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Musculoskeletal Disorders Take Center Stage
Looking for the latest on the musculoskeletal pain epidemic and the increasing premium placed on preventive strategies including chiropractic? Check out The Impact of Musculoskeletal Disorders on Americans – Opportunities for Action.
How to Find and Fix TL Nerve Impingements
The thoracolumbar junction (TLJ) and the peripheral sensory nerves that exit from it are frequent, important and rarely recognized sources of lower back, pelvic and hip pain. Let's outline a clear exam protocol for diagnosing the problem.
Building Relationships and Referral Networks with Allopathic Practitioners
Dr. Doug, an orthopedist of 20 years, had heard stories from patients who tried acupuncture. While he was able to address many of their complaints effectively, some appeared to gain additional benefit when their care included TCM.
NCCAOM Launches New Membership Organization
The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recently launched a new national membership organization, the NCCAOM Academy of Diplomates.
The Rest of the Patient Story
I've written previously about allowing a patient to tell you their story – about taking the time to listen and engage all the aspects of their case history, the injury in question, and the related issues.
Transparency is Key at ASA First Annual Meeting
On March 4th and 5th the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) held a successful first annual meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Business Lesson #1: Adapt or Else
My wife and I recently enjoyed an excellent meal at a restaurant recommended by some friends. We often have concerns about restaurant recommendations, as many have been disappointing.
The IME System: A Current Public Health Risk and Solutions That Are Working
I strongly believe in the independent medical examination (IME) system. There are far too many doctors in every profession who are not following E&M protocols and never claim MMI (maximum medical improvement) has occurred for their patients, which has caused financial stress for many private and public carriers.
Constructing Our Reality: The Primary Channels and Perception, Part 1
My favorite topic of discussion within Chinese medicine is the acupuncture channel systems. First of all, each of us have them. They are part of our bodies; not something external to us. To learn about the acupuncture channels is to learn about ourselves.
News in Brief
A Moment of Silence for Dr. Stephen Press; New ACA President Elected; F4CP Offers New MemBership Benefit.
The Value of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Prevention and Adjunctive Treatment
Although melatonin (MLT) is best known for its sleep-aid properties and as a natural remedy to prevent jet lag, extensive experimental studies suggest it possesses anticancer activity through several biological mechanisms.
Essentials of Assessment: The Squat
The squat is a simple, fast and functional tool to evaluate patient symmetry and function. As simple and easy as it is to implement, it can yield considerable amounts of valuable, clinically relevant information.
Filling the Gap: The Role of Alternative Practitioners in a Broken Health Care System
I have been asked many times what got me into alternative medicine. My answer is simple: I want to truly help and make a difference in people's health.
The Power of Eccentric Exercise: Hamstring Injury Prevention and Rehab
For almost 20 years, I've worked with professional athletes who make a living by running really fast. It goes without saying that hamstring injury (HSI) prevention and rehabilitation is a big part of what they expect from a sports chiropractor.
Roots in the Community, Branches Far Beyond
The Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine (JTS) was founded in 1998 by Sean Christian Marshall in Sugar Grove, North Carolina, a small community near Boone in the state's westernmost mountains.
Recording and Appropriate Billing of Timed Physical Medicine Services
There is a common misunderstanding about timed therapy services and although you do have some knowledge of timed service documentation, based on your comment on the 8-minute rule, your understanding is correct, but incomplete.
Energy: For Life and For Death
Energy is a deep topic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi is understood to underlie all of existence, animated or not, and the qi of the living is studied with special attention.
Vitamin D Fails to Help Knee OA? The Proper Perspective
The March 8, 2016 issue of JAMA includes a study about vitamin D supplementation for osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a really weird study.
An Interview with Amanda Shayle
JW: Can you share with us some of your history and how you became an acupuncturist? What did you do prior to becoming an acupuncturist? Where did you go to school?
The Art of Listening
One of the most important clinical concepts for me was voiced by the legendary physician William Osler. "Listen to your patient, he/she is telling you the diagnosis." After treating literally thousands of patients, it can become almost second nature to quickly discover clues which reveal the underlying diagnosis.
Health and Wellness Partnership
Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and The Wellness Center at the LAC + USC Historic General Hospital recently joined forces to extend care to the residents of Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.
Asking Patients the Right Questions
When was the last time you asked a patient a question? Maybe 30 seconds ago? But, are you asking the right questions to elicit valuable and useful information? As a healthcare provider, you've likely spent hundreds of hours learning to ask the right questions to gather critical health information from your patients.
February, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 02
Help Clients Understand the Value of Unique, Signature Treatments
By Ann Brown, LMT
The unique selling point is a basic element of establishing your business. So, what's your unique selling point? How do you differentiate your massage business from the one down the street? Spas often find the answer in exotic treatments.From gold body masks to caviar facials, spas strive to offer the most unique and luxurious therapies to catch prospective guests' attention. So, with all the fancy therapies available, why is the Swedish massage still the most popular treatment on the menu? Because it's reliable. A treatment that guests trust.
Spa guests on vacation are more likely to try something new than local massage therapy clients, but Swedish massage remains number one on spa menus. In today's tough economy, spa and massage clients alike want to know what they are getting for their money. They want a treatment they know will be consistent with their past experiences, one that is a safe choice. Swedish massage fits the bill, particularly for newcomers to massage or spa therapy.
Exotic treatments catch attention, but they can be hard sells for first-time clients. In any business, it is good to sell your point of differentiation, but you have to keep your uniqueness in perspective and understand that the treatments you showcase aren't always your most popular. In the spa or massage industry, sometimes treatments are so exotic, they are a very hard sell for a first-time spa guest.
This challenge doesn't mean you turn away from differentiating your treatment menu. You do need to develop your services to reflect your distinctive passions for therapy, your education or even your heritage. By doing so, you create a more interesting, engaging business for your client to connect with and a more diverse service offering to keep your clients coming back for more. Just remember that, when offering a service that is not as mainstream as Swedish, you have a learning curve to address with your clients.
At the spa, we find that many guests are more likely to try something new when they understand the treatment. When they are educated about the treatment's benefits and know the treatment will meet their expectations, we lessen the unknown factor for them. When a client calls in for an appointment, you have the opportunity of conversation to up sell them from a Swedish massage into another treatment, but the phone is very rarely the prospective client's first point of contact with your business. The treatment descriptions on your web site and printed menu are key in educating the client on your more unique services.
Strive to create meaningful treatment descriptions that are both therapeutic and benefits-oriented. You want the client to feel the treatment on the surface and understand the benefits that lie beneath. Conveying this balanced, benefits-oriented modality doesn't stop with the description. It also must resonate with the practitioner or massage therapist performing the therapy. Your staff must believe 100 percent in the treatment/modality and feel confident in their training and certification, that they are qualified to deliver this exceptional, health-impacting experience.
If you offer a distinct, unusual treatment on your menu, you must make sure as many of your staff as possible are qualified to perform it. I have seen countless times where a spa has a very unique, "signature" treatment and only one or two therapists are certified to perform it. If those therapists are already booked for other appointments, or have the day off, the spa has to turn down the guest's request for their signature treatment. It doesn't matter if the spa is small (up to five treatment rooms) or very large (30 or more treatment rooms), if they can't deliver the promise they have established in their signature spa experience, the client is let down because their expectations are not met. Under-delivering is not a good beginning of a relationship. The potential guest does not usually rebook and it's not a great reflection on the spa/massage industry in general.
It is imperative that you have trained/qualified/certified staff to perform your signature treatment(s). Make sure they are knowledgeable about the description and the outcome of the treatment. Equip them with some home strategies to share with the client, to show how to keep the treatment benefits working for them at home. Clients should be leaving with homework or follow-up – show them you truly care that they continue on their path of wellness and prevention. This reaching out beyond the massage table is a very good opportunity to try and schedule a client's next appointment, re-booking a treatment that may be tailored to their specific needs or in line with their goals of stress reduction, muscle tension relief or any specific challenge that a massage/treatment could address.
Building a relationship and giving some specific goals builds a future client that is willing to try more than a basic massage. It is almost impossible to build a relationship after a massage with no dialogue, so it is imperative that the practitioner can give the client a few moments of personalized attention. I realize this "communication" time is not always possible, and in those cases I suggest having some copies of stretches, info from credible sources and even some retail products set aside with a brief, "how to use" description for at home use.
The client today wants personalization and some education about their bodies and further remedies to prevent disease. Whether it is a signature treatment or a basic Swedish, it is up to the practitioner to help the client with their goals. Massage is not a tangible item and once consumed by the guest, they will often ponder, "Was it worth it?" I think the details and simple extra touches can help in today's competitive market, in addition to strong relationships established with favorite therapists. These touches would include a heated massage table, a signature hot/cold beverage before or after the treatment, a foot cleansing, a specific scalp massage or a discount on the day of treatment for a single or multiple retail items. Show the client they are special and they cannot get all of these special details somewhere else. Give them a discount to book another treatment in the next 30 days. Be there to help them make decisions to further their health care.
Ann Brown, a licensed massage therapist, is a member of the International Spa Association's board of directors and serves as spa director at Spa Shiki at The Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, Mo. She also provides management consulting services through Spa Insight Consulting.
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