ADVOCATE FOR MASSAGE THERAPY AS A RECOGNIZED & RESPECTED HEALTHCARE PROFESSION
How are you doing?
By Dagmar Growe
Thank you to all of you who responded to our question we posted in February. It provided some interesting insights into the challenges and opportunities our members have been facing during COVID-19. As expected, a number of LMTs saw their business evaporate overnight, especially those who specialized in the corporate and mobile massage. Many of you felt for various reasons uncomfortable to resume practice, and are struggling to make ends meet. We know that many LMTs have opted not to renew their licenses and are moving either temporarily or permanently out of the profession.
But we also learned from some for whom COVID-19 created new opportunities. The decreased number of massage therapists has created a new demand for therapists. Patients and employers alike are looking for therapists. Most patients, especially those who have been vaccinated, have no hesitancy to receive massage therapy. Wearing a mask has become standard practice. Many of us have created efficient cleaning protocols.
If you are one of those who have rebuilt their business from scratch, if you are unhappy with the working conditions in your current place of work, or if you are simply just looking for a change, I encourage you to sign up for our annual conference: Sustaining and Growing Your Business in Tough Times: Thinking Outside the Box During the Pandemic.
We are looking forward to connecting with you at the annual meeting. Until then please feel free to send us your questions and comments - we love to hear from you.
Here is one especially encouraging story from a fellow LMT that responded.
I hope this finds you well.
I appreciate being a part of this organization.
When Covid closed my practice in March of 2020, it was some hard learning and uncertainty about Covid itself and what it means to be in the healthcare profession during a pandemic, and "should I even be open?" However I was fortunate to receive unemployment and I'm so grateful for that.
I opened again in August 2020. The pandemic brought new costs, new complexity, new waivers, screening, and continual adaptation to what will work best for relative covid safety. Fortunately, at least to my knowledge, nobody that has come to my office nor myself contracted Covid.
The lengths I went to educate myself and change my office and shared office suite area brought about an unexpected change. I raised my rates and for the first time, I feel solid in my fee, and have felt completely unapologetic or sheepish. Also, the risk to myself and doing the private practice anyway also gave me a greater sense of value in the work I provide people. What also contributed to this, I believe, is that so many other therapists were not working and people were happy and grateful to find that my doors were open. More demand than ever.
Feeling like I'm in demand does give me more confidence to do what I feel I need to do for the sake of the person's session, not for expectations of clients that I think I had spent too much time unconsciously being snagged in, people pleaser that I've been most of my life.
Being in demand also had a few other byproducts. I started having to say on my website "please plan for your therapy as appointment availability may be 2-3 weeks." This statement was out of kindness and necessity, but I stopped getting requests for same day appointments.
And then I noticed that most clients coming in this year mostly all had more seasoned expectations of bodywork; the cost, how many sessions it takes, etc., and they were already inclined to return regularly, understanding bodywork's process well.
That's been really nice!
Surprisingly to me, when I put on my website that I am not open to new clients at this time, it did not stop people from contacting me and asking me to put them on a waitlist for when I do open up. What a shock. A really sweet shock.
Thanks for asking, I hope this was in some way helpful.
Wishing you well,
Broehe Karpenko, LMT, CCSP
(Broehe rhymes with Zoey....she/her)
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Advocate for Massage Therapy as a Recognized & Respected Healthcare Profession