Thursday, February 28, 2013


A Book is much more that a Book these days

I have been fielding a lot of questions about textbooks, reference book and massage books in general lately.  I am also learning myself that a “book” is not only paper. I drive a lot and so I listen to audio books.  The readers for these books are fantastic and take me right into the story.  I read so much for work/writing books that it is a pleasure to listen.

Textbooks-at least with my publisher Elsevier-  are now LEARNING SYSTEMS. Check it out yourself -  There is the traditional paper book , the electronic book called Pageburst.   Just like owning a printed textbook you always able to access the edition of a text  purchased and downloaded. Pageburst digital books also offer a variety of unique interactive features that make traditional content more engaging.  There is even a feature where the textbook can be read to you!  If you are a teacher there is also tons of classroom tools. Pageburst is a smart, simple interface that allows access to your entire library of Elsevier digital books wherever, whenever, and however you like.

1.) Online from any computer via Evolve

 2.) Offline with downloaded titles on the Pageburst desktop app

 3.) On-the-go with a free mobile app for your Apple iOS mobile device (iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch), Android smartphone or tablet, or Kindle Fire

Then there is EVOLVE Textbook Resources

Instructors can prepare for class using lesson plans, test banks, image collections, PowerPoint® slides, TEACH educator resources, and more on the Evolve website.There is also a complete classroom management system (like blackboard) that has attendance, grade book, live chat and so much that I am still learning about.

For students the EVOLVE website expands the textbook content with additional resources, video clips and learning activities.

Then there are the ONLINE COURSES that go with a book.  They are all done—you don’t have to create anything.  I have one for Essential Sciences for Therapeutic Massage and use it at my school.  It is great even if I do say so myself.   Susan Salvo has an online course that go with her Pathology text and I use it in my Advanced Professional Massage Training course.

I just can’t believe how a “Book” is more than paper. I am becoming more comfortable with all the electronics and my students love them.  I know this post sounds like a commercial however my intent is much more than about the books I have written.  It is about the evolution of the “Book”.  

In education we need to be sensitive to textbook costs to students.  I find that many massage programs use too many books especially during entry level training.  One of my favorite sayings is” Too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing.”  Too many textbooks confuses the entry level student. I am biased certainly but I use Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage, Essential Sciences for Therapeutic Massage and the online course and Business and Professional Skills for Massage Therapists for my entry level massage training.  We use the Evolve Learning System for all the classroom tracking and communication.  The Evolve Learning System is a web-based course management and collaboration system that enables educators to manage course materials and to communicate quickly, easily, and effectively with students. The Evolve Learning System can function both as a complement to traditional courses and as a site for distance learning including webinars. With the Evolve Learning System we post documents online, such as our course syllabus; administer surveys, assessments, and tests; send and receive course mail; establish and monitor discussion forums and chat rooms; receive and grade uploaded assignments using online drop boxes; create teams for discussion or for special projects; and more.  You can check it out at the Evolve Support Portal at:


The cost to my school is nothing—and the cost for students is about $250 for everything-3 textbooks, (paper or electronic ) online course, Evolve site resources.  

I am just putting it out there that times are changing and we need to change with them.  I will be 60 years old my next birthday. Yup there is a learning curve but so what. I got a tablet for Christmas and figuring out how to use it.  My 5 year old granddaughter is helping me.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT THE 2013 AMTA Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet

A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT THE 2013 AMTA Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet

In this post I am highlighting a few of the points from the 2013 AMTA Massage Therapy Industry Fact Sheet. The link above takes you to the complete document. 

According to the fact sheet:

Today’s massage therapists are:

•Working an average of 17 hours a week providing massage. (Excludes time spent on other business tasks such as billing, bookkeeping, supplies, maintaining equipment, marketing, scheduling, etc.)

MY TAKE ON THIS:    Reporting work hours this way is confusing.  I do think this representation is a bit clearer than in past years.  What this statement means is that actual time is with hands on clients and as stated does not include all the rest of the time required to provide massage services.  I teach that for every 1 hour massage you will need at least an additional hour complete all the rest of the work required including laundry, cleaning and business tasks.  This means an average work week is 34 hours.

 •Charging an average of $62 for one hour of massage vs. $59 in 2011.

 •Earning an average wage of $31 an hour (including tips) for all massage-related work.

 •In 2012, the average annual income for a massage therapist (including tips) was estimated to be $20,789

MY TAKE ON THIS:  Something doesn’t seem right with these numbers.  So if the average massage therapist is working 17 hours and the average fee is $62 per massage this would be a weekly gross income of $1054. Then the report indicates that the average wage is $31 per hour for all massage related work.  I am not sure I know what that means- 17 hours of hands on clients or the 34 hours of real time. So ---using 34 hours into $1054 gross income is $31 dollars per hour------ but I don’t see any indication of overhead costs whether paid by a self-employed practitioner or an employer.  WOOPS--- The overhead has to be paid and again I teach that 50% of gross is needed to pay overhead.  That would mean that net income per hour is $15.50.
Now we have to figure out the average annual income of $20,789.  What fits is $15.50 x 34 hours x 50 weeks (2 weeks non paid vacation) = $26,350. WOOPS—ABOUT A $5000 DIFFERENCE.   A 34 hour work week bases on the $20789 number is just a bit over $12 per hour.  $12-$15 per actual work hour is a whole lot different than the gross charge of $62 per one hour massage or the $31 per hour based on all massage related work.   Graduates from massage school are often told that they will make that $30ish dollar amount per hour—not true.  Also note that the $12-$15 per hour fits the payroll stucture of the various massage franchises.

 •Fifty-two percent of massage therapists say they would like to work more hours of massage than they presently do.


 •Half of massage therapists (50 percent) also earn income working in another profession.


MY TAKE ON THIS:  It is necessary to do a minimum of 25 massage sessions at $50 per hour charge to the client to make a sustainable income.  In my experience a charge over the $50 per one hour massage does not support a retention client practice and the AMTA report indicated that massage therapist rely on repeat clients for income stability.   With these figures a massage therapist should earn between $25000 and $30000 per year based on how much is spent on overhead expenses.  

My questions are:

Why are massage therapists (on average) only doing 17 1- hour massage sessions per week instead of 25?

Why are massage graduates so often told they are going to earn $20-$40 per hour when this is clearly not the case?

Why do the AMTA numbers not jive?


Why do professional organizations and CE providers expect these individual to shell out $300-$400 in convention/conference/course fees as well as $500-$600 in travel and lodging.  $1000 is 10% of reported income. For goodness sake $19,090 is considered the income level threshold for poverty in the United States.

We need to get real here people--------------!!!!!!