resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
Syncretism: Acupuncture and Public Health in Cuba
"Syncretism" is defined as a union of diverse tenets or practices. On a recent trip to Cuba designed to demonstrate the integration of Traditional Medicine and biomedicine, our group witnessed this union firsthand.
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
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.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.