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Medical Spas

Learn about the procedures available at medical spas, especially the increasingly popular trend of detoxification.

Medical spas can be wonderful and relaxing. [© Shutterstock, 2010]
© Shutterstock, 2010
Medical spas can be wonderful and relaxing.

According to the Medical Spa Association, in order to be defined as a medical spa, a facility must be supervised by a licensed healthcare professional. A medical spa offer services ranging from traditional therapies to alternative health procedures. Many medical spas focus on cosmetic procedures such as Botox injections, chemical peels and laser hair removal, while others offer more alternative medical services like acupuncture, herbology and medical massage. Situated somewhere between traditional and alternative medicine are purification spas. Also known as detoxification spas, these facilities offer a range of therapies and procedures designed to rid the body of harmful toxins.

Why Attend a Purification Spa?

Detox and purification spas operate from the idea that there are toxins that build up in an individual's body over time than can negatively affect their health. Although organs such as the bowel, kidney and liver are designed to get rid of toxic substances, the belief is that the increased amount of chemicals in the contemporary environment can overload the system, causing toxins to build up in cells and joints. Many people maintain that this buildup of toxins may cause one to feel unwell and increase the risk of developing certain autoimmune diseases, cancers, allergies and infections.

The purpose of a purification spa is to help the body flush out these unwanted toxins through various detoxification methods. Possible benefits of detoxification include:

  • Higher energy levels
  • Improved digestive functions
  • Relief from chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, acne and migraine headaches
  • Increased weight loss
  • Decreased mood swings
  • General improvement in well-being

The Purification Spa Experience

Each individual medical spa offers a unique combination of detox treatments, and the spa experience differs depending on the location. For example, while medical spas that offer detoxification as just one of many services often perform cleansing procedures in a day spa setting, spas devoted solely to purification usually offer their services during a week-long retreat. Although no two spas offer exactly the same experience, a detoxification program at retreat-style spas generally include a consultation with a specialist to determine individual cleansing needs, luxurious accommodations, restricted diets(such as organic vegetarian meals to liquid diets), and detoxification procedures such as colon cleansing, oil massages to loosen tissue impurities and relaxation sessions.

Some purification spas require customers to prepare for their spa experience a week or two before arrival. Preparatory methods may include following a special diet, making changes to daily routines and performing enemas.

Colon Cleansing

When people think of detoxification, the first thing that often comes to mind is colon cleansing -- and for good reason. Most detoxification or purification spas include colon cleansing procedures such as enemas and colonic irrigation as part of their detoxification process.

The role of a healthy colon is to eliminate waste from the body. However, poor diet and high levels of environmental toxins can hinder this natural detoxification procedure. When the colon does not function properly, toxins are reabsorbed by the body rather than being eliminated. A  poorly functioning colon can have numerous detrimental effects on the body, including:

  • Weight gain
  • Skin issues
  • Bad breath
  • Increased gas
  • Irritability
  • Food sensitivities


Purification spas administer enemas and colonic irrigation procedures in order to encourage elimination. This is believed to not only improve intestinal health but general well-being as well. In addition to flushing-out the system, colon cleansing helps the colon to properly absorb nutrients, which then feed other organs.

At most spas, each patient is individually evaluated and given specific colon-cleansing procedures according to their specific needs. Specialized treatments might include the use of different herbal enemas, such as an organic coffee enema that encourages the liver to detoxify the body.

At some purification spas, colon cleansing procedures are used in combination with liquid diets in order to assist in the detoxification process and promote healing.

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