resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Treating Beyond Pain
More often than not, when a patient presents to the office, it is for a pain complaint. Headache, neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel... The pain is often the focus of the patient's mindset, and they don't often have any thought of what comes after the pain.
The Way We Are Designed: A Conversation with Gil Hedley, PhD
I was first introduced to the work of Gil Hedley by Tom DiFerdinando. He gifted me Gil's DVD series.
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.
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.
Recreational Cannabis Use and TCM
Many people are drawn to cannabis for its effects physically, mentally and emotionally. Medically, cannabis has some legitimate uses, however the scope of this article is limited to the recreational use of cannabis.
The Dietary Supplement Research Dilemma
I do not care what the truth is, one way or another; I just want to know it. And when it comes to dietary supplements, the truth can be hard to find for a number of reasons.
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.
Synergy Doesn't Happen in Silos: Acupuncture in Hospitals and Other Healthcare Settings
As acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine continue to intersect and integrate with biomedical approaches, the conversation about integration expands and becomes richer.
Will You Be an Amplifer or a Mute?
These times are changing, and changing quickly. There have been many challenges to this profession throughout the past few years. The challenge is to talk, then talk and talk some more about this medicine.
Converting More Patients to Your Practice
In 2013 and 2014, the theme was "the money is in the list." This meant that if you had a big email list, you were really making some "cha-ching." Unfortunately, having thousands of emails doesn't equate to thousands of dollars in profit.
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.
TCM Congress in Rothenburg is Largest in Western World
In the medieval town of Rothenburg, deep set within the Bavarian countryside in Southern Germany, the TCM Kongress Rothenburg each year draws around 1.200 participants from more than 40 different countries to attend the biggest TCM conference in the Western world.
The Need for a New Medical Model: A Challenge for Biopsychosocial and Ecopsychologica Medicine
Chinese medicine speaks of alignment between humans, heaven and earth. It is a complex view with a focus upon relationship. These are comprehensive ideas with no specific terms in contemporary medical practice.
A Well-Kept Secret: 5 Element Acupuncture, Part II
Supervising acupuncture interns at a TCM college, it has always struck me how funny it is to hear the clinic manager tell the patients that the Five Element clinic specializes in treating emotions, as if patients with physical pain have no emotions!
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.
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.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
There Really is No Room for Sexism
Recently, Matteo* (a transgender male) approached me during a break in an advanced shiatsu class in Berlin where he was one of two men in a group of 20 women. "Pamela. Don't forget to remind the translator to include male endings."
An Excerpt from TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics
This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Jamie Wu. TCM Case Studies: Pediatrics was released in 2014 by People's Medical Publishing House.
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.)
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.