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The New Generation of Spas: Combining High Tech with High Touch

When we think of spas, a few things come to mind: relaxation, health, looking and feeling refreshed. The over-stimulation of today’s frenzied world has prompted a significant shift in the mindset toward spas as being more about proactive health, opposed to an occasional indulgence; a concept that has been practiced throughout Europe and Asia for centuries. People from all walks of life—both women and men— are seeking spa services for immersive wellness and restorative beauty.

This growing consumer demand has driven spas to offer highly personalized treatments where technology plays a key role. From sensors used to assess needs, such as identifying the depth and location of sun damage and wrinkles, to body scanners that guide custom laser contouring; even topical creams have advanced delivery systems to penetrate layers of the skin. Technology provides doctors and spa practitioners a less invasive way to help reset the aging process. 

Despite their various specialties, three local spas share some commonalities; a highly skilled team offering leading edge practices, combined with tried-and-true hands on expertise. For all three, the goal is to design individualized treatments that bring about life enhancing transformation.

Rocky Mountain Laser Center and Colorado Springs Dermatology Clinic

This state-of-the-art facility delivers comprehensive medical and aesthetic services from an impressive board certified team of physicians who take a collaborative approach to health and beauty. 

Serving both sides of the clinic, Dr. Keller, Southern Colorado’s first full-time Cosmetic Dermatologist, customizes an integrative plan for each patient to ensure optimal results. 

“Aging is still a major draw,” she points out. Wrinkles and pigment change are a concern that can be corrected with minimally invasive office procedures using laser resurfacing and fillers. Laser technology is also used to improve acne, scars, sun damage, wrinkles; plus, a revolutionary new laser removes tattoos more efficiently than ever. Conditions such as rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and skin cancer are addressed both medically and cosmetically. 

“A big trend is non-invasive body contouring,” Dr. Keller said. “CoolSculpting® delivers the most consistent results by freezing and eliminating stubborn fat cells without surgery and relatively no downtime. “

New to Colorado Springs, Dr. Keller observed that environment plays a significant role in skin health, “with the lack of humidity, elevation, and sun exposure, people are prone to drier skin and more wrinkles.” 

“If you get the benefits of laser, but don’t follow up with skincare, it is pointless,” she noted. “The most important part of our business is educating about skin protection and moisture.”

The Colorado MediSpa at the Albert Vein Institute

The first step at The Colorado MediSpa is to evaluate a patient’s skin utilizing a high-performance imaging system that gathers data to help tailor services like facials, chemical peels, injectables, resurfacing and laser treatments to the client’s specific needs. 

According to Jessica Ochs, physician assistant, their cosmetic services evolved out of requests from patients of their core business, the Albert Vein Institute, who wanted services following their varicose vein procedures. 

“Many spas offer sclerotherapy, or vein treatment, along with other cosmetic services. But, what sets us apart is that Dr. James Albert, our medical director, is a board certified cardiovascular surgeon. So, vein and heart health are at the foundation of our spa,” noted Ochs. “We will not recommend cosmetic services for spider veins unless the underlying medical cause (if there is one) has been treated. We handle clinical diagnosis right here and work in tandem with the MediSpa.”  

Scleratherapy has exciting new procedures that have been used in Europe for 15 years and is only now making it to the U.S. and utilizes minimally invasive equipment with shorter recovery and long-term results. 

One example is foam sclerotherapy that eliminates the vein faster using less solution, but is not safe for all patients. “A Transcranial Doppler (TCD) is used to determine whether a patient is a candidate for foam or liquid, by detecting a small, asymptomatic communication between the left and right side of the heart,” described Ochs. “Our ability to test allows for patient safety and greater treatment outcome.”  

Garden of the Gods Club and Resort Spa

Evolving beyond a day spa and salon, Garden of the Gods Club and Resort is undergoing a transformation, establishing a world-class integrative health and wellness center, a la Canyon Ranch. 

Resort owner, Judy Mackey’s vision is for immersive world-class health and wellness: “from the food to the views, all areas of the property abound in serenity and natural healing. Whole health is not a quick fix. The goal is to create a life plan from the inside out. We have one of the most picturesque destinations for rejuvenation and healing.” 

Blending art and science, award-winning Spa Director, Rebecca Johnston, has taken a decidedly European approach, refining leading edge protocols that rebuild the skin non-aggressively. “In the European spa tradition, there is no dichotomy between mind and body: what heals one restores the other,” she explained. 

Johnston offers a ‘life changing’ facial that customizes time tested natural techniques like lymph drainage. She applies the French based Biologique Recherche methodology that takes a clinical approach to esthetics using pure, raw ingredients, and innovative procedures, such as massage and electro therapy that Johnston describes as, “a Pilates workout for the face resulting in remarkable muscle toning.”

Across their spectrum of treatments, from reflexology to stone therapy, chiropractic, hair and nail, the approach is to integrate body treatments with esthetics and relaxation techniques for the mind and spirit. 

Medical Director, Dr. Michael Barber, said the objective for the wellness center is to incorporate best practices in a functional medical component where “guests come to refresh, de-stress, detox, and learn about diet, nutrition, exercise, with minimally invasive ways to feel better on the inside and out.” 

Dr. Barber explained how the evaluation process is vital to proactive health: “By gathering nutritional input, fitness goals, medical, biorhythmic, cardio, and neurological data, the whole person will truly be assessed with comprehensive goals charted and measured.” 

The spa industry is driving a collaborative approach with the health and medical industries to increase their role in proactive wellness, and reshape the mindset from spas being an indulgence to being a necessity for ‘total health’.