resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
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.
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.
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.
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)?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
August, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 08
Are You Just Doing Massage? Combine Services for Value-Added Options
By Ann Brown, LMT
Are you just doing massage? I have worked in the resort spa industry since 1994, and the resort-type of "spa-ing" is really all that I know. Sure, I understand the gamut of the spas in the industry – med-spas, day spas, chiropractic, small massage business and more – but my focus is on marketing to a resort/leisure/vacationing client.These clients come to resort spas wanting and needing an escape, a true getaway from their everyday lives and stresses. They seek out resort spas, utilizing their vacations as their excuses and their annual rituals to pamper themselves. Looking at our clientele and how they add on spa services at resort spas, I have to wonder, why don't more small massage businesses add more treatments to the menu that give monthly clients the same feeling as being on vacation?
Our spa-goers today want to feel better. They want to let go, relax and walk away restored. Massage is at the heart of what we do in the resort spa business – still our number one treatment. So, while resort spas capitalize on the same treatment you do every day, I think that today's small massage businesses can also capitalize on what the resort spas do.
The same clientele we see on vacation are the ones that will book monthly for massage treatments closer to home. I know that many of you readers of Massage Today operate small businesses, and many of you work independently trying to secure and fill your books with people in your town/community. Even though I do think the economy is starting to come back, it is still tough to grow your business at the rate we were all growing in 2006. The challenge is to change with the times, to reinvent ourselves and to not look back at historical data, including financials, booking pace, new clients and how quickly existing clients rebook. It's time to come up with some new ways and fresh ideas that allow our guests and clients a respite and a bit of a vacation while they are on the table.
While massage is still the most frequently booked spa treatment, our body treatments are not nearly as readily booked as back in 2006. We decided some time ago to become a bit more creative with how we package items together and call them "specials." One of things we look for in a profitable "special" is how to add something to our existing most popular treatment – massage – in a way that our guests will want to get more out of the treatment through the special offer, while minimizing any increase in our delivery costs.
While adding on special mud masks or salt exfoliations are good treatments, they require the use of wet rooms and incur product costs. In contrast, one of the simplest ways to enhance a massage is to add a dry exfoliation. The body benefits are still great for the client and the cost to provide the extra service is minimal to our resort spa – and completely within the realm of possibility for a small massage business to offer.
I have always been a big proponent of body brushing and it was a long time staple on our resort spa menu. As more and more spas have adopted the practice, we've sought a way to perform the exfoliation in better, different ways to bring a "wow" factor to the guest and deliver incredible body benefits. One of our "specials" at the resort spa that has really taken off is a physical exfoliation using a new exfoliation mitt and then a massage. We package them together for an 80-minute service.
I love this mitt because we do not need any products with it and it offers a different, more modern way to treat the guest. A derivative of the aerospace industry, the honeycomb mitt has "memory," the ability to repeatedly return to its original shape. Naturally, anti-fungal and antibacterial, it dries quickly and is great for re-use in the treatment room because it can be properly sanitized/disinfected.
Any time you consider adding on to the massage, consider what takeaways you can give your client. What about the treatment you are offering can they take home with them to continue the health and wellness benefits on their own? While you talk about at-home practices with your client, make sure to equip them with the right tools. When offering exfoliation – either with a body brush or the mitt – you have the opportunity to make an easy retail sale, one that gives your client a great at-home tool at an easy, low, price point.
We offer the mitt for sale directly to the guest for them to use at home and educate our guests on how to use it, but our professional staff will always perform a more satisfying exfoliation in the treatment room than the guest can do at home. The professional treatment is more thorough and feels so good. The exfoliation really excites the nervous system through the vibrant friction of the mitt on the skin. There is a point where you can just see the client become totally relaxed, so ready for the massage to follow. After the exfoliation, we use a seaweed oil that is so good for the skin, and as a spa therapist, it is rewarding to see the guest's skin look vibrant, youthful and highly moisturized.
Guests love this treatment and it costs me no more in professional treatment costs because we do all the work with the mitt that can be disinfected at the end of the treatment and used again. Topped off with a great retail sale for the mitt, and it is a win-win for us and a great treatment for the guest. We even offer 20 percent off if the guest buys the mitt that same day of their massage treatment combo. So far, we have almost 80 percent closure on the sale of the mitt at the end of the treatment, a terrific return on investment for the spa and it gives our therapists some retail money in their check, too.
You can add on some money to your massage and bundle an exfoliation – dry body brushing or with a specialized mitt – as your summer special, or you can give the exfoliation as a complimentary item for booking a massage on a day of the week you need to boost your appointment volume. There are many ways you can make a new or existing client feel valued and the need to do so is a given today: our guests and clients must feel there is value in what they are paying for! You could even give them the mitt or body brush after the service and put into the cost of the treatment the wholesale cost of the mitt. In doing so, you would be out nothing more than a bit more time to do the exfoliation and would they see the value in that? YES!
Maybe you've been in business for a while and maybe you feel that massage is enough. But I think that clients want to try something new from someone they trust and you don't need a wet room or a wet table or even water to offer this extra wellness service. Why don't you try it next month and offer it one day a week (again, when you need extra services) and tell me know it goes? You can email me at with any questions or comments. I am eager to hear from you!
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.