resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Asking the Insurance Rep the Right Questions
One of the first or last questions a potential patient often asks is: "Do you take insurance?" An ill-informed or optimistic, "yes" can result in delayed or non-payment. Instead, just say: "Let me check if you are eligible first."
Percussion Therapy: An Experiment
My study of qi began more than 20 years ago — long before my study of TCM, points or pathways. It all started with an awareness in my hands and physical manifestations in the way of blockages while working on clients.
Top 10 Fitness Trends for 2016
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) published its annual fitness trend forecast in the November / December 2015 issue of ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal.
News in Brief
A Winner in and Out of the Office; Ready for the "Have-A-Heart" Campaign? New Integrative Medicine Journal.
Elevated Shoulder? Check the QL
As you know, posture reveals a great deal about the body. Posture is a unique mental and physical landscape revealing compensations and adaptations to life. It's a classic mind-and-body story.
East Meets West
Gung Hay Fat Choi. Welcome to the year of the Monkey. There will be fireworks for both January and February this year. What great celebrations.
Integrative Medicine Can Shape the Profession
As the AOM profession struggles to define the role of "integrative" medicine within their practices their schools and organizations, students, faculty, alumni and administrators at schools wrestle with discussions of how much, where, how, and what to "integrate."
Do You Teach Patients How to Breathe Properly?
Spinal manipulation often produces quick results in terms of pain alleviation and improved range of motion. Unfortunately, once the patient is no longer in pain, they may discontinue therapy, only to be plagued by the same complaint at a future date.
Spine Surgery: A Tale of Greed and Corruption
All too often, where there's substantial money to be made, greed and corruption inevitably follow.
Interprofessionalism: What it Means and Why You Should Care
Interprofessionalism in education and in practice is a growing trend across health care in the United States. The idea that team-based care and collaborative practice can improve health care has been around more than 50 years.
Forgotten Options for Musculoskeletal Health
Challenges with musculoskeletal health are of tremendous concern for many people today.
Billing and Coding for Moxibustion
Q: I am trying to locate a code for cupping and moxibustion, and have had various fellow acupuncturists indicate that they bill using the existing codes for heat, 97010 hot packs or 97026 infra-red for moxa and 97016 vasopneumatic device for cupping.
Osteoporosis Isn't Always the Case
What is your diagnosis? The patient is a 58-year-old female with back pain. I am sure all of you see the compression fracture at L2; however, there are some findings that suggest this is not a compression fracture due to osteoporosis.
Ethics: The Glue That Holds Us Together
Kudos to the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) for creating a code of ethics for the nationwide profession and for deciding to make courses in ethics a requirement for certification renewal.
The Amazing Clinical Versatility of Milk Thistle (Part 1)
Most of us know that the standardized extract from the seeds of milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is probably the best-proven herb for protecting the liver from chemical and inflammatory damage.
From Antiquity to Modernity: Huang Qin Tang at Yale Medical School, Part 1
Traditional Chinese medicine is a coherent medical system with several unique characteristics: it originated almost 3,000 years ago; in its area of origin, it has been practiced without interruption since its inception.
The MRI: When and Why to Order One
As I lecture around the country to both chiropractors and medical specialists, it's clear one of the main disconnects between the two professions is that of an accurate diagnosis.
The Roots of Insomnia
One of the most common clinical presentations is insomnia. Next to digestive disorders, sleep disorders are one of the most common complaints the clinician will encounter in daily practice.
Sell Out: Using Research for the Wrong Reasons
The above chorus is from the ska band Reel Big Fish's 1997 hit song, "Sell Out," from their album, "Turn the Radio Off." In the song, the singer sarcastically relates the plight of a musician who is tired of "flipping burgers" and is willing to get "lots of money" by playing "what they want you to hear" in order to get a recording contract.
We Get Letters & Email
In the Dec. 1, 2015 issue, we have Donald Petersen reporting on "the adapting chiropractic practice," which includes multidisciplinary practice as an option; a ChiroPoll indicating 59 percent of DCs are seeing at least 21 patients per day and 27 percent are seeing more than 40.
Window of the Sky Points
The acupuncture points known as Window of the Sky are a modern creation. There is no reference in Chinese medical texts for an acupuncture point category called Window of the Sky.
Preventing ACL Injuries in Female Athletes
For female athletes, the key to optimal athletic health lies in preventing ACL injuries. In medical terms, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the primary restraint to the anterior displacement of the tibia on the femur at all angles of the knee flexor.
Changing the Cultural View of Medicine
Many hospitals in the U.S. are incorporating integrative clinics that include Traditional Chinese Medicine. Cleveland Clinic has led the charge for adding a traditional Chinese herbal medicine clinic to their existing acupuncture program.
How to Humanize Your Content to Create Stronger Relationships
Content marketing is about building relationships, whether that is through updates on social media, offers on your website, blog posts, email campaigns, or even printed material. Now days a business needs to make a human connection.
Yo San University Helps Make LA Communities Healthier
An element of healthcare training often overlooked is the residual benefit to communities served by Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) schools nationwide.
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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