Research shows confusion over medical spas

23rd Jun 2006

A report shows the fast-growing U.S. and Canadian medical spa markets, as well as confusion. Many who participate in this market struggle to differentiate their facilities from laser centers and strive to educate the public about their services.

If consumers and the media are confused about what constitutes a medical spa, it’s understandable: Many types of facilities perform aesthetic/cosmetic procedures. Typically, a medical spa is defined as a facility in which licensed health care professionals provide medical and/or wellness services in a spa-like setting. Other criteria may also be required on a state-by-state basis.

Ideally, medical spas appeal to the consumer who wants to enhance his or her appearance with effective, fast, and safe treatments performed in a relaxing environment.

In Feed-back’s 2006 medical spa survey, respondents’ top medical services were dominated by: Filler injections (Botox(R), Restylane(R), etc.), laser hair removal, and facials. These findings compare well with the “top five nonsurgical cosmetic procedures” cited in the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery’s 2005 Statistics.

Interviews and surveys conducted with 100+ facilities during the past two years are the basis of Feed-back’s new report. Findings document the explosive growth of the U.S. medical spa market from 2003 through mid-2006. However, Feed-back found that the number of “medical spas” that combine body work (e.g., massage) with aesthetic treatments is limited.


Industry sources estimate that there are 500 to 1,200 U.S. medical spas. In April 2006, the directory included approximately 110 U.S. medical spas, while’s online list totaled almost 200. Feed-back’s proprietary database consisted of approximately 250 confirmed medical spas facilities (per telephone contact with company representatives).

The market survey also examines franchise operations and finds that few franchisors had achieved the new franchise openings they projected in August 2005. As noted in Feed-back’s report, “Through March 2006, the company that came closest to meeting its expectations completed less than 10% of projected 2005 new franchise openings.”

Feed-back’s senior analyst, Fran Fields, expresses concern about the absence of spa services in the current medical spa business model. “Loyal spa-goers are likely to be disappointed in facilities that substitute facials for traditional spa offerings such as hydrotherapy, massage, scrubs, and wraps.”

“Everyone involved in the medical spa industry needs to read this report,” says Nancy Griffin, CEO of SpaTrade ( ). “Feed-back aggregates and analyzes in-depth surveys to create critical business intelligence. Medical spa operators will realize that the challenges they face individually are widespread. Corporations and vendors will be able to better target their sales efforts. No other research company has so thoroughly analyzed the landscape of the North American medical spa market.”

Feed-back’s new report looks at every aspect of the U.S. medical spa market: Advertising methods, breakeven points, client demographics, equipment and supply costs, facility revenues, procedure volumes, product and service pricing, retail product mark-up comparisons, and service mixes. Respondents’ commentary and observations are also included to provide ‘real world’ insights.


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