I met Curt Lezanic a couple of years ago at one of my sports massage seminars. He was a student with exemplary professional skills and a thirst for clinical knowledge. I am proud that as a result of our initial encounter Curt became an accomplished medical-massage practitioner.
Over the following two years, we met several times during various sports and medical massage seminars, and I observed the incredible progress in his technical skills and depth of understanding of the theory and practice of medical massage. As you will read in his interview, all his hard work paid off, and he has the kind of career that is a dream for many practitioners. If, as a result of our educational projects, every town and city would have one dedicated and skillful medical massage practitioner, it would change the entire massage therapy industry since patients will demand such quality therapy be available to everyone.
Here is JMS‘s interview with
MEDICAL MASSAGE PRACTITIONER
JMS: How did you get into the field of medical massage?
C. Lezanic: I got into the field of medical massage quite by accident and out of desperation. The short story is that one day I got a call from a lady saying that her husband had hurt his back and could not move. She went on to say that he had gone to the hospital and that there was nothing broken. I went to their house and worked on him and got him up and moving. The next day, I got a call from his doctor asking what I had done to the husband. I explained to the doctor what I had done. The doctor’s response was, “I have never seen anything like this before so I will send you some of my patients.” That was the beginning of my journey into medical massage. Within a year, the doctor asked me to set up a practice in his office. At the time, I was working in administration at a local community college. The college had just hired an extremely incompetent person to be my boss. I decided that enough was enough, and I decided to “retire” and do massage full time. Thirty minutes later I was free!
At that time, I thought I was a good massage therapist. The doctor started referring more and more patients to me. What I soon discovered was that my bag of “tricks” was no longer working. I had effectively exceeded my knowledge base for relieving my patients of their pain. Needless to say, I began to experience a level of panic.
I began looking for quality, expert continuing education. And as you know, finding quality continuing education is difficult. I finally ran across an advertisement for Russian sports massage (RSM). I had always heard that RSM was the best sports massage in the world. I reasoned that it really didn’t matter how someone gets hurt but that the RSM techniques would help anyone in pain. I flew to Denver and took a course from Oleg Bouimer. As part of his course, Oleg gave his students access to the Science of Massage (www.scienceofmassage.com) website and explained how much medical research went into massage in Europe and Russia. I realized that Oleg had just given me the keys to the castle.
About a month later I was sitting in a class on medical massage taught by Dr. Ross Turchaninov. That weekend class changed my professional life forever!
JMS: How do you define medical massage and how it is different from the concept of stress-reduction massage?
C. Lezanic: Let me reverse this question. The difference between medical massage and stress-reduction massage is the difference between driving a Chevrolet Corvette versus an old, beat-up Volkswagen Beetle. On the personal side, I cannot imagine going back and doing stress-reduction massage. Give me the Corvette every time!
How is it the same? Well, one uses the same basic massage strokes but in medical massage they are used in specific protocols to achieve real (and I mean REAL) results. And by the way, if medical massage was any more fun to do, it would have to be illegal!
JMS: Can you describe to our readers how you developed such a successful medical massage practice?
C. Lezanic: I developed my practice by the old fashioned way, word of mouth and physicians’ referrals. Although I have not done actual research, I would guess more than 90% of the patients I treat are 100% pain free within a reasonable number of sessions. This is my investment in advertising.
I shouldn’t say this, but I am so confident in this modality that I have only two basic rules in my office. The first rule is that the patient must be satisfied or he/she does not pay. The second rule is that I must be satisfied with the patient’s progress or he/she does not pay. What I offer to the patient is a guarantee of sorts. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The consequence of all of this is my phone always rings.
JMS: You have several close, working relationships with local physicians; how would you describe their attitude about medical massage and its clinical potential?
C. Lezanic: The relationships I have with some doctors are interesting. The most beneficial relationship, meaning the most referrals, comes from the doctor where I originally had my office. He has the best, firsthand knowledge of my capability using medical massage. He has witnessed his patients coming in pain, often in serious pain, and then walk out with little or no pain. We have had many conversations on why this works, and he has become a real supporter. Given my age, he has been encouraging one of his nurses to get massage license and to work with me so that when I retire in the future, someone will be there to treat his patients.
The funny story with him is that recently he came in complaining of severe pain in his lower back. He said it was the worst pain he had ever experienced in his life. He further went on to ask if this pain was what his patients complained of when they would say they “threw their back out.” I said, “Yes. Welcome to the world of people over forty!” Two sessions later and some PIR and he is back to his old self.
The second doctor owns two “doc-in-the-box” clinics. When standard treatments for pain and headaches do not work, he refers them to me. Last year around Christmas, I got a call from him. He told me that of all the referrals his two offices and doctors refer their patients to for treatment, I have the highest customer-satisfaction rating, and the second-place referral is nowhere even close to how their patients approve of my services.
The third doctor is a retina specialist. He needs to get his patients off certain over-the-counter pain medication as part of their future macular degeneration treatment. What I get from him are patients suffering from all kinds of pain but not related to anything with the eye. I help his patients wean themselves off pain medication so that he can minimize the potential side-effects of his treatment. My success using medical massage speaks for itself.
From these medical referrals, I also get patients’ relatives, co-workers, friends, etc. My phone never quits ringing! The clinical potential is almost unlimited. In my opinion, many doctors would love to rid themselves of their patients who complain about their sore shoulders, backs, necks, etc. The physicians just need to find someone who can produce satisfactory results. Medical massage is the answer. In San Antonio, I can provide those stable clinical results in most cases.
JMS: If you are willing to share this information with our readers, what approximate income does your practice generate per year?
C. Lezanic: First let me tell you that I work by myself. I sell no products. I only do medical massage unless somebody threatens me with bodily harm and only then would I do a stress relieving massage-which is almost never.
In 2013, I had income of $117,000. All of this revenue was generated by medical massage. In 2014, I reduced my hours by roughly half so that I could begin restoring a 1964 Corvette. Even reducing my hours by half, I have still generated $76,000. Again, 100% of this revenue was generated by using medical massage. If I decided to increase my hours to full-time again, I would easily generate $130,000 in revenue.
Generating the revenue is NOT the issue. Cutting back the hours that I am available IS the problem. It’s very simple, medical massage gives me the clinical results that I have always wanted and it works virtually EVERY TIME.
Having said all of this, I need to share the following. I am without doubt an indifferent businessman regarding accounting. I simply don’t care about the revenue. I just care about getting people out of pain. The revenue will be there! Trust me!
JMS: You don’t advertise your services, but you have built a thriving practice. What is the major driving force of your success?
C. Lezanic: My success is based on one and only one thing-Dr. Ross Turchaninov’s publications and his online video library. I recently moved my office into a four-story office building. There is an oil service company across the hall from me. The owner of this business told me that many of his friends and business associates knew me either from direct experience or by word of mouth. According to him, the rumor around town is that I am simply the best person to see for pain or headaches. San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the United States. With this kind of word-of-mouth advertising, I simply do not need to advertise. Sorry, I take that back. I did purchase some business cards. But that is my only effort to advertise my services. With proven results the phone never quits ringing.
Going back to me being an indifferent business person, let me describe my operation. I have a small reception area. That is to say, I have two chairs, a small table with three or four magazines on it, a second small table with my forms and a small refrigerator with bottled water in it. My treatment room consists of an electric table, a cabinet for sheets, towels, lotion and computer, a small cabinet that I use to hold Dr. Turchaninov’s books, which I refer to EVERY DAY, and a chair for the patient to use. On one wall I have pictures of the space shuttle and on the other wall I have some of Dr. Turchaninov’s charts, which I refer to EVERY DAY.
My background music is 1960s rock and roll. That’s right, we listen to the Beach Boys, Beatles, Kinks, Rolling Stones, etc. The lights are always on, and we just rock and roll through the treatment process. I would venture a guess not many of your readers have this going on, and I know they don’t have near as much fun as I do. Like I said before, this is what massage should be. If I was having any more fun, it would have to be illegal.
JMS: What words of advice do you have for our readers?
C. Lezanic: I don’t want my answer to sound like advertising but this is what changed my life and practice. If you really want to get your clients out of pain with long-term STABLE results and succeed as massage therapist learn medical massage and do it right from the beginning, please take classes from Dr. Turchaninov, use online Video Library, start to implement the science of massage detailed in Medical Massage textbooks. The respect and money follow quicker than you can ever imagine.
JMS: Thank you!
Category: Person of the Month