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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.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 4): Blending Pain Relief With Healthy Aging
Pain relief is still the No. 1 reason patients come to my office. However, most of my patients have other goals as well, such as: "I want to lose 10 to 20 pounds"; "I feel old and want to slow down the aging process"; "My doctor says I am becoming a diabetic and need to exercise"; or "I'm tired and want more energy."
Excited to Share the Science of Chiropractic: An Interview With Dr. Heidi Haavik
Dr. Heidi Haavik has become known in the circle of chiropractic researchers as not only a rising star, but also one willing to do research that can have a major impact in the scientific world and how chiropractic is perceived.
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.
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 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.
Misconceptions & Opportunities With Medicare
As I speak around the country on how to properly document Medicare patient encounters, I get questions regarding opting out of Medicare. There are many misconceptions about opting out of Medicare, including just what it means to opt out.
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.
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.
Day in the Life of an Advanced-Practice DC
Can you tell us a little about your background in the profession? Why did you want to become a DC? I studied at Boston University from 1968-1972 as a pre-med student majoring in biology.
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.
An Alarming Lack of Accountability
Accountability seems to be a lost quality today. The simple act of taking responsibility and doing the right thing just doesn't happen as often as it should. Maybe it is the litigious nature of our society.
Let's Streamline Your Front Desk
Your front office can be your greatest source of efficiency or a constant bottleneck. Increasing the productivity of this area without sacrificing the quality of patient interaction can be a little tricky.
News in Brief
Northwestern Student Honored for Addressing Concussions Head-On; Northwestern Announces New CFO; Life U. to Provide Unique Opportunity.
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.
F4CP Launches New Social Media Campaign
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has launched a new service to help member doctors: a social media campaign called "Accelerator."
Specialized Pro-Resolving Mediators: 21st Century Inflammation Fighters
Specialized pro-resolving mediators, or SPMs, are a portion of the omega-3 fatty-acid spectrum that have been shown to have a powerful effect on reducing inflammation.
Identify & Adjust the Apex Posterior Sacrum
Low back pain involving an apex posterior sacrum (+θX-axis misalignment) typically presents with signs of lumbosacral joint impingement or facet syndrome.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How Many of Your Patients Have Sarcopenia?
Figure 1 demonstrates the typical appearance of sarcopenia in the paravertebral muscles. Have you considered evaluating your patients for this problem? Sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that affects the older population.
April, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 04
Explore the Benefits of Working at a Resort Spa
By Ann Brown, LMT
A year or so ago I wrote for Massage Today about the benefits of working in the resort/hotel spa industry and still feel I have some unfinished business on the subject.I did a brief search about recent information on massage therapists in hotel/resort spa settings and really found some bullet points and statements that were farfetched or just incorrect. I wanted to clear up any misconceptions because I still think this is a viable pathway for massage therapists to build a rewarding and lucrative career.
I consider myself optimistic and lucky and I try to find the good in almost all situations, so my next sentence might go against the grain of my thinking but it is really how I feel right now. I think the economy is still having some "pains" in getting back to normal. Most would say there is no looking back because it will never be the same as it was in 2006 and earlier. I'm not sure I have adopted 100% of that theory, but I do know that at the resort spa I have worked at for the last 13 years, our revenues are down. Down from 2006 for sure, and down from last year, too. I have cut some of the expenses to make sure our profit margins are still okay and no hands-on therapist has taken a pay cut, but we have cut lots of other things including paper good, to goods for marketing, to toilet paper. We are also really trying to define whether our marketing strategies have worked and if there is really ROI (return on investment) because marketing can be very expensive and you must measure each and every effort in this area to ensure you are not trying to attract a client that will just never come to your spa.
First, I want therapists to understand that a resort/hotel spa can be a great place to work. I know that most therapists getting out of school really want to be their own boss. With that title, comes lots of other challenges, duties and hats to wear including managing other team members whether they are independent contractors or employees, advertising/marketing, payables/receivables, linens, laundry, equipment, scheduling, menu/brochure treatment selections, mission, vision, culture, referral programs and the list goes on and on. It's a lot for someone that has just been skilled to do hands-on massage to bar all of that responsibility right out of school. Many of the top business books will tell you that the best massage therapists, guitarists, painters and even drywall hangers don't make the best managers. Their skill is their talent and what they love to do. Many that choose massage therapy as a second or third career have already "been there/done that" regarding management and running a business, and were searching for a career where they can do great massage, exceed guest expectations and not deal with personnel issues and P&L statements.
As I looked at some of the articles available about working in a resort spa, many did not paint a great picture; long hours, up to eight massages a day, being an employee instead of a boss, working hours that are not your favorite, seasonal and a little bit of "us vs. them" (big corp vs. massage therapist). I would be hard pressed to apply or send in my resume after reading many of the articles. I hope I am here to, at least, encourage you to try out an interview first and see for yourself.
I brought up the economy and how slow it is to recover because I see lots of good therapists that are in their own practice or a small practice and they are just suffocating. They are talented but have lost some of their clients to this slow economy and lost some to others being more competitive (less expensive) and they seem to be paralyzed. They seem to have this hope (I do, too) that the economy will come back and they will make the same money and grow in clients, but I have to wonder, how long do they try and hang on? What is the right amount of time before you regroup and think of other options. I know when you have invested time and money into your own business that it can feel terrible to have to throw in the towel.
This has got to be one of the hardest decisions to make because there is no perfect answer or just the right timing. And maybe your overhead is low and you think you can stick it out and get past this slump, but the more important question to me is, why did you get into your profession? I would think most of you would say you got into the massage profession to help others, do hands-on work, educate others, help reduce pain, provide relaxation and stress reduction, etc. So why not hang your hat somewhere that you can see clients each day, raise the bar for the client to understand massage, assist with health/wellness/stress relief or pain reduction, spend the bulk of your time doing hands-on work and get paid for each massage.
You have the ability to inform and educate your clients and hope they will prioritize getting massage/bodywork in the future, whether at a resort/hotel spa or a local spa/massage business in their area. What if you could see multiple clients a day, a steady supply of new clients, be supplied uniforms, linens, equipment and oil/cream and have your taxes taken out by the employer and not as a independent contractor or self-employed? Sounds appealing to me! I know our resort offers medical/dental, complimentary lunch, CEU training based on some minimal requirements, provides liability and professional insurance for the hands-on staff and allows the staff to trade with each other for the benefit of their own bodies and allows their friends and family to receive discounts for spa services. Again, sounds good to me.
The marketing of the spa and the booking of clients is done for you and we even supply business cards for the staff and referral cards so they try and promote themselves for request massages and to build relationships with our local clientele. I really have come to love the team spirit and having a team around since I do not know everything or every modality. It is a nice way to refer a client to someone within your brand that has the certification and ability to do a modality that may benefit the client even further. I think this is a win-win for you and the client.
I have heard over my 20 years in the spa industry, more when I first started in the mid 90's, that the spa will take a big percentage of the treatment price. I know you could make 100% if you are self-employed, but with that 100% you have expenses and these must be weighted into each dollar. Insurance, rent, overhead including equipment, linens, marketing, laundry, etc., and many of these expenses can really take from each and every dollar you make. Additionally, if your business is down and you are not seeing the same number of clients as two years ago, that dollar is getting stretched more since many of your expenses can be fixed like rent/lease which is the same amount of money with more or less clients. And we all know it gets more expensive to do business with less clients.
I think most massage therapists have weighed this all out at one time but I am hoping, if you have a reduction in clients, you will put this back on your list for reflection. I know there is a shortage of good therapists in the spa business and many hotel/resort/ medical/destination spas are doing much better than two years ago and need good therapists on their team. Just go for an interview and see if there is a fit between your style/ethics/mission and the spa. Good luck and send me an email if you have any questions.
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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