resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Why the Answers are All in the Numbers
There is an expression in our culture these days that says that numbers never lie. I'm well aware that numbers are the domain of left-brained people. As the marketing coach for massage therapists, I'm also acutely aware that massage therapists typically are far more right-brained than they are left. Nonetheless, there are things you, as an MT, can learn from numbers — especially numbers that concern themselves with your field of massage.
When I gave the keynote address at the 2006 American Massage Therapy Association national convention, I did quite a bit of research to glean the current statistics on the massage therapy industry. Those numbers were very impressive at the time. They're even more so now. Consider the numbers that follow from a recent fact sheet supplied by the AMTA, which culled this information from federal government statistics, as well as through polls conducted among both MTs and consumers.
Massage therapy is currently a whopping $10 to $11 billion industry. There are nearly 90,000 nationally certified massage therapists and bodyworkers in the U.S. According to statistics I discovered independently of the AMTA fact sheet, 55,000 new therapists are trained each year and 45,000 leave the business annually. That means that an additional 10,000 net new MTs are brought into the marketplace every 12 months. It also means that, for those MTs who stay in business as the ball drops over Times Square on New Year's Eve, there's an even greater need to think more creatively with regard to marketing their services. That's assuming, of course, that the market itself doesn't grow. If you aren't doing anything with regard to marketing, you certainly need to start, because the numbers are not stacked in your favor.
That first year in business for new MTs isn't usually a good one, making as they do, on average, $9,585. (This figure was also obtained separately from the AMTA's online fact sheet.) That income grows, of course, with experience but the majority of these wonderful bodyworkers earn just a little more than $21,000 a year, even when they're seasoned, according to the AMTA. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics show different numbers: the average income for massage therapists was $35,970 as of May of 2012. Whether you accept the AMTA's salary numbers or the Dept. of Labor's, it's no wonder then, that 53% of MTs take another job to supplement their income from the work they do on their tables.
One reason that they're not making more money is that of the 619 (average) hours of training that massage schools typically provide, only about 20 of them — which equals 3% or less, is devoted to business. How can one expect to survive in the massage business when one has spent less than half a week learning business? That's why it makes so much sense to take business-related classes for continuing education. The irony, of course, is that right-brained MTs typically gravitate to more right-brained CE courses on modalities that they can practice on their tables, instead of focusing on the left-brained business and marketing classes that they need to bring clients to those tables.
Sixty-two percent of clients don't re-book an appointment (another stat I learned elsewhere.) That's often because they're not asked to, so start asking. These statistics were compiled prior to the advent of online booking software that enables the clients of many MTs to set up their appointments in the comfort of their own homes — in their pajamas by their computers, if they like — on their therapist's website. My intuition tells me that, since the development of online booking, this statistic on the lack of re-booking has further increased.
Eighty-one percent of massage clients polled (stat found elsewhere) said that they'd be more likely to refer family and friends of theirs to a licensed massage therapist who has a website than to one who doesn't have such a presence on the Internet. If you're an MT who doesn't have a website and this statistic doesn't jump out at you and get you onto the information superhighway in a New York minute, then I'm not sure if anything ever will.
If you like working in a spa, there's some good news for you. In 2011, there were nearly 20,000 spas operating in the U.S., that's nearly double the number of Starbucks stores (11,100 in the fall of 2012). Spa revenue for that year was a whopping $13.4 billion. Better yet, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, employment prospects for massage therapists are expected to increase 23% by 2022, faster than the average for all other occupations.
Will there be clients for all those extra MTs? According to the AMTA survey, 44% of adults say that they've used massage for medical or health reasons. Of these people, more than 9 in 10 see it as an effective means for reducing pain, and of general benefit to their overall health and wellness. What's more, there is a great opportunity for the market of people getting massaged to grow: a staggering 69 percent of grown-ups in our country have denied themselves, for more than five years, the benefits that massage offers.
What can you learn from this immersion in numbers? Hopefully, your eyes didn't glaze over while reading them. If they didn't, you have much to gain. I'll sum it up simply: more than two thirds of adults are crying out for relief for what you offer. If you don't market your work, there's a great chance that you will become one of those 45,000 MTs who leave the business every year. Or you may become one of those 53% of therapists who are forced to take on another job to make sure you make the rent or don't lose your home to foreclosure.
On the other hand, if you choose to use 21st century tools, like a website and a regular electronic newsletter, you have a great chance to not only stay in business, but to thrive as well.