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Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
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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