To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Medical Massage: Touch Helps Patients Heal,” , in the July 2011 issue. Article summary: Massage therapy is finding its home in hospitals across the country, where patients are reaping benefits that range from reduced pain to more peace of mind. Peer-reviewed research, patient demand and personal experience are among the driving forces behind this increased acceptance of massage as part of our medical system.

by James R. Lehman, L.M.T., N.M.T.

Of the best ways to broaden your practice and increase your revenue, dollar for dollar, marketing physicians for client referrals is one of the most effective. A referral stream from a busy physician’s office can take your practice and financial security to the next level.

Here are some basic pointers to achieve this.

1. Marketing packets. Physicians need to know about you and your services, but since they are busy and have time restraints, your marketing information should be professional, yet brief and to the point.

The following are the items you should have in your packets:

  • Simple one-page brochure explaining your services, specialties and fees.
  • Physician prescription pads with a map to your location on the back.
  • Insurance list with your contact information including your fax number.
  • Business cards.

2. Calling on physicians. Once you have your marketing packets in hand, the next step is to get them in front of the physicians and their referral coordinators.

Depending on your massage therapy specialty, make a list of the physicians that are most likely to refer patients depending upon the type of massage therapy specialty you provide. Once you have identified the ones you would like to market to, do the following:

  • Set up a lunch in-service. I find this, by far, to be the most effective method of marketing, vs. cold calling a physician. You can schedule the in-service either by phone or by physically going to the office. Inform the front office person you wish to speak to the person in charge of setting up lunches. Ninety-nine percent of the time, you will be successful in scheduling a lunch, and getting this opportunity for one-on-one time in front of the physician is priceless.

3. Be prepared. Prior to your lunch with the physician’s office, be sure to have a marketing packet prepared for each physician and for each referral coordinator in the practice. Arrive early in order to get set up.

Be sure to shake hands, look everyone in the eye, and present yourself and your services with confidence.

James R. Lehman, L.M.T., N.M.T., is the founder and CEO of TherapyWorks, with rehabilitation clinics located in Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida. TherapyWorks’ clinics receive an average of 15 physician referrals per week for neuromuscular massage therapy and integrated manual therapy, and perform more than 200 treatments per week. If you are interested in obtaining more information about physician marketing strategies and growing your practice to its fullest potential, e-mail Lehman at