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News in Brief
New President / CEO Takes Office at Yo San University. Electroacupuncture for Constipation?
A Letter to the Profession from the New President at AAAOM
Volunteering for a national, nonprofit organization brings with it such highs, lows, and accomplishments, as well as a steep learning curve.
Assessing Core Stability and ROM: 5 Basic Checks
One of the first steps in addressing core stability is assessing static posture, ranges of motion, and motion of the pelvic bones, sacrum, femurs, lumbar spine and thoracic spine.
A Simple Protocol for Holiday Stress
It's winter, a time when we should be deep in reflection, eating warming foods and sleeping long hours. Following nature's rhythms, we restore our bodies and minds in preparation for the renewal of spring.
Overuse Injuries in Young Athletes (Pt. 2)
Most overuse injuries are benign, but there are some high-risk injuries that, if unrecognized or inappropriately treated, can result in significant loss in time from the sport or even require leaving the sport.
All Fiber Is Not Created Equal
Sometimes the best place to start is at the end. So, the conclusion of this article is that all fiber is good ... but some fiber is better. Let's break it down. There are two main types of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
What We Can Learn From Spine Surgery
Patients with lumbar stenosis presumably present for conservative care to improve their quality of life and avoid surgery. However, providing clear guidance to these patients can be difficult for a number of reasons.
End of an Era Looms at NYCC
New York Chiropractic College recently announced that Dr. Frank Nicchi will retire in August 2017 after 36 years with the college, the past 17 as president.
Chiro School Reunion: Whatever Happened to...?
I opened the door to the closet slowly, carefully, since I knew it contained a large number of precariously stacked file boxes. It also held numerous outdated gizmos with electrical cords of various lengths that could trip or strangle a person.
2016: A Year in the Life of Acupuncture
Happy Holidays, may you, your family and friends have peace, joy and blessings throughout this special time of year. As 2016 comes to a close, we can look back and celebrate the many events and accomplishments for the profession of acupuncture.
Another Chance to Make a Difference
Just a few months ago, "the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Hurricane Sandy" hit Louisiana. During this storm, one area experienced 31 inches of rain in 15 hours as almost 7 trillion gallons of water rained down in just one week across the state.
Dedicated to Defending Chiropractic
Whether you're a veteran DC or a first-trimester student, the name George McAndrews should be part and parcel of your professional vernacular, as familiar as the word chiropractic.
Herbs for Digestion: The Power of Bitter
Many cultures (and indeed herbal clinicians) around the world have long respected the role of bitter herbs and foods for promoting digestion. For example, aperitifs – drinks consumed before a meal to stimulate appetite and digestion – were originally derived from bitter herbs.
Little Sticker, Big Impact
It's the end of an election year. Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump were the subject of conversation for everyone, everywhere for the entire 2016 calendar year. I don't think any of us can deny that this election affected us all very deeply on a personal level.
A Q & A About Updated Codes
Yes, indeed there was an update to ICD-10 on Oct.1, 2016. This is a regular update to the diagnosis coding system and this type of update will occur every Oct. 1, just as it did when the ICD-9 system was in place.
Southwest Acupuncture College Brings It to Division 1 Athletes
When Michael Phelps' photograph with the distinctive round marks left by cupping went viral, the Division 1 student athletes treated through the Dal Ward Athletic Center at the University of Colorado (CU) could relate.
Branding: Set Your Practice Apart
Dr. Brad started his practice seven years ago on a shoestring budget. He created his generic logo in five minutes using a website because he didn't have the time to figure out how to make something special.
Meshing TCM With Environmental Pediatrics: Where's the Overlap?
Pediatrics has a long history within Chinese medicine dating back to the late Han dynasty (i.e., the late 200s CE), with the two primary areas of emphasis being herbal medicine and xiao er tui na (pediatric massage).
Can a Multivitamin Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence?
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multivitamin supplements in cancer prevention. However, with respect to preventing breast cancer recurrence, an important study was published in the Journal of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment in 2011 by Kwan ML, et al.
6 Steps to Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet
People often ask me what defines success. Success, for me, is simple: doing exactly what you want to do in life. Whether it's the kind of practice you run, your life at home, your hobbies or something else, it's achieving anything you put your mind to.
DVT: Know the Signs and You Could Save a Life
I lost a friend several months ago. He died from a pulmonary embolism (PE) secondary to a deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) that originated in his lower leg. Bobby was in his mid-60s, soft-spoken and had a big heart.
A First for the Profession: CCE Accredits First Chiropractic Residencies
The Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) has awarded accreditation to all five chiropractic residency programs currently administered at Veterans Administration facilities, "the first residency programs in the nation ever to be awarded this distinction, a significant advancement in the evolution of chiropractic education," according to a VA press release announcing the milestone.
Molecular Motors: Tiny Machines Behind the Rhythm of Life
In the clinic, we aim to restore healthy patterns of movement for qi that has gotten trapped or misdirected, or may have even collapsed. We may be focused on freeing stagnation, releasing heat or redirecting counterflow qi, but it often comes down to helping re-establish a flow of sorts.
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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