SpaTrade's most recent poll results show that an overwhelming majority of spa professionals feel under-educated regarding the legal and liability issues associated with operating a medical spa. The poll of SpaTrade's 7,500 members showed that fully 90% percent of respondents felt they could use more information regarding their local laws covering medical spa issues, or that they did not understand the laws in their state at all. Less than six percent of respondents said they understood the laws in their state very well. As one spa owner put it "It's hard enough to catch up, let alone keep up."

Although demand for medical spa services is booming, there is growing concern among medical practitioners and insurance companies regarding possible exposure to liability. State licensing and oversight boards are unable to keep up with the rapidly changing landscape of general spa services, much less medically-supervised, advanced esthetic services.

Aestheticians aspire to perform more results-oriented treatments, and yet, there is no widely-accepted certification for "paramedical esthetician" available today. "When I was first starting out in this business, I just worried about getting all the steps to a facial in the right order," said one esthetician. "But if I'm working with lasers or potent chemicals, one little mistake can potentially kill my career and cause great harm to a client. I can make a lot more money doing high-end treatments but they're risky, too."

At the intersection of skin care and non-ablative skin surgery are a host of new products and services requiring specialized training and careful application. Recent consumer research by Spa Finder indicates that consumers are more comfortable receiving paramedical treatments in a medical spa versus a day spa. The word "medical" in medical spa is much more than a marketing term to the consumer. It is a promise of medically-supervised, results-oriented treatments in a safe, responsible environment.

In response to the overwhelming demand for information about the rapidly growing medical spa field, SpaTrade will be increasing coverage of the changing medical spa landscape. For more information on medical spas, read our May 4, 2003 article, the Legal and Liability Issues of Operating a Medical Spa.