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Spas Get Serious: Wellness
By: Sara Mason
Posted: June 9, 2008, from the June 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.
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With medical spas providing clients with diagnosis and treatment for traditional, complementary and alternative health practices, and treatments under the supervision of a licensed health care professional, spas are taking a more serious turn. In a little more than a decade, the U.S. medical spa market alone has grown from zero to $1 billion.
Considered one of the first medi-spas that helped coin the phrase, the Juva Skin & Laser Center in New York offers state-of-the-art, specialized procedures in laser and cosmetic surgery, esthetic skin care and general dermatology. Surgical procedures can incorporate medical spa treatments that are custom-designed to improve the outcome. This fusion of esthetic and medical services is quickly becoming a common approach to skin care.
Director Bruce Katz, MD, believes medical technology is the primary opportunity for growth. “Medical spas will continue to outpace the rest of the spa industry,” he says. “Medical technology and innovation gives us more effective treatments for better results.”
In addition, physicians are increasingly interested in providing elective wellness treatments that are sought by ever-growing numbers of men and women. Erik Goldman co-founded Holistic Primary Care in 2000 and its trade show counterpart, Transforming Primary Care, based on the observation that conventionally trained physicians were poorly prepared to address their patients’ surging interests in wellness therapies. Goldman is striving to build an information bridge between alternative health care and mainstream medicine. Whether his readers provide natural approaches themselves or offer referrals, the consumer push for complementary and alternative medicine requires physicians to be knowledgeable so they can provide patients with useful choices.
Transitional physicians who are thinking about adding wellness care to their practices are taking their cues from patients. “It is clear that the holistic and spa movements are growing,” says Goldman. “People are dissatisfied with insurance-dominated, pharmaceutical-based medicine.”