Medical spas are growing by more than 500 percent per year according to recent spa and medical studies. What does this mean for your spa? The answer depends on your current focus, long-term growth plan and your willingness to embrace differentiation. While the category of medical spas is a cash cow that also seems to be a magical wild card, the possibilities for growth are endless. Here are some examples:

  • Wellness

    The obvious relationship between a club and a medical spa is a natural connection to health. By offering various hydrotherapy options, members experience the vascular benefits of plunge pools, the healthful benefits of herbs and supplements, and the educational benefits of preventative care. Wellness spas comprise a variety of themes from guided imagery to acupuncture to herbal apothecaries with aromatherapy blending bars. The fit with wellness depends on the type of club and how the many options of wellness embrace the core components of a club's current program.

    Besides the obvious connection of health and wellness, options abound from hypnotherapy, naturopathy, biofeedback, soft movement modalities and more.

  • Cosmetic

    Depending on a club's targeted demographic market, cosmetic enhancements can enhance and round off a club's offerings. Everything from Botox to surgical enhancements is allowed as a strategy. However, some spas also offer non-ablative skin rejuvenation or intense pulsed light (IPL) resurfacing, microdermabrasion, chemical and enzymatic peels and a host of other services that are more aggressive, yet not quite physician prescribed. Often times the athletes who frequent a fitness facility will not venture to a plastic surgeon simply because it doesn't occur to them. However, some will opt for minor revisions to their natural beauty and features.

    Clubs have found that the trick to offering cosmetic enhancements is to focus on the various demographics within the club. Moms, professionals, young up-and-coming professionals and men are all distinct groups with different needs and budgets. Clubs can develop programs that fit each category and market accordingly by offering demonstrations and giving away samples.

  • Personal coaching

    The next big thing is lifestyle enhancement and personal growth. This type of programming is offered individually or in groups. Instead of a quick fix, this type of programming offers a real change in one's mind and body functioning. Guided imagery, soft movement, nutrition, lifestyle coaching, sound and light therapy and water therapies such as hydrotherapy and floatation tanks combined with similar modalities allow the participant to reach inside themselves to empower and improve their essence and everyday approach to living. This type of work is appreciated by all types of people from the professional athlete to those who simply want more from their lives. Personal coaching delves in neatly with a fitness and nutrition program while enhancing the results achieved during workouts. Furthermore, mind and body conditioning when combined with more traditional spa therapies such as facials and massage can take a member to the next level of joy and fulfillment.

  • Sports medicine

    While sports medicine in its various forms is a no-brainer, the mixture of spa and sports medicine may offer an upgraded approach to servicing those types of members. Many clubs already have whirlpools and steam rooms, but a walking pool, plunge pool, saline tank or floatation tank can increase results far more rapidly than massage, chiropractic and traditional therapies alone. Further, an herbal apothecary, acupuncturist, traditional Chinese medicine practitioner or similar entity elevates the diagnosis of those in need of pain relief, immune support or strength training. Energy balancing techniques like Reiki and chakra readings are also an option to increase the level of mind and body focus not to mention recovery time and overall performance.

Spas are here to stay and are quickly becoming the next cash cow of wellness, health, beauty and entertainment. Over time, members are expecting and demanding increased spa services that fit their needs and lifestyles. Clubs that have looked at their culture and mapped out their spa success story are on the leading edge.


Melinda Minton is a spa consultant and a certified massage therapist, esthetician and cosmetologist with a MBA in marketing. A past spa owner, she founded The Spa Association, which is dedicated to enriching the industry through self-regulation, education and sound business practices, and The Spa Foundation, a non-profit organization. In 2004, she launched Spa Secure, an international licensing program for salons, spas, medical spas and wellness centers.