resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Dysautonomia: The Medical Condition You May Already Be Treating
TCM practitioners have spent thousands of years healing patients without knowing or needing the names of their diseases as defined by allopathic medicine. We have syndrome names that are both poetic and efficient.
First Annual ICD-10 Updates Take Effect
Yes, there was an update to ICD-10 codes on Oct. 1. It was a regular update to the diagnosis coding system and will take place every Oct. 1, just as it did when the ICD-9 system was in place.
National Board Apologizes for Testing Issues
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) has issued a formal apology following a series of computer-based testing malfunctions that impacted two separate examinations (March and June 2016) and caused "widespread confusion and frustration" to the nearly 1,500 examinees taking the tests.
Using the Lens of Chinese Medicine
One of the most common medications I see in clinical practice on a daily basis is fluoxetine or Prozac. Consequently, I hear many complaints concerning the side effects of this medication and am frequently asked by patients to help manage these side effects with acupuncture and Chinese medicine.
Getting Paid by Medicare Is Getting a Major Adjustment
The 2015 Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) was signed into law to implement a new approach to clinician payments and replace the Sustainable Growth Rate formula.
U.S. Olympians Have a DC in Their Corner
It's probably old news to you that doctors of chiropractic play an increasingly prominent role in treating athletes, from youth sports participants to weekend warriors, to elite / professional competitors.
Pediatric Asthma: A Case Study
I have had very good success with pediatric asthma, combining acupuncture with Chinese herbal products. Treatment is given over four to eight months, twice monthly, with herbal formulas rotated every month.
Four Ways to Attract Patients
Acupuncturist A has been in practice for six years and has struggled since day one. She spends as much time and money on marketing as she can, but since her practice is slow, her budget isn't that big.
ITB Syndrome: Treat the Tensor Fascia Latae
Iliotibial band syndrome is usually the result of repetitive knee flexion, such as in runners or cyclists. Pain may be experienced in the knee and/or the hip. The patient may express a sense of the hip dislocating, popping or snapping.
Six Things Every DC Should Know About the Zika Virus
The Zika outbreak continues to spread across the continental United States and U.S. territories. We offer this brief overview on this important public health problem for the practicing doctor of chiropractic.
Pediatric Footwear: Function Over Fashion
As practitioners, it is not uncommon for parents to bring us their children to treat or ask us questions related to the pediatric population. Children's feet tend to be a perplexing region for parents and practitioners alike.
Workers' Back Pain: Causes, Costs & Solution
You will want to share two important papers published in the past several months. Why? When read separately, each provides valuable information relevant to your patients, community and practice; together, they tell a compelling story.
Going Beyond Just Feeling Good
We all know that most patients come to us for some pain complaint: neck pain, back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel, etc. We also all know that acupuncture is a great first-line care for these issues, as well as supporting overall health and wellness.
Treatment Success at the Won Institute
According to the World Health Organization's 2003 report titled, "Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Controlled Clinical Trials," acupuncture has been shown to improve many physical, emotional, and mental conditions.
Treating Peripheral Neuropathy: Multi-Faceted Approach Including Laser Therapy
Peripheral neuropathy affects at least 20 million people in the United States1 and nearly 60 percent of all people with diabetes suffer from diabetic neuropathy. Many suffer from the disorder without ever identifying the cause.
Integrative Cancer Care: Chiropractic for Chemotherapy-Induced Hiccups
Hiccups (singultus) are a frequent occurrence during cancer treatment. The cause of the hiccups may be the chemotherapy drug itself, such as Cisplatin; or the prophylactic use of corticosteroids such as Decadron, which is used to prevent nausea and/or vomiting.
Power to the Patient
Against a backdrop of splintered political parties, polarizations within nations, civil unrest, and distrust of established government (such as the growing anti-Washington, D.C. sentiment) comes the not-so-surprising finding that health care authorities and practitioners (with perhaps the exception of insurers) are turning over more and more powers to the individual patient.
Update from the International AIDS Conference
The 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, brought together more than 15,000 of the world's leading scientists, activists, funders, policy makers, and consumers from 153 countries.
Decoding the Mystery of Medical Insurance Acceptance
In the constantly evolving profession of acupuncture, one of the least understood areas is medical insurance acceptance. The profession is filled with controversy surrounding this topic: Is it ethical?
Upgrade to "Parker 2.0" in Las Vegas
Continuing your education and refining your practice: two key elements of a successful chiropractic career. Parker Seminars promises both as it celebrates its 65th anniversary in Las Vegas next February, according to Parker University President, Dr. William Morgan, and seminar consultant Dr. Mark Sanna.
Natural Cancer Prevention: Pomegranate for the Prostate
In recent years, the ingestion of pure pomegranate juice (8 ounces per day) has been shown in clinical studies with human subjects to slow, and to some degree, reverse, the progression of prostate cancer – the second leading cause of cancer death in North American men.
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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