It had to come soon enough – what with the emphasis on cosmetic surgery and medical tourism in recent times. Medical spas have sprouted in the last 5 years. In the US alone, the numbers have grown from 500 in 2004 to 2,500 today.
According to the International Medical Spa Association, a medical spa is a facility that operates under the full-time, on-site supervision of a licensed health care professional. The facility operates within the scope of practice of its staff, and offers traditional, complementary, and alternative health practices and treatments in a spa-like setting. Practitioners working within a medical spa will be governed by their appropriate licensing board, if licensure is required. In short, a medical spa is a hybrid between a medical clinic and a day spa that operates under the supervision of medical doctor.
Medical spas can treat facial conditions like brown spots, redness, broken capillaries that cannot be treated at all or as effectively by a traditional beautician. Most specialize in laser hair removal, Botox treatment and fillers and are usually run by cosmetic surgeons as an extension of their business. This is in addition to massage services for de-stressing, although the clinical atmosphere of most medical spas may make one somewhat tense!
Specialised services include laser treatments ( laser medical devices used to remove unwanted hair, uneven pigmentation, and broken capillaries), microdermabrasion (removing the uppermost layer of dead skin cells from the face, chest and hands, usually with high-tech anti-aging skin products) and Botox.
The popularity of these spas and their subsequent proliferation has brought its share of problems too. Thousands of consumers may be put at risk by unlicensed and untrained providers. These account for a large proportion of treatment failures and blotches that one reads in the media.
The take-home message here is: make sure the doctor is trained to do the procedure and that he is on-site!