resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
February, 2016, Vol. 16, Issue 02
Massage Specialization as a Marketing Tool: Focus on the Client
By Michelle Burns, BSRN, BSAlt.Med., LMT, BCMT
One message frequently given to massage therapists is to "find your niche." For so many therapists, this can be one of the biggest challenges — defining their preferred target market.And often, massage therapists have a challenge building a successful business without defining their niche.
A common thought in the massage community is to focus on learning new techniques that will then guarantee more clientele. So, many therapists invest hundreds, and sometimes, thousands of dollars in continuing education to learn techniques to try to increase their clientele and revenue. Sometimes it works well, but sometimes it doesn't. Part of the reason it may not work is because, too often, the public (read-potential clients) have no idea what those techniques do, and how the techniques may help them. That is not to say specializing in a technique is bad, because it isn't. But specializing goes way beyond a six or 12 hour weekend class. And the more specialized a practitioner becomes, the more important client education as a part of marketing becomes. Potential clients have to understand the mechanism and indication for the specialty before they will commit to participating in a session. While we, in the massage community, may know what Airrosti or Bowen or Pfrimmer is, how it works and what it does, that does not help people who might benefit from the work understand how it may help them.
Focusing on the outcome of the session rather than specific techniques that will be used helps a potential client make an informed choice. For example, telling potential clients that you specialize in helping people with shoulder injuries to regain ROM and decrease pain, as opposed to telling them you specialize in myofascial release. The first statement has two advantages:
Why It's Important To Focus On The Client
Too often, people in a profession have internalized profession specific information and language and forget that those outside the profession don't understand the "insider" language. Those not in the profession may have no idea what a specialty can or cannot do or how it is done. For many people seeking help dealing with pain, injury repair, and rehabilitation, the myriad of practitioners available can be overwhelming. If the specialties being offered are unfamiliar, the person seeking help becomes even more confused — "where should I spend my limited monetary resources for the most benefit?" When faced with a description of services that lists unfamiliar specialties in which a therapist is trained or certified, it can lead to additional confusion and overwhelm. The client may just choose something that sounds familiar and hope it works. They may be lucky and find someone who can help them, or they may find a therapist that doesn't really understand their problem or help them achieve their goal. The client may then become frustrated and reticent to try a different therapist.
When communication is focused on the specialty, the information becomes about the therapist — "Look at me! I can do this and this and this!" – and not about what the client needs. When communication is focused on offering a benefit that the client can relate to, the techniques used to accomplish the goal becomes less relevant. For example, a musician with repetitive use injury of the wrist is less interested in what technique the therapist knows than they are whether or not I can help them play again without pain. Telling a musician that the practitioner is certified in myofascial release does not answer their question as to whether or not that therapist can help them specifically. However, if the therapist tells a musician that they specialize in preventing wrist injuries or helping decrease wrist pain and supporting healing, the musician is much more likely to see the benefit and feel more confident working with the therapist that addresses their needs.
A Powerful Tool
Deciding to specialize in: a specific population, such as pregnant women, athletes, or geriatrics; conditions, such as fibromyalgia or migraines; or a body part, such as the shoulder, hip, or ankle, rather than a technique, opens the door to using a variety of techniques depending on the individual and situation.
One of the attractions of becoming a technique specialist is that the workshops are focused on bodywork techniques, often with lots of hands on practice time. Massage therapists are often more comfortable learning techniques than sitting in a didactic, data rich class. Becoming a specialist in working with specific areas of the body or specific populations involves a lot more in-depth knowledge about the body part or the population. It can't be obtained in a weekend CE class. And it doesn't rely on just one technique. To become a specialist in serving specific needs and populations, a therapist must invest time and focused attention on learning everything they can about the population or body area. That may include:
A therapist who commits themselves to a deep understanding of a population or body region has a built-in niche and a ready market. Marketing to the target population becomes much easier as the market understands exactly what you can do for them and recognizes your confidence in your skills.
Finding Your Specialty
If you still aren't sure what you want to specialize in, think about your clients. Is there a particular condition or injury that several of your clients present? Maybe you have several clients who indicate they have fibromyalgia or play golf. Gaining an in-depth understanding of their condition or hobby will result in several of your clients all benefiting from your new focus. As you develop your skills and understanding of this condition or population, they will spread the word to others with similar problems or focus. Word of mouth marketing is built in when focusing on a specialty that speaks to clients. Specialization can be a powerful marketing tool. Choosing specializations that speak to a target market increases the power of your message.
Michelle Burns currently owns Advanced Holistic Healing Arts in Austin, Texas. She has more than 20 years of experience managing a professional massage practice and is an NCBTMB-approved continuing education provider.
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