resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
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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