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Medical Wellness Archives

Trends In Medical Spas

2004: Volume 1, Number 2


There is growing interest in medical spas that include both wellness programs and medical services. Medical doctors and professional staff in spas and wellness centers enhance the credibility and image of the operation. However, having a medical model in spas increases the risk of liability and medical malpractice.


What Are Medical Spas?
A medical spa is defined as a facility with a medical program closely supervised by a licensed healthcare professional. Services integrate traditional medicine, nontraditional medicine, and spa treatments. Facilities can be classified in one of four categories:

Beauty or Skin

Offers services that include medically-based consultations and treatments provided by a licensed healthcare professional or medically-trained aestheticians and therapists.


Services include therapeutic modalities focusing on specific medical issues such as cardiovascular disease and bariatrics.

Medical Centers or Hospitals

Offer programs that include both Eastern and Western techniques of evaluation and treatment integrated with a variety of spa services

Wellness Centers

Encompass many of the same services as the medical/hospital facilities if they are physician-owned. May also be owned by medical wellness practitioners or entrepreneurs.


With the proliferation of medical spas, there are new considerations, liability and safety precautions for both the business and professional staff. Specific aspects of medical regulations ranging from OSHA to HIPAA affect medical spas in ways that have never before concerned owners and management.


The “Blood-Borne Pathogen Standard” and other OSHA regulations require control for exposure to blood and other potentially harmful body fluids. It stipulates that therapists wear gloves while performing certain treatments. According to OSHA, medical spas must comply with the “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996”as it regulates specific standards. As of April of 2003 medical spas are required to be in compliance.

To learn more about medical spas, visit the Medical Spa Association.


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