Medspas fill niche, offer appealing aesthetics

January 1, 2005

The medical spa is an idea whose time has come. But what exactly do the words "medispa" and "medspa" mean? And what trends do they reflect?

The medical spa is an idea whose time has come. But what exactly do the words "medispa" and "medspa" mean? And what trends do they reflect?

Trademark status doesn't stop the public from using an original term to describe a new class of products or services (in this, "medispa" joins "coke" a derivation of the trademark "Coca-cola" and "Xerox"); however, businesses that profit by infringing on a trademark may be asking for litigation.

From definition to concept Behind the words are businesses large and small. They range along a spectrum, according to Dr. McQuillan, who is one of a growing number of family practice physicians moving into aesthetic medicine. At one end of the spectrum is the day spa that hires a part-time physician to offer botulinum treatments, embracing science under the glare of sun lamps.

Anna-Dee Rinehart, L.P.N., S.C.S., has written several textbooks on medical aesthetics and trains physicians who want to move into the field. She says the common ground between a med(i)spa and a medical aesthetic practice is the opportunity for increased patient base, increased revenues and continuity of care.

Dr. McQuillan partnered with Kenneth's Design Group, which operates some of the highest rated spas and beauty salons in the United States, to open The Ageless MedSpa in Columbus, Ohio. Services begin with an Ageless Analysis to plan a cosmetic strategy and proceed to botulinum and filler treatments, laser hair removal and vein therapy, chemical peels and mesotherapy.

"We use aestheticians as primary care practitioners for people's skin," she says. "We also have massage therapists and makeup and hair specialists for pampering and image consultation."

She defines a med(i)spa as an elegant, nurturing, tranquil environment where minimally-invasive, office-based aesthetic procedures are performed.

"The difference between a basic and luxury medspa," Dr. McQuillan says, "is the education of staff, their knowledge and orientation. A medspa is a service-oriented environment for promoting health, beauty and longevity."