What's A Medical Spa And What Does It Offer?

By: Felix Wynn

Day spas, club spas, dental spas and medical spas are a few types of spas in existence today. All offer treatments designed to relax and promote wellbeing but a medical spa provides more in the way of comprehensive treatments.

Medical spas have licensed health care professionals on-site to administer and monitor treatments. Doctors may or may not be present but staff is fully qualified to provide medical and wellness care. This combination of medical and spa treatments is what defines a medical spa.

Some of the popular treatments offered in these settings include microdermabrasion, chemical peels, laser treatment, massage, waxing, body wraps and manicures and pedicures. Many who visit them don't seek medical care but opt for spa treatments so it's common to find a diverse clientele. Below is a list of treatments not always provided in standard spas but which can be availed at medical spas.


Balneotherapy, sometimes considered a form of hydrotherapy, seeks to heal the body through bathing. Unlike saunas and steam baths which use heat and humidity to induce sweat, balneotherapy consists of bathing in mineral-rich water which may be cold or hot, the latter usually referring to natural hot springs.

The treatment is recommended by alternative medicine practitioners to soothe skin conditions, alleviate arthritic pain and reduce muscle and back aches.

Gua sha

Gua sha is a traditional Chinese treatment that 'scrapes' away disease. While conclusive studies haven't been performed, people who've undergone it say that it reduces aches and pains.

Using a smooth edge tool which may be in the form of a coin, a ceramic soup spoon or animal horn and bone, a specialist will apply pressured strokes over the skin. Areas suspected to be painful or afflicted with disease show up as blemishes or bruises which fade after three or four days.

Dermal fillers

Dermal fillers are products injected into the skin to fill it out. The aim is to smooth wrinkles and create a fuller look. Using hyaluronic acid and other components, the gel is injected without damaging skin tissues. The treatment can last for several months or close to a year. Medical spas aren't the only places to get the treatment but more include them in treatment plans than other types of spas.

Things to watch out for

Not all medical spas are trusted and it's the responsibility of the consumer to research names before approaching them. Some spas that claim to have board certified doctors in attendance may not refer to certification in a related field. The doctors could be specialized in fields that have nothing to do with dermatology, for example, and consumers wouldn't be any the wiser.

Some states have stricter laws governing medical spas and those are the ones consumers should choose. There's a lesser chance of having unqualified doctors and higher safety records. For instance, some states that don't consider hair removal procedures a part of medical treatment won't regulate laser treatment for hair removal and that can be dangerous.

Consumers should target states that regulate treatment procedures. Since most don't require medical spas to be licensed, there can be numerous centers staffed with unqualified 'specialists'. The same applies to aestheticians with some states not requiring a limit on the number of hours of training and theoretical studies. Looking for states where training for aestheticians is mandatory means a reduced risk of accidents and injury.

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