From the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Medical Massage: Hands-On Therapies for Oncology Patients,” by Adrienne F. Asta and Jeff Mann, in the July 2010 issue. Article summary: Massage therapy used to be contraindicated for cancer patients; however, as the field of massage matures and the knowledge base expands, this notion has changed. The American Cancer Society has identified massage therapy as an important complementary therapy for cancer patients, for its relaxation and pain-relieving benefits, and massage is increasingly offered to patients in oncology centers around the nation and world.

by Vivian Madison-Mahoney

Are you planning to work with physicians or others in the medical arena?

If so, you are now making it possible for many more individuals to know the value of massage therapy while helping them medically benefit from personalized hands-on services. Working in this field has many challenges as well as personally satisfying and increased financial rewards.

On the negative side, you will be working with people in pain, which often requires more compassion, understanding and patience and longer hours. Working for medical professionals will limit your income, you will be told what to do and when to do it. If you are billing insurance for your services, there may be possible delays or denials in payment, paperwork and more time involved and may seem overwhelming.

On the bright side, you are in the group of health practitioners who love what we do, care for those we provide services to and reap rewards of patients and physician’s satisfaction and referrals and can independently work by referrals. If you’re billing insurance for your services and learn to do it efficiently, legally and ethically you can considerably increase your income because patients come in more often through physician referrals.

You can hire or trade with someone a few hours a week to help grow your business. Growing your own business opens doors for you to be independent, do more in life you need or want, spend quality time with family, set goals, make your dreams come true, and accomplish other things you’ve not had time or money for before.

If you think, “I can’t afford to hire someone,” think of it this way: You cannot afford not to. Hiring others, even for a few hours a week, to help do laundry, paperwork, phone calls and set appointments can be a minimal cost compared to the per hour income you, as a massage therapist, can earn. Example: You pay someone $9 an hour for a five-hour day; that’s $45 against, say, $90 you may receive for just one medically prescribed massage session. You have had all that help for five hours, still made $45, plus all other sessions that day were for yourself and overhead. Best of all, this individual will prevent losses of potential clients because a live person answered your phone. If you don’t have a room for someone to help out, you can transfer your calls to his or her location for a few hours a day.

Duplication of your services is a major key to building a business. Duplicate or stagnate: This is a lesson I had to learn, or be broke for the rest of my life. The second major key, I always say, is “build a reputation and your business builds itself.”

Vivian Madison-Mahoney has 25 years of experience in insurance billing procedures, laws and rules. She is licensed as a massage therapist in Florida and Tennessee, and is an approved continuing education provider. She is a practicing therapist and has received referrals from more than 175 physicians. For more information, visit