The New York Times recently featured The Spa Experience: Mud Bath, Massage, M.R.I., an article by Michelle Higgins that thoughtfully examines the rising popularity of medical services in destination spas and resorts.

Stating that demand for alternative health care services from the baby boom generation is fueling this trend, Higgins quoted Steve Akin, a 60-year-old financial executive. Akin was making his annual visit to Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA for, among other things, a bone density scan, lipid analysis and electrocardiogram. 'I get a report with more information than I can fully digest. But it's a full review of my organs and my overall health. You spend two hours with your doctor.'

'At home, you won't spend two hours with your doctor in a year - unless you're on a medical table getting surgery,' Mr. Akin told the New York Times.

At Canyon Ranch, about a third of guests select medical services ranging from a doctor's appointment to diagnostic tests, up 16 percent from 2000. At the Chopra Center for Well Being, spa-goers requesting doctor visits have 'more than quadrupled' over the last 10 years, said the spiritual guru Deepak Chopra, who has had medical doctors on staff since he opened his first center in 1996 in California. 'It's becoming the trend now,' he said.

Not every spa expert believes that spas and stethoscopes mix, however. Deborah Szekely, founder of Rancho La Puerta and the Golden Door, states in the article: 'I really feel it's detrimental to the spa experience. Everyone is floating, they're feeling the gardens, the beauty, the program - then to have to come down to bowel movements and headaches - the two don't go.'