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Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
July, 2014, Vol. 14, Issue 07
Licensed Massage Therapist: Profession or Hobby?
By Terry Russell
Do you run your massage therapy practice as a profession or a hobby? This is a question every therapist should ask themselves. Whether you are a therapist that is new to the industry or a therapist that has been around a while, you need to evaluate your business practice on a regular basis. Not every week, but at least once or twice a year. While you may consider yourself a professional, the way you conduct your day-to-day business may dictate differently.
Have a Plan
Do you have a business plan? I am not talking about an elaborate plan that you need for a business loan, but just a basic plan that states where you want to take your practice and how you plan to get there. Without some type of plan or route, you are merely drifting in the wind and bound to get sidelined and stranded. Time to ask yourself a few hard questions. What is the state of your current practice? What kind of growth has it seen the past year? What kind of growth do you want to see this year? What hindered your growth last year? What do you plan on doing to reach that growth?
Business plans need to be more than just about how to make more money. Don't get me wrong, making more money should be at the top of your priority list. It just shouldn't be the only thing on your priority list. In addition to your revenue potential, one needs to consider getting new clients, current client retention and how to handle what the competition is doing.
What are some easy ways to increase your revenue? By now you have probably seen countless articles on the benefits of retailing. Why is it that many massage therapists do not consider themselves as sales people? Your clients come to you for a service just like one seeks a sales person for service. Same goes for your market cashier, mechanic and everything else that you bring into your life to make it better or easier. Isn't this more than just a mere coincidence? It begins with a need for something currently missing in your life and the search for a person standing by readily to offer professional assistance.
We as massage therapists have the luxury of having access to some of the greatest products on the planet. The manufacturers in our industry work hard every day to be on the cutting edge of science and innovation. There is constantly something new being manufactured to enable massage therapists to perform at their peak level. With all of the products at our fingertips, why is there such as disconnect when it comes to our clients? When you use a new product, take time to educate your client on what you are using and the reason why. Have a small size (4oz or 8oz are always a good start) to sell if that client seems interested. Don't wait for them to ask, but let them know it comes in retail sizes perfect for home use between sessions. If you are using it and believe in it, there is a good chance your client will follow suit.
Get New Clients
How do you attract new clients? Marketing is a key factor whether in social media, print collateral or community involvement. The most successful practice neatly combines all three aspects to get their message out to the masses. Social media is a great way to spread your news and keep up with what is going on around you. Print collateral such as business cards and flyers will never go out of style. Plaster you name and menu of services everywhere your town allows. Last, but not least, been seen in your community. Chair massage is a great way to let the community experience your touch without the potential client committing. Not only will this get your name out there, but it shows your support of the community.
To maintain quality credentials as a massage therapist, continuing education for certifications and licensure empowers massage therapists to expand their current tool box, step away from the old tried and true and keep abreast of the latest in trends and lifestyles. Expanding your modalities not only expands your menu of services, but allows you to market to new communities. This constant redefining of yourself keeps you vibrant and engaged in your community. Don't you think your clients deserve to share in your educational experiences? Share in the power of that new modality you just learned. If it is a totally new modality for you, sometimes offering a short 30-minute add-on to try it works great. When is the last time you bought something on impulse just because someone gave you a sample? Client retention is critical to defining a successful profession over a hobby of a career. The sampling I mentioned above is a great way to get your current clients engaged in your practice.
How do you use your down time? Do you set aside time to work deals during the day? This takes on a twofold purpose. First, from your client standpoint, social media is a good way to offer a special to fill that last minute cancellation or vacant spot on the schedule. Blast a special for 4 p.m. today only. You'll be amazed by the people ready to take you up on a deal. Losing 10% off your normal fee is better than not making anything at all for that hour.
Are your clients curious about your modalities? It is easy to market your modality with a general description of what it is, but does your client "get it?" To make sure they do, mention potential outcomes with the service. For example, Swedish is known for relaxation but changing it up to stress reduction and stressing reduced daily tension, better sleep and lower blood pressure may peak a curious client. Describe your services as part of wellness plans with possible benefits. This new approach over the traditional descriptions help the client understand solutions instead of appearing like a sales pitch.
Know the Competition
How well do you know your competition? If you don't know what they are up to, you stand the risk of losing clients to them. Combat the risk of losing clients to your competition by providing solutions to your client needs and constantly being aware of their changing needs and patterns. Ask your client questions with the objective of creating detailed client profiles. With this knowledge regularly updated, you are in a position to create a wellness plan specifically for them and keep them away from the competition. This personal approach can lower the risk of the client shopping and build loyalty along the way. The end results should be client retention, not to mention referrals to their friends, family and co-workers.
Now that you have had the chance to look over your day to day actions, the way you market your talents and how your fill your down time, ask yourself the cold hard questions. Do you have a business plan? Do you utilize the potential retail dollars of selling them what you use? Do you educate your clients about potential new modalities? Do you offer add-on services? Do you promote yourself? Learn what the competition is doing? And lastly, do you run your massage therapy practice as a profession or a hobby?
Terry Russell has been involved in the massage community since 1999. His previous career includes being a full time therapist at Spa Palazzo in the Boca Raton Resort & Club, as well as owning a successful private practice. As the Director of Equipment Development at Universal Companies, his efforts are now focused on bringing the massage and spa industry the best of equipment with a focus on providing outstanding customer service. For more information, visit www.universalcompanies.com.
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