The Role of Medical Spas in the Longevity Movement:
An Introduction to the Anti-Aging Medical Specialty
by Ronald Klatz, MD, DO and Robert Goldman, MD, PhD, DO, FAASP
Ronald Klatz, MD, DO coined the term "anti-aging medicine" and is a world recognized authority on preventive medicine and advanced biomedical technologies. Robert Goldman, MD, PhD, DO, FAASP, is Chairman of the International Medical Commission and a former world champion athlete with over 20 world strength records. In 1992, Drs. Klatz and Goldman co-founded the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M; www.worldhealth.net), and serve as its President and Chairman, respectively.
The Synergy Between Medical Spas & Anti-Aging Medicine
Anti-aging medicine is a medical specialty founded on the application of advanced scientific and medical technologies for the early detection, prevention, treatment, and reversal of age-related dysfunction, disorders, and diseases. It is a healthcare model promoting innovative science and research to prolong the healthy lifespan in humans. As such, anti-aging medicine is based on principles of sound and responsible medical care that are consistent with those applied in other preventive health specialties. The goal of antiaging medicine is not to merely maximize the total possible years of an individual's life, but to ensure that those years are enjoyed in a productive, healthy, and vital fashion. Anti-aging medicine focuses on the application of high-tech diagnostic and treatment biomedical technologies for the very earliest detection and most aggressive care of metabolic disorders and disease, the concept being that by maintaining youthful metabolism we may delay and prevent aging-related disease.
Today, mature adults control more than $7 trillion in wealth in the United States [Harvard Business Review, March 2004], or 70% of all US wealth. Further, they bring in $2 trillion in annual income and account for 50% of all discretionary spending." [Associated Press, March 7, 2004]. Baby Boomers, the first of whom turn age 60 this year, drive much of the anti-aging and medical spa markets. Fully intent on maintaining physical fitness, mental acuity, and a productive, robust lifestyle for as long as possible, the Baby Boomer generation is responsible for fueling a burgeoning marketplace for anti-aging products and services. The U.S. anti-aging marketplace, valued at $45.5 billion (2004), is growing at an annual growth rate of 9.5%, and projected to reach $72 billion by 2009. [Business Communications Company, Inc., February 2005]
Like the anti-aging industry, the medical spa industry has also experienced rapid and steady growth due in large part to the shift in demographics of the American population. According to the International SPA Association, between 2002 and 2004, the medical spa segment expanded faster than any other segment of the spa industry, with the number of medical spas growing by 109% compared to 26% for the U.S. spa industry as a whole. In addition, ISPA cites that "there is a 'revolution' in cosmetic procedures and consumers can 'look better without the need for cosmetic surgery," resulting in the steady upwards sales "trend towards medically-based products." ["The ISPA 2004 Spa Industry Study-Executive Summary," Nov. 15, 2004.]A review of leading anti-aging related products and services that are offered in medical spas underscores the synergy between medical spas and anti-aging medicine:
• Nearly 90 million American consumers use, or have used, products or procedures in an attempt to reduce the visible signs of aging. "If they had their way, Americans would prefer to look younger than they actually are," because "a youthful appearance is an important factor for professional success … and personal happiness." [National Consumers League survey, May 2004].
• The U.S. market for cosmeceuticals - supplements that target skin health and beauty - is valued at $12.4 billion and is expected to reach $16 billion by 2010. In addition, skincare products dominate the retail market, controlling 52% of retail sales and worth $6.4 billion in 2004. [MarketResearch.com, January 2005.]
• In 2003, 9 million Americans underwent procedures to look younger or enhance their personal appearance [MarketResearch.com, January 2005].
• Demand in 2005 for minimally invasive cosmetic procedures jumped by 53% since 2000, with a
total of 8.4 million procedures performed [American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 2006].
Aesthetics in the Anti-Aging Medical Practice
According to a USA Today/ABC News poll [conducted the week of Oct. 12, 2005 and reported by USA Today, Oct. 17, 2005], Americans are worried about these specific quality of life issues as they get older:
• Losing their health (73%)
• Losing the ability to take care of oneself (70%)
• Losing mental abilities (69%)
• Being a burden on their family (54%)
• Losing their looks (22%)
The public can find answers to these aging-related health concerns at both medical spas and anti-aging medical practices. Anti-aging physicians, that is - clinical specialists who generally devote 70% or more of their practices specifically to the early detection, prevention, treatment, and amelioration of age-related dysfunction, disorders, and diseases - offer a vast array of diagnostics, interventions, and therapeutics in categories such as:
• Anti-Aging Endocrinology & Hormone Replacement Therapy
• Antioxidant Analysis & Optimized Supplementation
• Maximized Immune Function
• Cardiovascular Protection
• Cognitive Function Assessment & Repair
• Metabolic & DNA Repair
• Skin De-Aging & Repair
• Lifestyle Modification
• Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation-Sports Medicine-Conditioning
• Biomarkers of Aging Assessment
• Prospective Advanced Diagnostics [such as gene single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)] Many anti-aging medical practices, in addition to providing the above approaches that aim to improve the healthy human lifespan, also now offer non-invasive and minimally invasive cosmetic/aesthetic services,
which may include:
• Botox® (3.8 million procedures performed in 2005*)
• Chemical peels (1 million in 2005*) .