What is a Medical Spa?

what is a medical spa
Published: January 10, 2024

What is a medical spa? It’s where healthcare meets relaxation: a facility offering medical-grade aesthetic treatments like Botox, laser therapies, and chemical peels, all under the guidance of licensed physicians. This article unveils what sets these medical spas so apart from conventional spas, touching on their unique ability to enhance both your wellbeing and appearance.

Key Takeaways

  • Medical spas combine advanced medical-grade cosmetic treatments supervised by licensed physicians with traditional spa services, offering procedures like laser treatments, injectables, and specialized programs for anti-aging and skin rejuvenation.

  • Licensed medical professionals, typically dermatologists or plastic surgeons, oversee med spa procedures to ensure patient safety and adherence to medical standards, differentiating them from day spas that focus on relaxation and beauty treatments without medical oversight.

  • When choosing a medical spa, it is vital to assess the qualifications and expertise of the staff, verify professional licensing, and consider the range of treatments offered to ensure safe, effective, and customized care.

So What Is A Med Spa?

A serene medical spa environment with comfortable seating and soft lighting

Medical spas, often abbreviated as med or medical spas, are facilities that offer medical-grade cosmetic treatments and services, all monitored by licensed physicians. The range of services offered at a med spa is extensive, encompassing everything from weight loss and stress reduction programs to specialized programs such as detox and anti-aging.

The primary benefit of visiting a medical spa includes:

  • Safe and effective medical treatments provided to tackle facial aging and associated conditions

  • Procedures that combine the best of aesthetic treatments and medical science

  • Administered by highly skilled and knowledgeable medical professionals.

The Fusion of Medicine and Spa Services

Med spas are unique in their offering of a fusion of traditional day spa and services and medical treatments. Their primary objective as med spas is to offer a distinctive experience for individuals seeking both relaxation and results-oriented medical aesthetic treatments, unlike day spas that focus solely on relaxation and beauty treatments.

This fusion originated in the 1990s with the emergence of the first medical spas, combining a spa-like environment with non-invasive medical procedures.

Our innovative spa offers a range of procedures specialized treatments, including:

  • Emsculpt Neo – revolutionizing muscle building and fat reduction

  • Hydrafacials – a gentle, non-invasice skin resurfacing treatment

  • Morpheus8 – a combination of gentle microneedling and soothing radiofrequency technology

  • Lumecca – a gentle, non-invasive pulse light therapy

  • Emsella – a revolutionary non-surgical and non-invasive treatment that addresses incontinence caused by a weakened pelvic floor

  • Diolaze – an exceptional laser hair removal procedure

To ensure safety and professionalism, med spa services are regulated through the requirement of professional licensing, proper training, and supervision of practitioners, with each state’s medical board providing guidelines for operation.

The Role of Licensed Physicians in Medical Spas

In a full medical clinic or spa like environment, the accountability for managing medical procedures lies with a medical doctor, such as a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. This ensures a high level of professional supervision during all procedures.

These physicians have obtained a Medical Degree (MD) and completed a minimum of three years of residency. Additionally, they adhere to the standards set by their respective medical boards to maintain their medical licenses.

The responsibilities of a licensed physician in a medical spa are extensive. They include:

  • Ensuring adherence to proper protocols

  • Overseeing treatment plans

  • Safeguarding patient confidentiality

  • Addressing any issues that may arise

Physicians ensure the safety and efficacy of treatments by meticulously overseeing all procedures and ensuring compliance with medical regulatory standards.

Popular Medical Spa Treatments You Need to Know About

Injection of dermal fillers by a medical professional

Medical spas are known for their wide array of treatments, which include laser therapies, injectable fillers, and muscle-relaxing wrinkle smoothers, complemented by aesthetic enhancements like advanced facials, chemical peels, and other cosmetic procedures too.

The treatments available at a medical spa are tailored to correct a variety of skin issues such as lines, wrinkles, sunspots, sagging skin, and facial volume and weight loss, and also include laser hair removal, vein therapy, scar treatment, and stretch mark therapies.

Other popular treatments at medical spas include:

  • Laser therapies for hair removal and skin rejuvenation

  • Injectable fillers for restoring facial volume

  • Chemical peels for skin resurfacing

  • Muscle-relaxing wrinkle smoothers to address spasms and improve skin texture

  • CoolSculpting for fat reduction and body contouring

Medical spas also provide other advanced treatments to meet various skincare needs.

diolaze treatment

Laser Hair Removal and Skin Rejuvenation

Laser hair removal operates by utilizing a laser or concentrated beam of light to eliminate hair from various parts of the body. This process involves penetrating hair follicles and preventing future hair growth. The results of laser hair removal generally last for several months to years, although it does not ensure permanent hair removal. Maintenance treatments may be necessary for long-term, hair removal or reduction.

Achieving desired results with laser hair removal and skin rejuvenation typically requires four to six sessions. The effectiveness of these procedures and their ability to provide longer-lasting results than traditional hair removal methods make them a popular choice in med spas.

morpheus8 wrinkle care

Injectable Fillers and Wrinkle Relaxers

Injectable fillers and wrinkle relaxers are two more services typically provided in medical spas. These substances are directly injected into the skin to effectively reduce the appearance of wrinkles. The function of these injectables involves enhancing skin volume, thereby diminishing wrinkles and potentially promoting the production of new collagen, resulting in a rejuvenated appearance for aging skin.

These injectable fillers and wrinkle relaxers are frequently utilized in regions including:

  • the chin

  • jawline

  • nose

  • midface or cheeks

  • lips

They are also employed for addressing fine lines and wrinkles in aging skin. The procedure entails injecting the filler into the skin, often with the use of numbing medication. It can last up to an hour and may result in mild discomfort, bruising, and swelling for up to a week.

Chemical Peels and Microdermabrasion

Chemical peels and microdermabrasion are two additional cosmetic procedures, that can be performed at a medical spa.

Microdermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure designed to exfoliate the skin and stimulate the generation of new skin cells, collagen, and elastin. A handheld device with a gently abrasive surface is used to deeply exfoliate the uppermost layer of the skin.

Chemical peels offer a range of benefits, such as:

  • Superficial scar removal

  • Skin tightening

  • Improved texture and tone

  • Collagen stimulation

  • Reduction of fine lines and wrinkles

  • Improvement of acne scars

  • Enhancement of melanin activity

  • Overall skin revitalization and resurfacing

These procedures are effective in treating breakouts, lightening post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, reducing scarring, and improving the overall appearance of the skin, thereby providing significant benefits to individuals with acne concerns.

Med Spa Services vs. Day Spa Offerings: Key Differences

Comparison between a medical spa treatment room and a day spa relaxation area

Medical spas stand out from day spas due to their operations being monitored by one or more medical professionals. This allows them to provide a combination of traditional day spa, services and advanced medical-grade treatments, including anti-aging skincare and rejuvenation procedures, which are not commonly available in day spas.

Many medical spas also provide traditional day spa treatments such as massages, facials, and nail treatments, alongside their advanced anti-aging and rejuvenation services.

Med spas offer a variety of medical-grade treatments for aging and skin conditions, such as:

  • Stem cell therapy

  • Botox

  • Dermal fillers

  • Microneedling

  • Laser skin treatment

  • Chemical peels

These treatments are not commonly offered at day spas. The main focus of medical spas is on delivering outcome-oriented treatments that are more intensive and customized to address particular skin issues and promote anti-aging.

hydrafacials are non-invasive and help

Medical Procedures vs. Beauty Treatments

When comparing med spas and day spas, it’s important to differentiate between the types of services offered.

Medical spas incorporate advanced techniques such as extractions and application of products with higher concentrations of active ingredients. Their procedures involve medical treatments and cosmetic services tailored to address specific concerns beyond relaxation.

Day spas offer services such as:

  • Facials

  • Body treatments

  • Massages

  • Nail treatments

These services are geared towards relaxation and beauty. While both types of spas offer benefits, medical spas are often sought after for their ability to provide more significant rejuvenation and address deeper-seated skin conditions and issues.

Professional Supervision and Expertise

A major factor that distinguishes medical spas from day spas is what is a medical spa is the degree of professional oversight and expertise. A medical spa is typically overseen by one or more medical doctors, who bring specialized expertise, experience, or training in aesthetic medicine to the facility, ensuring expert medical guidance and legal compliance. This professional supervision enhances patient safety through standardization of care, the upskilling of providers, and the improvement of patient outcomes.

In contrast, day spas, while providing valuable beauty treatments and relaxation services, lack this level of medical supervision. The expertise in a medical spa, with the requirement of professional oversight and the performance of specialized treatments, by highly skilled providers, sets it apart from a regular day spa.

Choosing the Right Medical Spa for Your Needs

Consultation with a licensed physician at a medical spa

Selecting the appropriate medical spa for your needs is about more than just choosing the nearest one. It’s important to verify the licensure and certification of a medical spa using resources such as the NMSA License Data Search, which offers details about accredited and licensed individuals.

Furthermore, it’s crucial to note that medical spa providers are required to possess a professional license and undergo appropriate training in the services they provide.

The medical director of a spa plays a significant role, including:

  • Being the full or majority owner of the spa

  • Overseeing treatments

  • Bringing specialized expertise, experience, or training in aesthetic medicine to the facility

  • Ensuring expert medical guidance and legal compliance.

Evaluating Med Spa Credentials and Expertise

Before deciding on any treatments at a medical spa, it’s necessary to check the qualifications and expertise of the professionals on the spa like environment and staff. Professionals at a medical spa should have adequate qualifications, which include completion of an aesthetician training program, possession of a nursing license, or extensive experience working with patients.

Clients can verify the authenticity of a medical spa professional’s credentials through the following resources:

  • NMSA Verification Software for non-invasive aesthetic certifications

  • Checking the licensing status on the respective board’s website

  • Verifying board certification status on websites like www.abms.org.

The proficiency of medical spa professionals can be evaluated by examining their qualifications and expertise and whether or not the supervising physician has received training in the field as a plastic surgeon.

Assessing the Range of Services Offered

When selecting a medical spa, it’s also necessary to take into account the variety of services they offer. A medical spa typically provides a range of services including:

  • Chemical peels

  • Botox and filler injections

  • Microdermabrasion

  • Laser hair removal

  • Body sculpting

  • Specialized treatments such as fat reduction and microneedling

This enables them to cater to a diverse set of aesthetic needs.

An inclusive approach to client care is often demonstrated through the diversity of treatments a spa offers. A wide range of services designed to cater to different skin types and needs signifies an inclusive approach to client care. You can assess whether a medical spa is keeping pace with the latest treatments and technology by examining the facility’s communicated offerings on their website or blog.

Addressing Common Concerns About Medical Spa Treatments

Despite the many benefits of med spas, there are common concerns that prospective clients might have. One of the most prevalent concerns is whether medical spa treatments are safe and effective. The answer is a resounding yes when the treatments are carried out by licensed professionals under the supervision of a physician.

Safety and Efficacy of Med Spa Procedures

The safety and effectiveness of med spa procedures hold the utmost importance. Medical spa treatments are a procedure typically deemed to be safe and efficacious when administered by licensed professionals under the oversight of a physician. However, potential risks linked to typical medical spa treatment procedures include the possibility of receiving treatments from unlicensed practitioners, which may lead to infections.

Other reported complications encompass burns, discoloration, and misplacement of products.

Cost Considerations and Insurance Coverage

Price is another crucial element that prospective medical clinic clients frequently take into account. Health insurance can usually provide coverage for med spa treatments if they are considered medically necessary.

Compared to traditional cosmetic surgery procedures, med spa treatments typically have a slightly lower cost. However, the variation in prices among different medical spas can be attributed to a range of factors such as the types of anti-aging solutions they offer, the duration of services provided, and the level of competitiveness in the market.


In conclusion, med spas offer a unique fusion of traditional spa services and medical-grade treatments, providing a range of services designed to cater to different skin types and aesthetic needs. These services are carried out by licensed professionals under the supervision of a medical doctor, ensuring safety, efficacy, and adherence to professional standards. Before choosing a medical spa, it’s crucial to verify the credentials and expertise of the professionals on staff and assess the range of services on offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a spa and a medical spa?

A medical spa offers medical technology such as injectable fillers and laser treatments alongside traditional spa services like facials and microdermabrasion, while a regular spa focuses solely on traditional relaxation treatments.

What is the meaning of medical spa?

A medical spa is a facility that offers a mix of relaxing spa experiences and medical procedures, providing cosmetic medical services in a spa-like setting.

What is the goal of a medical spa?

The goal of a medical spa is to address aesthetic concerns such as facial aging, sun damage, excess fat, and excess hair, rather than treating skin diseases like rashes or psoriasis, which is typically the domain of dermatologists.

What is the role of a licensed physician in a medical spa?

In a medical spa, a licensed physician, such as a dermatologist or plastic surgeon, is responsible for overseeing medical procedures, ensuring a high level of professional supervision.

What are some popular treatments at a medical spa?

Some popular treatments at a medical spa include laser therapies, injectable fillers, muscle-relaxing wrinkle smoothers, advanced facials, chemical peels, and other aesthetic enhancements. These treatments cater to various skin and beauty needs.


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