resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Practicing with Authenticity
To extrapolate from the above quote, patients love healthcare providers they can trust. One way to earn the trust of your patients is by practicing with authenticity. What does that mean, exactly?
The New Age of Communication
In the age of technology, everyone, including the patient, is seeking faster, easier ways to communicate. With a wealth of social media, blogs, websites and videos, we are constantly barraged with information – to the point of overload.
Modernization of Chinese Medicine
Language – written, spoken, signed, or otherwise is learned as a means to express our individualized perceptions about the world around us. Language is designed to communicate our personal experiences.
Help: A Need at Every Level
One of the great gifts of training in acupuncture is the ability to take good care of oneself. I recently had a bout of frozen shoulder — an inflammatory syndrome which can be debilitatingly painful and take years to resolve.
Practice Policy (Gone Bad): The Sign
Every once in a while, you see something and think to yourself, That's a really bad idea. Case in point: I went to see my medical doctor the other day. Just after being "roomed," as they say, the nurse checked my vital signs. Then she left.
Fish Oil: A Key Component of Positive Clinical Outcomes
Patients seem to be presenting with more complex problems, and many are responding to care more slowly or have completely unexpected results. Why?
Change Lives by Supporting Chiropractic Research: Are You In?
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), in celebration of its 20th anniversary, has announced it is spearheading a fund-raising campaign to support chiropractic research.
Dorsiflexion Dysfunction: Evaluation & Manipulation Techniques
Almost every condition from the foot to the hip can be attributed to the inability to dorsiflex the ankle mortice and other joints that participate in dorsiflexion. Let's start by understanding normal versus abnormal dorsiflexion.
Harvard Health References Flawed AHA Position Paper
In its special health report, "Stroke: Diagnosing, Treating, and Recovering From a 'Brain Attack,'" Harvard Health Publications includes information from the American Heart Association's 2014 position statement on cervical manipulation and cervical dissection – a statement the American Chiropractic Association emphasized in a letter to Harvard Health mixes "scientific facts with half-truths."
Surprising Reasons for Orthotic Efficacy
Clinical outcome studies show orthotics are effective in the management of a wide range of injuries, including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis and patellofemoral pain syndrome.
Fertility and Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids
Starting or expanding one's family is a major milestone. It's something that more and more people seek out health care advice and support for.
Nuts Reduce Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer and Other Health Problems
Several recent studies suggest regular consumption of nuts may provide a significant degree of protection against certain types of cancer, heart disease, possibly type 2 diabetes and some neurodegenerative diseases.
Healing Trauma: Cultivating Resilience and Presence Through Mindfulness, Part 2
In the last issue of Acupuncture Today, the first part of this article introduced the topic of trauma and resilience, and their relationship to the autonomic nervous system response and the concept of the spirit being grounded in the body, and suggested the importance of mindfulness as a tool for healing.
Do Some Good and Grow Your Business with Cause Marketing
Cause marketing is truly one of the best ways that you can promote your services as a acupuncture professional. Cause marketing refers to a type of marketing where a business partners with a non-profit organization to help bring awareness to a charitable cause.
A Chiropractor's Guide to Yoga
"Doctor, can I continue to do yoga while undergoing your care?" "Is it OK for me to go back to yoga while I'm getting my back treated?" "It is safe to start my yoga classes again after my neck pain improves?"
Patient-Centered Care vs. Payer Restrictions: Your Ethical Obligation
Do you have an ethical obligation to evaluate your patients, make a diagnosis and provide evidence-based, patient-centered health care, irrelevant to the payer restrictions?
Improving Communication Between AOM and Biomedical Providers
How comfortable do you feel talking to Western medical providers? If you are like me, you may not feel as comfortable as you would like. Some of my interactions with MD's haven't been the fruitful steps toward integrative medicine for which I had hoped.
The Zen Art of "One Point"
We were always told in our Zen Shiatsu training (by Japanese and Japanese American instructors) that our ultimate aim was to to find that "One Point." To be so focused we could touch just one point to transform Qi throughout a client's body.
Oriental Medicine on the World Stage
"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." This simple, yet powerful statement was lived out time and time again by so many of the athletes from around the world during the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
Getting a YES: An Effective Strategy for Overcoming Patient Objections
Patients make more excuses for declining care from an acupuncturist than perhaps any other type of doctor. Various reasons hold them back from making a commitment to care.
The Short Leg Dilemma
When evaluating a new patient, it is common to note a relative shortening of one leg to the other. Some patients will even tell you they have one, and then pull out the store-bought heel lift they read about online.
News in Brief
Call for Abstracts Announced - Parker Las Vegas 2016; Logan Adds Doctorate Degree; New Role for Dr. James Edwards.
The Food Conversation: Nutrition and Your Practice
It's morning and your first patient rolls in with a triple espresso steaming in one hand and a frazzled, desperate look in her eye. "You gotta help me, doc, I am constipated unless I drink one of these, and I am exhausted and anxious all the time."
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 1
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.
What's Chiropractic Research Worth to You?
The Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR), in celebration of its 20th anniversary, has announced it is spearheading a fundraising campaign to support chiropractic research.
An Acupuncturist's View of Medicinal Marijuana
The use of cannabis for medical purposes is very controversial. Use as a panacea by physicians uninitiated to the proper application of herbal medicine, as well as an excuse for recreational use have greatly confused the issue.
June, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 06
By Cherie Sohnen-Moe
The spa industry has expanded in new and exciting directions over the last two decades. While the image of the local day spa remains most familiar, spas have also become common vacation destinations and are desirable amenities at resorts, in luxury hotels and on cruise ships.Dental and medical offices are including spa treatments to make their procedures more pleasant and attractive to their patients. Many spas have expanded their scope from simply furnishing beauty services to offering healthcare services. Estheticians, massage therapists, aromatherapists, acupuncturists, reflexologists, yoga teachers, nutritional consultants and energy practitioners are commonly found in these spa settings.
As public demand has grown, even the image of the local day spa is growing and changing with corporations like the Red Door Spa and franchise systems like Massage Envy Spa, Elements and Massage Heights getting involved in promoting day spas at the national level.
Online forum chats overflow with comments about the good, bad and ugly aspects of working for spas. Franchise organizations seem to bear the brunt of the negative remarks. Practitioners complain of the poor working conditions and the low wages. The people posting in these forums often claim these companies are making it difficult for independent therapists to survive. I have to question that. Because of these companies, many people are now receiving massage that wouldn't have even considered it in the past, and probably weren't aware of the benefits even a year earlier. These companies provide thousands of employment opportunities for massage therapists, as well as tremendous visibility at the national level. For example, in 2012, Massage Envy Spa provided 14.5 million services to 1.17 million members and 2.6 million guests. In 2013, they provided 56,000 services per day. And that is only one of the many national franchise organizations today. I see this as being analogous to the hair styling industry. Yes, there are many franchises such as Supercuts, where you can receive a haircut for about $15. Yet, many people still go to other salons where they pay closer to $60 for a haircut.
Most people working at a franchised day spa earn more than $25 per hour, including tips. So, if you are working 25 hours per week, that's about $30,000 per year. Plus, many of these companies offer benefits such as health care, paid time off and educational opportunities. That is much better than the average worker receives. Also, while some therapists have a college degree and extensive training, others enter into this field with a mere 500 hours of schooling. This is a good return on investment.
Part of the problem comes in when people think about how they could charge between $50 to $60 per hour (even more in some cities). Worse, they fail to consider the cost of building and maintaining a business. That $30,000 salary starts looking better when you factor in rent, utilities, equipment, linens, supplies, front desk staff, marketing, taxes and insurance. Just the cost per session (e.g., linens and lubricants) is between $2 to $6. Even the bare bones minimum cost to operate a small practice is about $12,000. And that amount doesn't include taxes, staffing, health insurance, continuing education or other benefits. Finally, this number includes a barely existing marketing budget — which needs to be dramatically increased when building a practice.
If you want to work an equivalent of the 25 hours per week at a franchise spa, then you really will only have time for 15 clients per week, as you will need at least 10 hours per week (and a lot more in the building phase) to manage and market your practice. Let's say you charge $50 per hour and work 50 weeks per year, seeing 15 clients per week. Your gross revenue would be $37,500. Then deduct the $12,000 for the base operating expenses and you are now making $25,500 per year. Realistically, your net profit will most likely be closer to $20,000 — and you have to bear all of the risks.
Of course, you can change those numbers by working more hours, charging higher fees and selling products. Yet, many people don't have the desire or personality to run their own business. According to CG Funk, Vice President of Industry Relations and Product Development for Massage Envy Spa, working for a franchise spa may be a good option for practitioners who are new graduates, those that want to supplement their private practice income, those that don't want the responsibility of operating their own business or those who simply want to work part time.
Overall Success Strategies
Working in a spa requires conforming to a corporate image and structuring your treatments to align with the company's schedule, treatment protocol, policies and philosophy. Marketing is another area that is often a source of conflict. In a spa, you don't have to do marketing or schedule clients, but there's no guarantee your work hours are filled. Many practitioners discover to their dismay that to increase the client flow they need to market their services themselves (this is more so in a local day spa than a destination spa).
To be successful in these environments, a practitioner needs to understand employer expectations and understand the rationale behind the policies and procedures set by the employer. Certainly these measures are set up to protect the client and the company; very often they are set to protect the practitioner as well.
Good communication skills are vital in this environment. In addition to client interactions, practitioners need to communicate well with the front desk staff, management and co-workers.
The Work Environment
Creating an ethical working environment is, of course, the mutual responsibility of spa management and employees. Ideally, spa management acts diligently to protect and serve the rights of both employees and clients. On their side, spa employees ideally commit themselves to quality work at all times and in all circumstances and express loyalty to the organization by cooperating with policies and procedures and avoiding conflicts of interest. Difficulties arise not just with actual lapses in these ideals, they also arise when suspicion and distrust surface within the organization. Both management and employees, therefore, need to practice transparency, honesty and integrity in communications with one another.
On one hand, the relationship between spa management and employees boils down to a question of autonomy. In most spas, practitioners don't have a choice about how many clients to see in a day, which clients they'll work with or even what type of work is to be performed. Serving the customer is the spa's priority. Management expects employees to work to an assigned schedule, to expand their therapeutic repertoire by learning spa treatments outside their specialty and to conform to the corporate image. On the other hand, spa management may offer the employee numerous benefits such as compensation based on seniority, commissions on product sales, health insurance, paid vacations, paid sick days, pension plans, profit sharing and reimbursement for continuing education.
Perhaps the most serious ethical concerns in the spa environment surround issues of inappropriate touch and sexual misconduct. Management usually has a zero tolerance policy, meaning that if a client complains of sexual misconduct on the part of a practitioner, that practitioner is terminated without recourse. A similar policy might exist regarding practitioner complaints against clients who sexualize a session. Management needs to examine whether their policies disempower practitioners in these situations, while employees should know the limits of their legal rights.
The next sections highlight some of the ethical considerations shared by spa management and spa employees to create an atmosphere where cooperation and ethical behavior are encouraged and supported.
Ethical Guidelines for Spa Employees
Ethical Guidelines for Spa Management
Destination spas and day spas are here to stay. The growth rate continues to be strong for these companies. The question really isn't, "Are these companies good for the profession?" The question is, "Are these companies good for you?" Evaluate your goals, style and personality before you decide to work for a spa on a part-time or full-time basis. Then evaluate each specific company to see if you mesh well with their corporate culture. Find out if they follow the above guidelines. Keep in mind that even though a company might be part of a larger corporation, every manager or owner has their own style and may run that specific location differently than others.
Click here for previous articles by Cherie Sohnen-Moe.
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