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Adding Medical Spa or Wellness Services? Make Sure You’re Legal. It’s Programs, Not Procedures.

This is a repost of a previous blog. Still relevant . . . .

It seems that every week we are contacted by spa operators who want to transition their business to include wellness or medical spa services. It is not as simple as hiring an acupuncturist or finding a doctor and hiring them as your medical director.The questions are: 1) “Can I do it?” and 2) “How?” The answers will depend on the state you are located in. The information you need may be difficult to find and contradictory depending on who you ask. There is research to be done before you hang additional shingles outside your business.


Start with your own license and make your first point of research your state board of licensing, medical or nursing board. What are you licensed to do? By clearly understanding your own scope of practice you will know which services you are legally licensed to provide. Other issues that affect your ability to add medical spa or wellness services may include whether you operate in a state that permits the corporate practice of medicine and what services are covered by your liability insurance. Around the country, medical boards are cracking down. If it’s not within your scope of service, you can’t do it.

Some states require that in addition to the license of the practitioner, the facility itself must be licensed to perform specific services. Make sure you and your facility are licensed to provide the services you are providing.

A short answer to the “Can I do it?” question is that if you are not a doctor, you cannot employ a doctor. A service that penetrates the skin is considered the practice of medicine and can only be performed by licensed medical professionals. In some states (Minnesota for example) the use of lasers is considered surgery and hence is considered as the practice of medicine.


Wellness and preventive health care services is not a trend, it’s a lifestyle. Adding wellness and medical spa services is not merely adding services. This is a business transition and will change how you will be perceived. It requires a re-write of your business plan.

Every operator needs to take honest assessment of what they offer when compared with their local competition. Who is the guest and why should they come to your business?

As we bring wellness and medical services into our businesses, traditional spa services such as massage and skincare are necessary and appropriate. That said, they need to be promoted as part of something bigger. The chances of success in a wellness environment depends on our ability to be part of an collaborative suite of practitioners (medical and non-medical) that offer a mix of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), nutrition, and preventive healthcare services. This will provide a pathway to optimal health for clientele. No single practitioner can do this by themselves and the ability to co-market all services is much greater than a single. We’re creating hybrids here. It’s not a spa and it’s not a clinic.

To this end, we are creating health and wellness centers that offer integrative programs that heal, prevent, and resolve. We’re not marketing procedures or services. We’re promoting programs that may include Pain Management; Fertility, Maternity & Infant Services; Women’s & Men’s Health; Movement & Flexibility; Personal Growth; Image & Relationships; Stress Management; Weight Management; Skin Health; Healthy Aging; Sound Sleep; and Smoking Cessation – Detox.

This will only work if we have all practitioners operating with the same vision. We need to find practitioners who have comparable care philosophies. In this business model, a strong team will evolve only if it has strong contributing individual practitioners. In the model we are developing around the country the client perceives one business with several practitioners working together. In essence, there are several businesses who co-exist synergistically. Each practitioner is profitable and able to do what they do well. There is one reception, one administration, one retail area, and one marketing plan. This allows co-promotion, cross referrals, and teamwork among practitioners.

In doing an assessment of your business, what will compel your clientele to return to your facility more frequently? Does it make sense to add health and wellness services? Growing and reinventing your business simultaneously is no small feat. Since you’ve opened, your clientele and their needs have changed. Have you?


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