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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.
Viewpoints: Massage Reduces Nonspecific Shoulder Pain, Improves Function
While seemingly universal, pain and stiffness in the shoulders can be a significant cause of disability. Often a pain that does not go away on its own, shoulder complaints tend to linger, sometimes for 12 months or longer.
News in Brief
ACA Exec. Vice President Out, Acting EVP In; F4CP Executive Director Retires; New ED Named.
Treating GERD and Incontinence: Focus on Trigger Points
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is defined as the regurgitation of stomach acid in the esophagus. Previously, it was thought that GERD was caused by a hiatal hernia, but recent trials suggest the cause is an inability of the hiatal sphincter to contract normally.
Pain Is Only a Piece of the Puzzle
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, etc.
Managing Tibialis Posterior Tendon Injuries
The tibialis posterior is the deepest, strongest and most central muscle of the leg, with fibers originating from the tibia, fibula and interosseous membrane.
What Do You Know About Physician Compare?
Physician Compare is a website that allows consumers to search for and obtain information about physicians and other health care professionals who provide Medicare services.
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.
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.
Striking a Blow to the Medical Monopoly
The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a landmark ruling in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v Federal Trade Commission.
God and the Chiropractor
My wife went to church last Wednesday night and brought home a CD of the pastor's message. As she handed it to me, she said, "You should listen to this; you'll like it." Our family regularly goes to church and our faith plays a major role in our lives.
Older Patients, Stroke Risk and Manipulation
The first population-based study in the United States to evaluate stroke risk following spinal manipulation – and the first involving older adults – suggests that "[c]hiropractic cervical spine manipulation is unlikely to cause stroke in patients aged 66 to 99 years with neck pain.
Keep Seniors Safe: Age-Proofing the Home
I want to give Dr. Claudia Anrig kudos for her Dec. 1, 2014 column, which highlighted safety issues youngsters might encounter in the home.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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."
Joint Supplements for Athletes (Part 2)
A fairly recent discovery in nutrition supplemental medicine has proven to be a breakthrough in maintaining athletic joint health. Research suggests a combination of undenatured type-II collagen and tetrahydro-iso-alpha acids helps revitalize joint function and performance in athletes.
How We Can Help the Injured Brain
The majority of patients with mild traumatic brain injuries recover within seven to 10 days. If concussion signs and symptoms continue beyond seven days, the diagnosis changes from acute concussion to post-concussion syndrome.
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.
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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