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Is Health a De-Valued Commodity?

November 15th, 2011

By Angie Patrick

I ask you this because I have truly been taking stock of things in my life and the way I manage myself and my health. Upon further consideration, I began to realize that I am not alone in slighting my own needs, and that most Americans value their health by one simple litmus strip; OUR ABILITY TO GO TO WORK.

Many Americans are of the ingrained belief that if they can go to WORK and function in any way possible, they MUST, even if they feel like crud and are potentially contagious to others. It is called “The Don’t Call In, CRAWL In” syndrome. Our work ethics as a society truly seems to dictate whether or not we allow ourselves time to rebuild our health when viruses or colds attack.

Consider this; how many times in college or even in your older adult years have we partied a little too hard at night and then managed somehow to pour ourselves into a job the next day? And we are proud of this saying, “I can handle it, no worries! After all, I didn’t call in sick!” We KNOWINGLY push our own boundaries past the point of making sense really, especially when it comes to our health.

Another scenario; perhaps you have a chronic pain in your shoulder or hip, and you know full well you should see someone to learn what is wrong and plot a course of action, but you simply put it off while continuing to be in pain because you do not want to miss work.

Are you seeing the pattern here?

I realize we are in a recession, and I know many are concerned about losing their job. I am not advocating a mass walkout because you have stubbed your toe… What I am saying is that until we take our own health a bit more seriously and care for SELF and the needs of SELF when your health and well being are compromised, we cannot truly serve our own clients and be true to what we stand for.

I know from whence I speak on this subject.

I had a bit of a wakeup call myself as of late, and I have made a commitment to make profound changes in the way I manage myself and my health. I have lost over 50 pounds now, I am eating a balanced and sensible diet, I am moving more now than ever before, and I am slowing down when my body sends me signs I am tiring. Moreover, I am RESPECTING what signs I receive from my body, and I am working to learn more about how this machine works and what I can do to help keep it running properly.

I want to say to you it is OK to take a sick day. It is OK to stay home. YOUR HEALTH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU OWN! If your car is broken, you take a day and take it to the garage. If your plumbing goes out, you sit at home and wait for a plumber. Here is the kicker…. Let your cable or DSL go on the blink and it is a major crisis! In all honesty, none of these this means ANYTHING if you are not caring for yourself, first and foremost.

It is cold and flu season. Do your co workers and clients a HUGE favor and STAY HOME if you are ill! Not only are you spreading your illness to anyone around you, but it only makes you weaker to push yourself to the limit.

Allow yourself the time YOU DESERVE to care for yourself and your health. When you do this, and your clients see you take this stance, perhaps they too will feel empowered to take their own health a bit more seriously. After all, is that not what we want them to do?

As for me, I have a new attitude, a new physique, a new commitment to being healthy and preserving my health as long as possible. Won’t you join me?

WE ARE WORTH THE INVESTMENT!

View more of Angie Patrick’s articles at Massage Today.

Is Saving Money COSTING You Money?

August 16th, 2011

by Angie Patrick

Strange question, Angie! How on Earth can SAVING money actually COST you money? As improbable and counter intuitive as that statement may seem, there is some truth in there that can be easily overlooked, and cost you big bucks on your bottom line. There are smart ways to save, and there are ways that are not so smart. Let’s start with the not so smart ways first.

If, for the sake of saving a few shekels, you have backed off of your service level, needed staffing, benefit programs, multiple visit discounts or any other program you had in place to differentiate your business from your competition, you have cost yourself money. Why, you ask? Well, you have built your business on the backs of all of those things you are now looking to cut. Without them, will customers perceive you as the same company, or will they search elsewhere for the service, perks, and discounts you used to offer? Yes, you may save cash in the short term, but if you calculate the cost of obtaining a customer, plus the cost of keeping them, you will find that cutting in the wrong places has cost you far more than you may have thought you saved! Customers are golden, and losing one hurts not only for the moment, but for the long haul. If you ever want to reclaim that customer, it will now cost you twice what it did to gain them in the first place as now you need to incentivize them to return, which leads to surrendering your profit margin to correct an error on your part for giving them a reason to look elsewhere.

Consider even the smallest cuts and how they will be percieved. If your clients are accustomed to a lovely cup of herb tea or bottled water after their treatment, they consider it part of the experience you provide. Cutting this is tantamount to cutting service level in the eyes of your client, as they have now become accustomed to the perk. Without it, they may perceive your business as failing, and have a small excuse to look elsewhere. Once they do, and are successful, you have now lost a client over a cup of tea /bottle of water. You saved 20 bucks at the store, but you lost a client and therefore revenue totaling far more than tea for 100 people. Sounds small, I know, but EVERYTHING is about perception. You may well be the most magical and amazing therapist on the planet. You could even make people levitate with your skills, but if you begin to let your client see you tightening the belt on their experience, you will lose them. It is that simple.

Find other ways to save without sacrificing anything to do with the client perception of your business. Smarter ways to cut back are ways that impact your personal knowledge of the business, not cutting in the eyes of the client. One way may be to look at your expenses, and see if you can consolidate some of them. Let’s take a look at how you might be able to do this without much upheaval in your daily life.

Take a long look at your vendors. Is it possible to combine your purchases and consolidate 3 vendors to one? In our hometown, you can get special incentives and discounts when you bundle all of your utilities into one package. I save about 20% when I utilize this service, and while I did have to pay a set up fee, I can lessen my monthly bill and therefore free up regular cash flow.

Read more at Massage Today

New Chocolate Therabath Exclusively at Massage Warehouse and New Life Systems

July 6th, 2011

Therabath                               Chocolate Therabath 

Indulge in Chocolate with the Therabath Professional Paraffin Bath
Massage Warehouse and New Life Systems to Release the New Chocolate Therabath Paraffin Bath in July

A favorite of health, wellness and beauty professionals for more than 40 years, Therabath Professional Paraffin Products (WR Medical Electronics Co.) is launching a new premium line of Professional Paraffin Baths this Fall beginning with the New Chocolate Therabath exclusive to Massage Warehouse and New Life Systems in July.

“The chocolate-brown outer-case and black aluminum-anodized inner-tank adds class and sophistication to the classic white paraffin baths that have been in the market for decades,” says Elisabeth Thorn, Sales and Marketing Manager for WR Medical Electronics Co. Therabath Division. “Think rich cherry woods, dark granite surfaces and plush, decadent furniture – the new Chocolate Therabath feels like an extension of the stylized office you have already created to comfort your clients.”

The Chocolate Therabath will be shipping with a Limited Lifetime Warranty – an extension over the current 5 year warranty shipping with the standard Therabath units – as well as 9lbs of Therabath Professional Refill paraffin in your choice of 4 scents (unscented, Wintergreen, Lavender Harmony or PeachE).

The TherabathPRO Paraffin Hot Wax Bath provides one of the most effective methods of applying heat therapy and delivering fast, drug-free relief of painful arthritis, bursitis and chronic joint inflammation. Penetrating paraffin wax heat therapy relaxes sore, tired muscles, relieves stiffness and muscle spasms. Twice as beneficial, hot paraffin wax therapy stimulates circulation as well as moisturizing and nourishing dry skin. Therabath delivers temporary relief from minor pain and softens hands and feet.

Made in the USA since 1962, Therabath Professional Paraffin Bath units are manufactured to FDA Class II Medical device standards ensuring safety and reliability. A detachable cord and integrated handles make the Therabath the most portable paraffin bath in the market. The most current model, Therabath TB6, features an energy-efficient design including an Always Safe Temperature Range melt system for safe, reliable 24-hour operation. Units comfortably accommodate hands, wrist, feet (up to men’s size 14), ankles, elbows, knees and more!

Positive Trend in Massage Conferencing

July 1st, 2011

I am Beginning to See a Trend….
By Angie Patrick

I just got back in from the Florida State Massage Therapy Association Annual Convention in Orlando. Not only did I see all my old and dear friends, but I am DELIGHTED to say I made MANY,  MANY new ones!

While this does not seem to be extraordinary in and of itself, it does show me a definite trend in massage conferencing I am in high hopes will continue to grow and develop.

At the last two Massage Conference / Conventions I have attended, < The AMC and FSMTA> I have seen an influx of new people coming out who have never experienced a trade show before. These are practicing massage therapists who have never had exposure to a conference or tradeshow floor before. This is a VERY good thing for the massage industry, because it means that people who had not been active in the community are now branching out and learning how involvement can benefit us all.

My litmus test for this new trend is quite simply, our orders. Our company would have <arguably> one of the largest repositories of massage therapist data in the country. If someone works in the massage field, the chances are strong we have their name address and phone number. That being said, we have averaged 25-30% of our total orders being that of people who are not already in our databases. THIS IS HUGE! This is something we have not seen in years, and it is a trend that will be welcomed news by massage associations, distributors, vendors and manufacturers alike.

I am especially encouraged as I am seeing a rise in spending by therapists at shows. The last two years have been hard on many economically, and with an increase < albeit slight> in spending at trade shows, I am hopeful this is heralding in a stronger industry trend upward. While I am not saying we are back to the levels we saw in 2007-08, I am saying I am becoming ever more hopeful with the positive signs I am seeing in the marketplace.

I am also excited to see the level of participation from massage STUDENTS! This is a virtually untapped market of folks eager and hungry for information. As evidenced at the last two student events I have attended, the attendance is rising and we are doing a better job overall of bringing these new peers into the community. The FSMTA has SUCCESSFUL START, and this is really a powerhouse event! The American Massage Conference has the SMART FROM THE START event, and it was also a huge success. Finding and informing massage students about events such as this is a challenge, so growth in this tier is truly exciting.

Forward momentum and a unified community will help us reach our industry goals. Being part of the massage community for me is a blessing. I have met and had the pleasure to work with so many gifted and amazing people. If you have never been to a conference, I encourage you to go! It is an experience not to be missed as the opportunity for education and savings on massage products and massage equipment is substantial. Completely worth the price of admission!

Read more posts by Angie Patrick at Massage Today.

American Massage Conference

June 6th, 2011

In The Afterglow…

By Angie Patrick

Two weeks after the first ever American Massage Conference, and I am still trying to wrap my mind around what happened last week!

In Atlanta, Georgia, there was a shift…A shift in thinking, a shift in doing, a shift in energy, and a shift in being. The weekend was filled with amazing education with classrooms at standing room only capacity, and educators that are rock stars in their field.
The energy of the event was high, and filled with unity and camaraderie unlike anything I had been part of before. The sense of community was palpable in the air, and people took time to share of themselves with one another.

I think this is in part because of the strength of social media, and the need for people to interact not only online, but in person. The Friday Facebook Pirate Party, hosted by our Beloved Cap’n Phil Mattison, and sponsored by Core Products and Tom Heidenberger of Bon Vital was the talk of the show! People who are “friends” on Facebook had a great opportunity to network and meet face to face many the people they know and follow in the industry. There were prizes, contests, give aways, and more, and it was one of the many shining highlights of the show. For me, this event brought into clear perspective the need we all have to be among peers, despite differences in opinion, belief, philosophy, economic standing, or any other thing that can divide us. At this party, we were all “friends”, whether we had ever met in person before or not.

This speaks to the human desire to be a part of something; something bigger than just themselves. It is to be part of ONE in which we all belong. We are ONE community, working to make the world a closer, more united body. We are here to preserve that which is precious. This includes many things, but focuses on our planet, our community, our industry, interpersonal relationships and our humanity.

All of the event sponsors, educators, vendors, attendees and volunteers have my unending thanks for rolling the dice on a new concept in conferencing. The ONE Concept Conferencing methodology, being an untried model, could have had some interesting reception in the community. To be the “FIRST” to do anything is both brave and foolish… but in order to accomplish a thing, someone has to go first. THANK YOU for seeing the value in the concept and for being supporters of our first volley. It is because of YOU that YOUR conference was a success with the following being our final breakdown of attendance.

The numbers are IN…..1615

838 Paid registrants
149 Volunteers
266 student registrations
212 Vendors/Presenters/Staff
150 (app) unregistered walk ins

So with these results I think it is important to let you know we also hit the demographic we hoped to reach. Through the amazing marketing efforts of MPA Media, the ABMP, Massage Warehouse, our Educators and the AMC, we were able to draw significant numbers of people who had never experienced a trade show before, and who were new to our massage community. This gave them an opportunity to see what the market and community can offer them, and it gave vendors an opportunity to reach brand new potential clients. This is a wheel that continually turns, and bringing the newest members of our massage community to the AMC was one of our goals.

Plans are already in the works for our SAN DIEGO event, April 20-22, 2012 at the Town and Country Resort. You can expect more incredible networking opportunities, more stellar education, more fun, more fellowship, and more surprises!

Thank you for making this event so memorable, and we are ready for round two!!!

Other articles on Massage Today.

Dr. Cohen’s Acuball

May 26th, 2011

Dr. Cohen’s Acuball – As Seen on the Doctor Oz Show

How it works:

The Acuball’s patented design features apply 100% natural acupressure and heat:

1) relaxes tight muscles,

2) enhances joint movement,

3) reduces nervous system irritation,

4) stimulates blood flow to flush out built up muscle wastes,

5) releases natural painkillers and sedatives,

6) improves nervous system energetic flow.

The Acuball’s specially designed acupoints and heat stimulate blood flow. This increases circulation, helping to ‘flush out’ built up toxins that accumulate in tight muscles causing pain. As these toxins release over time the muscle itself relaxes. Direct pressure from the acupoints also massages muscle and mobilizes joints, further enhancing pain free body movement.

The acupoints also stimulate your Central Nervous System, like acupuncture does, to release natural painkilling, relaxing and mood enhancing chemicals like enkephalins and endorphins. Because of this, people who use the Acuball in bed, before retiring for the evening, often report enhanced feelings of relaxation and deeper sleep.

When you use the Acuball on a tender area, you’ll notice that after three or four 20 minute sessions it’s a lot less tender than when you first started. Now you know why: wastes have been flushed out, muscle has been relaxed, joints have been mobilized, and your nervous system is much less irritated…and so are you!

The Acuball’s Unique Design Features

The Acuball’s effectiveness is the result of a number of unique design features:

1) Heatability

If you like the feeling of heat on tight sore muscles, you’ll love the Acuball’s unique patented heating ability. You certainly don’t have to heat it, many people use it at room temperature, but you should try it.  People have remarked countless times that they love the sensation of deep penetrating warmth on sore, achy muscles. Many people love taking a heated Acuball to bed with them.

Why does it feel so good when it’s heated?

Heat expands muscles, causing blood vessels to open up, bringing more blood to tight areas.

This increased blood flow flushes out accumulated wastes, calming irritated nerves and loosening muscles back to their normal relaxed state.

2) Spine Align Belt for Releasing Tight Vertebrae

Many spinal problems come from tight muscles which cause vertebra to lock together, ‘jamming up’ instead of flowing freely. The Spine Align Belt, a precision molded groove running around the middle of the Acuball, allows you to lie directly on the Acuball – opening and loosening your spine one vertebra at a time.

Like pulling an accordion open, this helps to ‘free up’ your spine all the way from your low back up to the top of your neck. The acupoints at the side of the Spine Align Belt also give an acupressure treatment to the important postural muscles running along both sides of your spine (the erector spine muscles), allowing them to open and relax.

Better spinal motion, improved Central Nervous System flow (since your Central Nervous System runs through your spine) and improved posture result.

The area where your neck meets the back of your head is a key area for wellness enhancement. Why? Because it is here that your brain exits your skull and becomes your spinal cord, transmitting vital information to every part of your body. Any tightness here affects your brain’s ability to optimally communicate with your body, so you want this area to be as loose and flexible as possible. Because we spend so much time with our heads bent forward – working, computing and care-giving this area is almost always tight. The Spine Align Belt allows you to open this crucial area, which as you’ll experience for yourself, feels truly wonderful.

 3) Dual Stimulation Zones for Large & Small Muscles

The zone on the bottom of the Acuball has multiple smaller acupoints for doing lighter work like releasing tight muscles in your scalp, face and temples or massaging your child. The larger acupoints on the rest of the Acuball are for deeper work like loosening larger muscles in your neck, legs, hips and low back.

Dr. Cohen’s Acuball Mini

The Acuball-mini’s smaller nibs and harder feel make it perfect for releasing tight muscles in the smaller muscle groups of the body such as the feet, hands, shoulders, upper back, arms and forearms. It is particularly effective in the feet for relieving painful conditions like plantar fascitis.  Athletes (golfers, runners, tennis players) use the Acuball-mini before their activity to loosen problem areas in their feet, shoulders or arms to enhance muscle performance and reduce risk of injury. It’s also an excellent massage tool – try massaging your friend’s shoulders and neck with it!

Dr. Cohen’s Acuball Kit

Kit includes the Acuball, Acuball Mini, 190 page instructional book and 60-minute

Separating Business from Pleasure…

May 19th, 2011

By Angie Patrick

In the past weeks, I have had two emails asking me advice. In both instances the Massage Therapist is asking me how I would suggest handling friends and family as a client, especially when they sometimes pay less for the same work, and often do not show up for appointments on time.

I can certainly see how having family and friends as massage clients can be beneficial, but then you have to also consider the “dark side” if you have friends and family that really push the envelope and take special allowances because they “know you”. It can put you in a very difficult position indeed and finding a way to salvage the friendship while putting your foot down can be a daunting task.

If you find this is happening to you, and you can read the words above and identify completely, then you need to read below. You can have business and pleasure together, but there have to be some lines of delineation drawn. Once you have these parameters set up, then you should be able to either enjoy working on the friends and family that can respect your position or you can politely cull those who have questionable regard for your livelihood from the herd.

One thing you can do before entering into any kind of “friendly” client arrangement would be to make sure you are crystal clear in your expectations, and that you communicate this to your friend or family. Be sure you take the time to explain while you are so glad you have that person in your world, you also have a massage business to run. Set the ground rules up front about timeliness and cancellations, and set a fair price from the start. If you choose to discount, that is certainly your prerogative, but be sure you stand fast on this. Waffling is weakness, and it is bad business. While you are trying to dance around and save the feelings of a friend, you are spending time on something other than growing your massage business with full paying customers. Be concise and clear from the start and avoid this dilemma.

If you are already in a relationship with a “friendly” client that is wearing on you and you feel you are being taken advantage of, then it is high time for a face to face conversation among friends about your feelings. Honesty, regardless how painful, is always the best policy. Friends and family may not even be aware they are impinging on your professional livelihood, and may well be open to listening and working to make things better.

When you have these conversations, summon your courage and make the following points:

  • You love that person.
  • You want to speak with them about a difficult subject, but you hope the relationship is strong enough to be wholly honest.
  • Massage is not a hobby for you, it is your career.
  • Management of your time is paramount to you and to your practice. When the client runs late, you cannot adjust the remainder of your calendar to accommodate the single late client. You hold this rule with the rest of your massage clients, and you need to have the same hold true for them as well.
  • Because you want them to benefit from massage and from the education you have obtained, you would like to set them up on a regular basis, and for this massage treatment your pricing will be _____________.

If after this conversation, the person is less than understanding of your point of view, and does not see it as a problem, then it may be time to make some hard choices and politely refer them to another massage therapist for treatment. I know that sounds hard to do, but in the long run, it may be best for you, your practice, and your peace of mind. Ultimately, it is up to you how lenient you wish to be with friends and family. You may be able to handle the issue with no troubles! But for others, it is not so easy. Taking some steps at the onset of the relationship can prevent an issue later, and being honest with yourself and your client about expectations and pricing can alleviate misunderstandings leading to angst on your part.

If you have faced situations similar to this, share with us how you worked things out. More people than you may realize find themselves in this boat, and could likely use some additional pointers and tips in how to hand it.

In the mean time, love your family, love your friends, and be sure to draw your lines clearly whenever the twain shall meet.

Other articles on Massage Today.

Massage Business Building Blocks

May 2nd, 2011

Business Building Blocks

By Angie Patrick

Massage Equipment Amortization 101

At some point in our lives, we have all had an expectation that was proven to be unrealistic in the normal course of life. This might be expectations we have from family, from friends, from our car, maybe our relationships, even down to the products we buy. I think it is only human; we all want what we want, when we want it, and how we want it. It is the society we live in and it is an incredibly common happening.

While I am no expert in on human behavior or interpersonal skills, I am an expert on products. And I have had the good fortune to be in this business for over a decade and have pretty vast experience with various manufacturers, products and suppliers. I have seen things happen to therapists and spas in the course of business that could be easily avoided with a little information. Below is some insider information intended to help make buying massage products and equipment a bit easier, whether it be from a supplier or direct from a manufacturer.

Tips on Buying Goods

Buying goods should be a task in which you have full confidence. I believe buying Professional Grade Products can help you make certain your products can withstand the rigors of professional repeated usage. Manufacturers and suppliers want nothing more than to please a client. (It is our prime directive!) But sometimes meeting those expectations are not so easy.

A product warranty is a miraculous thing. Most Professional Grade Products offer a limited or lifetime warranty to protect the buyer against manufacturer defects or shortcomings. These are especially handy when something breaks down within the warranty timeframe, and you can get a replacement or repair in a timely fashion. Often, the warranty is offered as a safety net for the buyer, given the buyer follows and complies with all usage directions and procedures.

And while manufacturers should have no problem whatsoever in caring for items in the marketplace still under warranty, there is always a segment of customers who have overinflated expectations about product performance. The purpose in sharing the following scenarios with you is not to say there are any issues with particular products, rather to point out some common unrealistic expectations of product performance.

Scenario One

Customer: “I am very disappointed with my massage sheets (XYZ product), I am seeing them begin to pill and fade, and I want my money back.”

Me: “Oh I am so sorry to hear you are dissatisfied, let me pull your order up in my system so we can get your issue handled.”

After a few moments of searching for the XYZ product in the order history, the manufacturer notices they purchased the item in January 2009.

Me: “I am looking in the account, and I see this was purchased in January 2009.”

Customer: “That’s right! I cannot believe how these things are showing wear, I am very disappointed with the quality. What can you do for me here?”

Me: “Well, how many times a week are these used?”

Customer: “4-5 times a week, we launder them often.”

Me: “And just to confirm your usage of these items since 2009 is that correct?”

Customer: “Correct”

After some quick calculations, I came to the following conclusions:

107 weeks in usage
535 washings
535 clients
Original cost: $14.99
Cost Per Client Use: .03 cents per client

I shared this with the customer, and suddenly they saw things in a whole new light. Even cars depreciate after two and a half years. And they are not laundered every day! Suddenly, someone who was very disappointed with the product in the beginning was impressed with the same item, once they considered how much use it had provided. They purchased more massage sheets happily. They began to see the product replacement after due course of usage as a cost of doing business rather than a failure of manufacturing or supply.

Expecting items to last forever with daily and repeated usage is unrealistic. Just as people age, so do products. One way to see if you have actually received substantial benefit from your investment is to amortize the cost of your product across the number of clients seen since you purchased it.

Another thing to consider is timing. Consider this, you have bought an inflatable Christmas decoration from the Big Box Store down the street and have used it for the past two seasons. Now, in season three, it no longer inflates. But the likelihood of getting a replacement is really remote since it is three years since your purchase, and it might not occur to many to even try. It is accepted that things wear out, or can deteriorate with poor storage and lack of usage.

Scenario Two

A customer is opening up a new location, and has ordered various massage equipment from various manufacturers. The items arrived, but are not inspected before they are signed – stating they are in good condition. They are put into a room to store until the location opens, which may well be two or three months later. These items may need to be moved within a facility a couple of times before the facility is ready to open.

Nearer the opening date, the items are finally opened and it is found the item may be damaged due to shipping, the wrong color, or even non-functional. Obviously, this is a problem. However, because it was not inspected upon receipt, months have now gone by, and the opportunities to file any claims with the shipping company have long passed. Additionally, if the product is just simply the wrong color, or not what you expected, you will likely now have to pay the shipping back to the manufacturer and possibly pay a restocking fee. This is the best argument I can provide for taking the time to inspect your equipment upon arrival and ensure it is in working order. Once you have stored it for months, moved it from room to room, it is very hard to prove an item was improperly working from the start. Many manufacturers are now cracking down on this type of return.

A business owner/manager/director should be responsible to make sure the items arrive in-tact. If something looks amiss, the packaging is damaged, do not sign the paperwork that says everything is fine without notating on the delivery slip that there are problems with the packaging. Notating it can help the manufacturer file a claim and get your issue resolved far faster with this information, but you have to let the manufacturer know upon delivery. If too much time passes, it will be harder to get your issue resolved. Also, if you are buying equipment that must be assembled, a smart rule of thumb is to do it in the first 30 days following purchase. The reason for this is to be proactive and report any issues with your equipment in a timely fashion to the manufacturer or supplier you have utilized, and gain resolution proactively rather than a delayed report months down the line.

Making sure your business runs efficiently is in large part dependent on the products you utilize. Taking a moment to consider the information in this article can help you make sure your next expansion goes well with your equipment and product needs. They may also help you determine if there is a basis for complaining about performance or whether it may just be time to replace your goods. As with most suppliers and manufacturers, the whole reason we exist is to serve our customers.

I hope the scenarios I shared can provide you a behind-the-scenes glance of what may be entailed in a return and how you can help yourself (and the manufacturer) by notating and documenting issues, while considering the age and longevity of usage. No doubt your massage supplier will work hard to provide you the best service possible, and that is made far easier by utilizing these tips along the way!

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Raw Material Costs on the Rise for the Massage and Spa Industry

April 26th, 2011

Raw Material Costs on the Rise

April 21, 2011

By Angie Patrick

Some might say, “So What, Angie? I am not a manufacturer, this will not impact me!”

Ahhh,… not so! It impacts everyone, even in places you weren’t expecting! Let me share with you a quick snapshot of some of the manufacturing landscape and how it might impact your bottom line.

Raw materials are the components purchased from all over the globe that enable manufacturers to create and produce the items we use everyday. It is a delicate balance that industry strikes when it comes to manufacturing goods while remaining competitively priced for the finished goods. In the last quarter, there have been some tell tale signs that some of the items commonly used in the Massage industry may become a bit more pricey, or worse yet, unavailable entirely. This can impact you and your practice in a few ways. Below are a couple of things you may begin to see in the marketplace.

The Argentinean Jojoba crops, which are a significant percentage of the world jojoba crops, were damaged by frost this year. Ordinarily, one might expect the plants to bounce back and thrive, albeit a bit later than usual. Unfortunately for us, the frost hit at a crucial time in the growth cycle of the plant, damaging it at the seed pod level. Once they sustained freeze damage, many of the soon-to-be-plants died. This loss was unrecoverable, and thus the price for Raw Jojoba Oil has skyrocketed. This has been reported to be a temporary situation, but it can likely impact product production nationwide.

Many massage lubricants depend on Jojoba, as it is a magnificent product for the skin, and a go-to ingredient for formulators. You may begin to see some goods temporarily discontinued, and for those remaining on the market, you could in fact see a slight price increase. This is the nature of business when you manufacture goods and depend on crops for your raw ingredients. My advice, buy jojoba now, especially if you love to use pure jojoba oil. Given the shelf life is years and years as long as it is stored properly, it is a good buy that will keep well.

Mother Nature impacts us in many ways and it extends to the world cotton supply as well. The cost of cottonhas been on a steady increase over the last three years, varying from $.40 cents per pound to over $1.89 for completely raw goods. How does this impact the Massage and Spa industry? ALL OVER! From the spa slippers, to the robes, towels, hand cloths, and above all, Massage Sheets! These items are all pricier now than ever before to manufacture, and I have watched the market creep up slowly in terms of price to the end user.

One market that we may potentially see increase in the coming quarters may be foam production. With the unrest in the Middle East, and oil prices moving the full gamut to even exceed $5.00 per gallon some experts predict, we can almost assuredly expect the costs of foam to rise. This is in portable massage tables, massage bolsters, massage chairs, massage stools, and more. A great alternative may be soy foam in some applications, thus reducing the dependency on petroleum as a raw product.

Which brings us to oil… Oil is fluctuating at the time of this post by 2-3 dollars a gallon day by day. This means increased prices for gasoline which impacts a mobile therapist in obvious ways, as your costs for fuel to run your business is going up. But it also impacts your shipping costs for anything your purchase as well. From the grocery store, to the big-box retailers, everyone is sustaining rising shipping costs. No one is immune to this cost increase, with added fuel surcharges being assessed with each shipment of goods to distribution centers and retail outlets, it is a cost that will in many cases be felt by the end user. With this in mind, you can save some money by planning your purchases biweekly and in greater bulk. This can reduce the usage of fuel, and the need for repeated deliveries.

The world is a series of interconnected happenings that singly may not seem to Amount to a hill of beans, but when you dig into the far reaching implications as well as examine how these implications could impact you personally, you begin to see the world as it is…A living and breathing thing we all depend on in ways we may never have even considered before.

Find more articles by Angie Patrick at Massage Today.

New Traditions at the American Massage Conference

April 19th, 2011

New American Traditions
By Angie Patrick

Can you actually have a “new” tradition? Well, I guess they have to start somewhere, right? I mean, someone has to go first, and from there we build traditions. This is the same from Mom’s Thanksgiving turkey recipe to shooting rockets off at the park on the 4th of July. Someone came up with that yummy recipe, and someone thought it would be fun to shoot fireworks to celebrate our independence. Soon enough, viola, a new tradition is born.

I believe we are seeing some new traditions being born in the massage industry right now, and I am so excited to be right in the middle of the fun. The American Massage Conference is well on the way to become a mainstay on the Massage and Wellness Landscape, and some of the traditions being set are equally as exciting.

The “Facebook” party is already legendary! Recognizing the growth and importance of Social Media in the development of the massage industry and in the way we interact with one another as a vital component of networking makes sense. Providing an opportunity for all these “virtual” friends to meet and connect at a national event is something that will definitely be a mainstay in our market. Ideas are born, connections made, business opportunities arise, and friends are made at this event, and this year it will be an even bigger celebration!

The First Annual Massage Job Fair is putting down roots at the Atlanta event on May 22, 2011. This will be a smaller forum of employers across the southeast as well as nationally looking to put therapists to work. This idea was born as a direct result of the status of the economy. Through education and product support as well as job placement, the American Massage Conference is created with the Therapist in mind. AMC is working to bring you the things that have value to you. And the Job fair is one more way we can help therapists canvass and circulate in the community.

The Student Day, “SMART FROM THE START”, is on May 22 and is geared towards students and recent graduates. This informative presentation is focused on providing tips and information that can help you launch a healthy and prosperous career as a Massage Therapist. Hear from industry professionals like David Kent, GuruKirn Khalsa, Lynda Solien Wolfe, Ryan Hoyme, the one and only MASSAGE NERD, and Ann Williams of the ABMP.  And as if the information were not enough, we will also be giving away nearly $4,000.00 in prizes to those in attendance, which makes your odds of winning something fabulous very high!

The TRADE SHOW HALL is jam packed with vendors who are ready to wheel and deal. This is indeed a buying show, and the deals will be tremendous. Anyone in the area should make it a point to get to this trade show floor to get samples and hands on demonstrations with the massage products you love, as well as gain access to 30 (YES I SAID 30) One Hour CEU Classes. All this for only $40!

The a la carte menu of educational opportunities from world class educators is nothing less than stellar. You can choose your own path of courses to fill your own individual educational niche. Whether you need a few hours or many, from Modalities to Business, there is something here for everyone. Some classes have sold out, so we are working to open more! If you are planning to come and have yet to make your arrangements, I would encourage you to do so. It is filling up nicely!

All in all, some really wonderful traditions are being created and all for the better of the massage community! Join us for the festivities in Atlanta Georgia, May 20-22, 2011 at the Holiday Inn Conference Center on Capitol Avenue. See you there!

To register for the American Massage Conference, click here.