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Physical Exam 101: The Hands
I am sure you are familiar with the old adage: "When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."
The Science of Stretching
In 1986, Rob DeCastella set a course record by running the Boston Marathon in 2:07:51, just 39 seconds off the world record.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Immunizations by Colorado DCs: Really?
You probably didn't hear about it, but back on Nov. 21, 2013, the Board of Directors of the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) adopted "immunization authority" for Colorado DCs as its No. 2 legislative goal.
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
Vaccines and Chiropractic: Evidence-Based Medicine or Medical Dogma?
Right or wrong, the chiropractic profession has historically been against vaccinations. However, a growing trend within the profession is seeking to reverse this position.
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
Are You a Bad Chiropractic Patient?
My father was a great DC. In fact, as you might expect, he was the doctor of chiropractic I measured all other doctors against. Sadly, he died at age 61 when I was in my early 30s.
Fibromyalgia: Put the Pain in Its Place
While some fibromyalgia patients respond favorably to regular chiropractic care, others experience minimal relief. Unfortunately, many of these patients must rely on pharmacological management to relieve their constant pain.
Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
Coding for the Subluxation: ICD-9 vs. ICD-10
When I attended chiropractic school, I was taught that chiropractors approach health care differently than the traditional medical establishment.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Knee Pain From the Kinetic Chain
As practitioners of manual medicine, chiropractors often treat patients suffering from knee pain.
Why You Should Include the Single-Leg Stance Test in Every Patient Assessment
The single-leg stance (SLS) test, also known as the single-limb stance test, unipedal stance test or one-legged stance / balance test, is often used in the geriatric population to assess static postural and balance control.
Medical Qigong for the Heart: Part III
Part 1 and Part II of this series focused on the physical aspect of the Heart and mental emotional aspects of the Heart respectively. Now, I would like to focus on the spiritual aspect of the Heart.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
Curbing Label Overwhelm
For the average consumer, reading a food package can be overwhelming: natural, organic, non-GMO, gluten free, free range ... you get the picture.
Remembering Clarence Gonstead and 50 Years of the Gonstead Clinic
Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead (1898-1978) took chiropractic practice from back-alley bone setting to an understandable biomechanical science. His life was dedicated to clinical competency.
By the Numbers: 3 Common Financial Mistakes With Major Consequences
Warren Buffett is on record for sharing the hidden art of becoming wealthy and making it simple enough for anyone to grasp.
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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