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Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
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.