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It's About the Word
The new patient was already a fan of chiropractic. "I liked the guy a lot," he said of the previous DC he had consulted. "But he is on the other side of town, and I just can't get there after work. So he sent me to you, since you're his buddy."
The Monkey on Your Back
Many practitioners run their clinic without any extra help—at least initially. I've always been pretty good at multi-tasking. Having nine kids taught me how to wear multiple hats and juggle a lot of responsibilities. Running a clinic is similar.
Weaving Eastern & Western Medicine Together: Q&A with Beijing's Dr. Kezhen Zhang
Dr. Kezhen Zhang M.D., is currently the founder and president of Beijing Taijitang Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital.
Dry Needling is Acupuncture: But What of Education? What of Public Safety?
One of my patients told me recently, that their physical therapist used a "dry needle" and that it wasn't acupuncture. Apparently, physical therapists (PT) are taught to tell their patients that "only acupuncturists practice acupuncture."
Protein and Weight Loss
Recently I was asked by the staff at Dynamic Chiropractic to referee some of their water-cooler discussions regarding nutrition. Topping their list was this one about protein and weight loss: "Why is protein important for weight loss and how much should I eat?"
Maintaining Professional Boundaries in a Facebook World: Social Media Guidelines for DCs
A few months ago, I received an unexpected message on my Facebook account: "Hi Doc, do you remember me? I'm so happy to find you here on Facebook. It's been years since I have seen you and I'm glad to reconnect with you.
10 Life Lessons That Will Change the Way You Practice
"What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?" I have posed this question for years to groups I've spoken to across the country and around the world.
Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve Entrapments
The lateral femoral cutaneous nerve arises from the 2nd and 3rd lumbar nerves. It is formed in the psoas muscle and emerges from its lateral border to cross the iliacus muscle and exit the pelvis.
Extraordinary Vessels and Emotional Healing
In addition to the 12 primary Organ-related meridians in the body, there are other energy circulation channels that have been mapped out by Traditional Chinese Medicine. Probably the most significant of these are called the Eight Extraordinary (or Extra) Vessels.
A Solution for the Primary Care Crisis?
A white paper generated by the ACCAHC Primary Care Project and UCLA Center for Health Policy Research Senior Research Scientist, Michael Goldstein, PhD, addresses a clear oversight noted in recent workforce analyses designed to assess the nation's primary care needs.
Chiropractic Care for Veterans: Serving Those Who Served (Pt. 2)
To what extent do you think the role of chiropractors in the VA can serve as a model for greater chiropractic integration elsewhere in the American health care system? That's a very important question.
We Get Letters & E-Mail
The "Great Opportunity" for Chiropractic: Expanded Scope of Practice; The SOAP Note: An Effective Tool for Documentation; Treating Patients Goes Beyond Following Established Protocol.
A Medication Primer for Alternative Health Care Practitioners (Part 2)
Morphine is arguably the greatest drug of all time, at least in the sense that it is so powerful in relieving pain.
Becoming a Concussion Expert in Your Community: What You Need to Know (Part 2)
What makes an individual an expert in concussions? Obtaining education about concussions and treating concussed patients are two factors that lead to expertise.
Obesity is a Shen Problem
The expressions "obese" and "obesity" are not pejorative terms. They are scientific terms, determined solely by the Body Mass Index scale, which combines a person's height and weight in a mathematical formula. A number of 30 and above denotes "obesity."
The Physiology of Anger
Most of us recognize and have felt anger at some point in our lives. Anger can be seen as a natural response to some kind of pain, whether emotional or physical.
News in Brief
In Remembrance: A Moment of Silence for Robin McKenzie (1931-2013); DC Re-Elected to Co-Chair AMA Code Review Board; WFC Celebrates 25 Years.
Treating Rib Joints to Protect Thoracic Stability
It is an exciting world that awaits us when we go to work every day. We deal with all types of people who present with varying health conditions we can (hopefully) help alleviate.
Three Essential Herbal Products For Your First-Aid Kit
There are three Chinese patent medicines that belong in everyone's first aid kit. All three are for topical application, and all three provide extraordinary benefits unavailable from any domestic over-the-counter.
Beauty is Averageness
After seeing Kim Kardashian's face all over the Internet -and my inbox- following her posting on getting facial acupuncture, I recalled the work of Michael Cunningham who was at the University of Louisville when I was doing my doctoral work.
Healing the Qi: The Boston Marathon Bombing
On Monday, April 15 2013, locals and visitors from around the globe gathered for the world's largest marathon in the city of Boston. With 23,000 participating in the race and many more on the sidelines, the marathon represents a Boston institution.
Keeping Up With Western Medicine Advancements: The Amazing World of Imaging Studies
When patients with neuromuscular problems come to you for treatment there is usually a lot you can do for them to improve their mobility or reduce their pain, whether it is a middle age woman with a frozen shoulder.
If you visit the website of the JAMA and search on the word chiropractic, more than 200 results appear. If you sort that list chronologically and look at the oldest entry, you will find "Medical News" that includes the following.
Pre-Conception Wellness: What Do Your Patients Need to Know?
Deciding to have a baby is one of the most important decisions a woman will ever make. But how many women are really prepared for a healthy pregnancy?
Study: Acupuncture for Acute Low Back Pain More Effective Than Drugs
New research by Korean doctors of Oriental Medicine suggested that an acupuncture method could reduce acute lower back pain faster and more effectively than conventional drug injections.
July, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 07
Five Ways To Create a Winning Relationship With Chiropractors
By Debbie Roberts, LMT
There I was, fresh out of massage school, working alongside chiropractors and physical therapists as the only LMT in a professional medical office. I remember working my tail off for $9.50 an hour in those early years. But I didn't mind the long hours and low pay at all because I was so happy to be doing the rehabilitation work I loved.
I've always enjoyed working side by side with chiropractors. Over the years, I've worked with nearly a dozen different chiropractors, each with their own specialty and their own way of treating the body. And with each one, I gained experience, knowledge and a lot of respect for the profession. This relationship with chiropractors has given me a valuable resource for information and referrals. In fact, one of the reasons I'm able to enjoy such a successful practice today is because of developing and maintaining these relationships.
Now, 14 years later, I still have a deep respect for the relationship between chiropractic and massage therapy. So, why is this relationship so historically contentious? I got a glimpse of the real issues when I had the honor of speaking at the Florida Chiropractic Association National Conference. With my background in a chiropractor's office, I'm always curious about what soft tissue modalities chiropractors are recommending. And I always like to ask their views about working with massage therapists. Not surprisingly, the results were a mixed bag. About 50% of the chiropractors I spoke with believe so strongly that bone manipulation is the answer that they dismiss massage therapy as a form of treatment altogether.
This isn't something massage therapists should take personally. In most cases, the chiropractor in question simply attended a school where soft-tissue work was not part of the protocol. The good news is, this is more of an old-school approach that is rapidly changing. The other 50% of chiropractors believe in the benefits of blending these two modalities to improve client outcomes. Yet even among these, there was a palpable hesitation around working with massage therapists, and an outright pessimism around hiring therapists to work in-house.
Unfortunately, when there is a divide between our two modalities, everyone suffers. Clients aren't getting the best outcomes, chiropractors aren't getting much needed support, and massage therapists aren't getting enough clients. So, here are the top five reasons chiropractors don't hire massage therapists and the simple strategies you can use to build a successful professional relationship with a chiropractor.
Although a chiropractor may believe in the benefits of massage therapy in theory, they've seen mixed client outcomes working with therapists. The solution is to hone your skills as a therapist. There are a lot of modalities out there. If you want to work with chiropractors, be sure to pick the ones that match this field most closely. Choose grounded anatomy courses first before more Eastern types of therapies. Many therapists believe that learning just one more modality or technique will give them an edge. This often comes at the expense of true mastery in any area. Here's a tip: Chiropractors aren't looking for the therapists with the most tools in their toolkit. They're looking for the therapists who know how to use the tools they have masterfully. And don't forget your anatomy!
Far too many chiropractors I spoke with felt therapists sometimes undermined their treatment plans. Here's what one chiropractor shared with me, "I hired a massage therapist because I knew patients would benefit from having soft tissue manipulation, but once I gave the referral, the patients stopped coming for chiropractic treatment. I found out that the therapist was even seeing patients in her home." When I asked the doctor if he would consider having another massage therapist in his office, he just shook his head, "Why should I hire another therapist, it doesn't benefit our office in the least." The solution is to show professional courtesy. When you go into an arrangement with a complimentary colleague, show that colleague the professional courtesy and respect they deserve. Honor not only the letter but the spirit of the agreement you've entered into and work as a unit for the benefit of your shared patient.
As massage therapists, we don't like things to feel too "clinical." We like for people to be relaxed and at ease. We love soft lights, beautiful aromas and enchanting melodies. But if you are brought in to work in a professional medical office, you've got to act the part. Here's what one chiropractor had to say about her recent experience with a massage therapist, "My husband and I were just getting our office started and thought it might be a good idea to have a massage therapist join us. We gave her a room and a very small rent, and she turned the room into a dark lit room with candles and incense. She came in poorly dressed and then one by one talked our clients out of chiropractic. We believe in soft tissue work, but the therapists really seem like they are on another planet. I mean once we gave her a place to work the relationship immediately changed. It was like we were the enemy."
The solution is to dress and behave like a valued part of their professional team. In the medical community that means being well dressed and well groomed. Don't transform your treatment room into a dungeon or burn incense that could bother other patients. Don't come in smelling like cigarette smoke. If you have tattoos, keep them covered. And don't ever undermine the physician that gives you the job or referral. Renting within an established space is like living under Mom and Dad's roof; you've got to respect their boundaries.
Without advanced degrees to our credit, it's sometimes hard for massage therapists to gain acknowledgement and respect from chiropractors and other members of the medical community. But that doesn't mean we can't play an important role in treating patients. The solution is to establish mutually beneficial relationships by letting everyone do what they do best. Chiropractors have the ability to run tests and determine a diagnosis for the patient. This diagnosis informs the treatment plan and allows therapists to achieve even better results for our clients because we know more about their condition.
This is a win-win-win. You get a new patient, the patient gets better and the doctor has a valuable therapeutic resource to offer his or her patients. The more the chiropractor trusts you and sees the results in the work you're doing, the more work he or she will gladly send your way.
I've had countless conversations with massage therapists complaining that chiropractors don't pay well enough. Many feel that the percentage is too low. Some even told me they thought chiropractors were making too much money off of their labor. We all deserve to be treated and paid fairly. And as a talented massage therapist, you should absolutely negotiate a fair agreement that you can feel good about. But there is one issue that massage therapists who feel that they're not being treated fairly often overlook or underestimate. And that is overhead. As a spa owner myself, I can tell you firsthand that this is something I always underestimated when I worked for others. But between rent, lights, laundry, insurance, taxes, marketing and the occasional "unexpected" expense, overhead can easily eat up to 90% of your profits. (No kidding!)
The solution is to negotiate a fair agreement for yourself and never complain or speak negatively about your compensation, especially in front of clients. If you feel that the agreement you have now isn't fair, ask to speak to the chiropractor about it. Set up a meeting to review your compensation. But keep the money talk confidential. Too much chatter about money, and too much complaining in general, will get you fired, let go or downsized. So don't do it.
Here's the bottom line: There's no doubt that when massage therapists and chiropractors work together everyone benefits. Use these tips to help you create mutually beneficial relationships based on professionalism, loyalty and trust. The results will be well worth it!
Click here for more information about Debbie Roberts, LMT.
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