Once there were day spas, places for women (and a few brave men) to spend time being pampered and rejuvenated with lotions, potions, and massages. Today there are medical spas, or MedSpas, which take all the comfort and care of day spas and add the latest in medical technology. MedSpas provide services in comfortable retail settings, services once confined to medical settings and performed by dermatologists and plastic surgeons.
MedSpas combine two of humankind's most powerful urges: vanity, and the quest for immortality. Wrap those two in a franchising model and you have a recipe for success.
Just ask Jim Amos. With more than 30 years in franchising, this former IFA chairman and Mail Boxes, Etc. CEO helped get the Sona MedSpa franchise concept off the ground. Or Gary Findley, former president of Curves International, who is now director at facelogic, another growing MedSpa firm.
The old picture of mud packs and cucumber slices has been replaced with high-tech and medical terminology. If you were to enter one of the 35-plus Sona MedSpa or Sona Laser Center locations (as of late 2005), you might need someone to explain how things like advanced laser, advanced fluorescence technology, microdermabrasion, and ultrasound technologies can help you leave with a glow on your face and a spring in your step.
Immortality? The big market for these evolving concepts is clearly the aging baby boomers. And not just women: in 2004, one in four customers were men, and that percentage is expected to rise. When these aging baby boomers look in the mirror and find the wrinkles and sags don't match their “inner me,” they're willing and eager to fork over their mid-life savings for anti-aging treatments, skin rejuvenating products, and non-invasive aesthetic medical procedures.
Another sign of the market potential of the MedSpa segment can be found in the flurry of statistics provided by the ever-increasing number of franchised and other companies entering the market. These companies include Inaara Medspa, Solana MedSpas, Woodhouse Day Spa, Radiance Medspa, Dermacare Laser and Skin Clinics, and Nu Image MedSpa. Oh, did someone say statistics?<ul>
<li> Baby-boomers make up 51% of the total U.S. population. They have time and money to spare and are willing to spend it on looking younger.</li>
<li> 80 million people in the U.S. already spend $500 million in hair removal procedures like waxing, shaving, and accessories.</li>
<li> More than 1 million women spend over $1 billion each year on electrolysis and lasers.</li>
<li> U.S. consumers spend more than $30 billon on anti-aging products.</li>
</ul>Medical spas can be divided into two main types: aesthetic and cosmetic, and preventive and wellness. Services offered can include skin care and beautification to weight loss and exercise, as well as dietary programs and alternative medicine. There are day spas and medical spas to fit anyone's needs. But the key to the rapidly growing MedSpa phenomenon is the merging of makeup and medicine.
MedSpas operate under the supervision of licensed medical providers, often M.D.s., to deliver their vast array of skin and beauty care and aesthetic services. The most popular services and treatments include laser hair removal, skin rejuvenation (wrinkles to sun damage), Botox and other injections, chemical peels, and other anti-aging procedures.
MedSpas are clearly an industry still in its infancy. Of the estimated 12,000 spas in the United States, about 500 to 750 are considered medical spas. Some optimistic predictions forecast 10,000 more opening in the next decade, driven by customer demand and the potential for hefty profits by providers. It is an industry catering to a growing market population, as well as a way for medical providers to create new distribution channels for their own services and products. And with medical technology continuing to improve, the sky's the limit.
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