving problems for your customers and remember to include a clear "call to action" or next step that you want them to take after they watch the video. Also, when you post your video, include in your description a website link or contact information of how viewers are to reach you.
Another avenue for business development is a blog. Did you know there are more than 200,000,000 blogs? People are more likely to visit blogs that align with their interests because blogs are non-selling environments. This should be good news for massage therapists who are not comfortable "selling." Think about it, you have completed several hours of education and attended many continuing education courses. You have more knowledge of the working body than the average consumer. Do you think you can share helpful information about the body or how massage can help the body? If your best friend was suffering from stress, inflammation or other forms of pain, what advice would you share to help them? Does massage help any of these? How? Why? You could probably easily explain in 500 words or less to your best friend how massage can help them. Try that mind set when you think about blogging. Topical blogs and article directories establish authority and credibility for you and your massage business. Wordpress is the most used website with a blog format; you can also use livejournal, Tumblr or Travelpod.
Many Options To Choose From
More than 800,000,000 monthly users of Facebook make this a very powerful part of the new internet marketing machine. The fact that Facebook recently changed their strategy has created an even playing field for all businesses using this tool. The new strategy for Facebook is to visually attract your customers, engage them and converse with them on a regular basis. No drive by postings. Don't post something and walk away for a week. Set it up so your page responses are connected to your e-mail so you can easily respond to anyone who makes a comment or likes your page when you are checking your e-mails. Set aside a specific time to invest in any social media sites and stick to this time.
One of the fastest growing social sites is Google+ and Google+ Pages. Google reported more than 100,000,000 active users within the first year. Facebook took almost 18 months to reach their first 100,000,000 and Google seems to have picked up steam. They offer many features for businesses; you can create circles and your content is indexed quicker since it is owned by Google.
LinkedIn has more than 100,000,000 users monthly. Since this forum is mostly used by professionals, the most powerful strategy is to be part of the discussions. Join groups where your knowledge and services can be applied. Look for discussions with other business owners where you both can benefit. This is also a good way to stay connected with other professionals and organizations within your massage industry. We all need to be connected and sometimes it is best to do that with others that share an understanding of our struggles first hand.
One of the more "up and coming" social sites is Pinterest. This new social site is certainly visually engaging. Businesses and individuals "pin" interesting photos, poems, inspirational quotes, recipes, patterns, and all kinds of information. Have a similar strategy as the new Facebook, use visually engaging photos and share educational information. Although you cannot mention your website, phone or e-mail, you can still share information that will increase your changes of being viewed as an expert and develop trust with potential clients.
Marketing online isn't an option anymore, it's a requirement. It's where your prospects and customers are searching to find businesses they can trust to buy services and get their problems solved. As you build relationships, you will earn their trust and more importantly, earn their business. Continue to engage and follow up. Continue to provide valuable information and continue to make offers 20% of the time. Integrate all the elements of your marketing machine so they amplify each other and are working together to keep your massage business going and growing.
Click here for more information about Stephanie Beck.
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