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Archive for October, 2009

Spa-Light On Dr. Thomas Young

Dr. Thomas Young

Dr. Thomas Young

Thomas E. Young, M.D. is the owner and operator of Young Medical Spa  located in Center Valley, Pennsylvania. He is a speaker for Palomar Medical, Inc., the manufacturer of the SlimLipo™ body sculpting laser.


Dr. Young is double board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and has been in practice in the Lehigh Valley for 20 years. He has been trained by some of the industry’s leaders in the field and ensures that his patients receive the very best possible service in the medical community of Pennsylvania. Dr. Young‘s wife, Paula Young, BS, RN, is the staff nurse and is co-owner of Young Medical Spa.



What are the most popular treatments at your medical spa?

The number one procedure we perform in our practice is laser lipolysis for fat reduction. We first started with the 10 watt SmartLipo™ unit when it was first approved by the FDA. We then added the Vaser® Liposelection device to be able to treat larger and thicker areas of fat, and now also use Palomar’s 40 watt SlimLipo™ laser. Our second most popular treatment is cosmetic injectables for the face and hyperhidrosis.



Because fat reduction is our number one procedure in our practice, we also incorporate the use of additional modalities such as the ZERONA™ low level laser and the VelaShape™ to either pretreat areas prior to laser lipolysis, post treat laser lipo patients to help push them to their clinical endpoint faster, or as stand-alone therapies for patients who do not wish to have even a minimally invasive procedure performed for fat or cellulite reduction.


What challenges, if any, do you see the medical spa industry facing in the future?

I see increased competition as more people are entering the aesthetic market, and decreased revenues during this “recession.”



What sets Young Medical Spa apart from other medical spas?

We have efficient physicians on site at all times. We are a small and personal practice. While it’s difficult to achieve 100% patient satisfaction 100% of the time, we take the time to make sure our client’s needs are met and that the desired results are achieved.

We’re the only medical spa or practice in our area that performs a high volume of laser lipolysis procedures. We also have a very caring staff.


What are your thoughts on SpaFinder and its relationship to the industry?

There are so many different types of spas in the world. From resort spas, to day and medical spas and then there are variations in between. SpaFinder makes it a point to reach out to all of the facets of this every changing and growing industry to bring important information back to potential clients and patients in one convenient site.


How has your use of social networking opportunities such as facebook, blogs, twitter, and “Dr Young to go” affected your business?

I truly am a believer that the days of phone book advertising and print ads are a fad of the past. We are an internet-based society. I am the “web mistress” for our website and perform all SEO functions to ensure we are found on the internet. By creating a web of penetration into the World Wide Web by using social media marketing, I have seen our ranking with major search engines increase exponentially. I monitor our website progress and productivity with analytical tools and also incorporate lead and patient data into my own CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to monitor areas my advertisements are penetrating and providing results, and those areas that are not delivering quality leads.


When asked “how have you heard about us” clients mostly say the “Internet.” Not only is social media marketing important, but it is also a well designed and executed pay per click campaign and strategic directory listing. If you count all of the places on the web we have a listing or ad, it would probably total about 50. I monitor these listings constantly to see if they are providing positive results. It’s a full time job.


I like Thomas Jefferson’s quote “The man who stops advertising to save money is like the man who stops the clock to save time.”


Are there any products/procedures new to the industry that you have not yet tried but are considering?

Because our number one procedure that we are known for is body sculpting and contouring, we will soon be performing the Body Jet procedure with fat transfer for breast augmentation.


Do you see your company expanding in the future?

Most definitely! Our medical spa today was not the same medical spa 3 years or so ago when we began advertising with SpaFinder. You have to constantly keep abreast of how the industry is changing and how to grow with it.

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An Injectable That Fills in the Blanks

sculptraOnce intended as a facial tissue plumper for HIV patients, Sculptra®, a synthetic injectable material made from Poly-L-Lactic acid, is now being widely used in the offices of plastic surgeons and medical spas around the country.



Sculptra® acts as a long-lasting filler to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, lines, and furrows around your mouth, eyes, cheeks, and lips. It is injected deep into the tissue below the skin to spur a patient’s collagen growth gradually. The effects can last up to two years once optimum results are achieved, while comparable injectables last a year or less. This is one of the only products approved by the FDA that works gradually to achieve a longer lasting, natural result.         



There are some disadvantages to using Sculptra®.  It can take several treatments to achieve desired results, usually 3 to 6 treatments spaced 4 to 6 weeks apart. Also, after receiving the treatment, the injected area needs to be massaged for up to a week to help distribute the product.



The biggest drawback of this product is the risk of developing bumps beneath the skin. Some bumps are visible and may be caused by either undispersed Sculptra® or not injecting it deep enough into the skin.  These bumps appear in approximately 8.6 percent of patients and will disappear over time or can be dissolved by injecting hyaluronidase in the area.



The cost of Sculptra® can vary, with the cost of most vials ranging from $800 to $1,200. Although it is more costly than similar treatments that last a shorter period of time, 75 percent of patients will spend the money for long-lasting results (two years).


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Lance Armstrong Gets 200 Massages a Year—Susie Ellis reports from ISPA

lancearmstrongLance Armstrong gets 200 massages a year! That—and the reason he even mentioned this—was one of the pearls of wisdom I gleaned from yesterday’s closing session, at what turned out to be a very good ISPA Conference in Austin, Texas.


It was around 11 a.m. that Deborah Szekely walked on the stage to give some background information regarding the ISPA Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award, which is named in honor of her son (a past leader of ISPA), who passed away from melanoma cancer in 2002. As always, she was eloquent and this time had a bit of a surprise for the audience. She came across a letter that Alex had written to Lance Armstrong during his bout with cancer. He expressed how inspiring Lance’s book had been to him and that he had even purchased 100 copies to give to all his friends and family. Deborah read Alex’s words from that letter to introduce this year’s award recipient. It was very moving.


Lance Armstrong (38 years old) came out from behind the stage curtain, receiving a great deal of applause. He was wearing blue jeans, a tight blue t-shirt, and sneakers with yellow soles that matched the yellow “Live Strong” bracelet he was wearing on the tanned right arm of his very toned body. It would be an understatement to say that the entire audience fell in love immediately. (And yes, I do mean men and women!)


He spent the next 30 to 45 minutes talking about his bout with cancer, winning the Tour de France seven times, his family, and the work he is doing now raising funds for his foundation. He also answered some questions from the audience.


Filtering Lance’s remarks through my spa and wellness lens, I’d like to share some things that stood out to me:




  • Lance Armstrong addressed Deborah as Ms. Szekely and began his remarks saying that, while watching her introduction on a monitor backstage, he thought, Wow, this woman should continue speaking!


  • In brief, his cancer began with a major headache (which later showed to be a result of lesions on his brain), spitting up blood (which turned out to be a result of golf ball–size cancer in his lungs), and swelling in his testicles (which turned out to be testicular cancer).


  • When he was first approached with the idea of a “Live Strong” yellow bracelet, he didn’t think it was such a great idea, feeling that few people would want to wear it.


  • Today, 70 million “Live Strong” wrist bands have been sold ($1.00), which means $70 million has been raised for cancer research.


  • He has four children—the oldest is a boy, followed by twin girls, and a six-month-old baby.
    He has won the Tour de France seven times and came in third in last year’s race. He mentioned that it was good for his kids to see their dad not win the top prize.


  • Lance acknowledged that his yellow wrist bands are made in China and that he has gotten some criticism for that in the past. However, he isn’t apologizing any longer since he met with the Dalai Lama and noticed he was wearing an orange wrist band with the word “Compassion” on it. Curious to know where he had them made, Lance surreptitiously turned it over to see that it too was made in China! (That got huge laughs!)


  • In answer to a question about heart-rate levels during training, he mentioned that they no longer monitor heart rates at all. Now it is all about power; thus, they measure watts.


  • Another thing they are beginning to use for training is compression boots.


  • He has a great relationship with his mother, and although he is not currently married, he is in a committed relationship.


  • He is all about prevention and thinks physical education should be put back in schools. (That’s where he formed his interest in competitive athletics.)


  • He does not always eat healthfully and faces the same temptations that everyone does. Chips, salsa, etc. Like most of us, he needs to talk to himself about getting back on track with his training.


And finally, the most memorable moment for me was his reaction to the question: How can spas make their establishments more physically appealing to men?


His face basically said, Why is that a problem? And anyway, who cares? He went on to say that he gets 200 massages a year and how important massage is to improve performance. It was as if he was saying that the decor of a place wouldn’t even factor in his decision on where to have a massage. It’s all about the massage.


Hey spa industry—we’ve come a long way!


To read Susie’s blog, click here (

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Spa-Light on Vanessa Williams

vanessainterviewVanessa Williams, the actress and recording artist who stars in ABC’s critically acclaimed hit series Ugly Betty and whose latest album, The Real Thing, was released in June 2009, filled us in on how she stays balanced, her favorite beauty treatments, and the joys of a good foot rub.




1. You have had an amazing and diverse career, and you’ve raised four children. What about your upbringing has made you who you are today?

I was fortunate to grow up in a family that was incredibly grounded. My mother to this day has a crazy, wonderful, organic vegetable garden, and my dad recycled before it was popular. I can still hear him saying, “Turn off the lights. Put a sweater on. Turn down the heat!” I also grew up with an approach to medicine that was more alternative. We were definitely not medicine takers, and holistic living was incorporated into my life at an early age. I can’t keep a garden, but I have a tomato plant on the patio that brings back memories of eating fresh tomato sandwiches on the back porch when I was a kid.



2. Do you still practice the holistic habits you grew up with?

I cook a lot of organic meals from scratch, and we enjoy eating healthy meals as a family. I always keep candles in my dressing room, which is very Zen, with cloth on the walls and restful Asian influences. I also bring my favorite candles when I travel.



3. Are you a spa-goer?

I mostly go to a spa when I’m on location or on vacation, usually at the hotel. On a business trip, I do like a deep-tissue massage. My absolute favorite spa treatment was a spectacular, authentic full-body Thai massage I had in Egypt. Not only was the treatment amazing, but the view, the smell of the air, the white-washed cliffs—the total experience was wonderful.



4. Egypt sounds fabulous—any other spa destinations you’d like to escape to?

I’d love to visit Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain [in Arizona], and Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires would be wonderful and is closer to home. My fantasy trip would be a spa in Turkey. When we were filming The Odyssey for NBC, we flew over outdoor mineral pools and baths—it looked spectacular.




5. What are your favorite spa and beauty treatments?

I am a huge fan of treatments at the Goddess Repair Shop [a day spa with locations in California and New York City]. They offer microcurrent treatments that increase your collagen, elastin, and muscle tone and also can be used for detox. Microcurrent treatments have been popular in Europe for years, and the results are remarkable.



I also really like hot stone massages and thoroughly enjoy a hot-oil facial, where they drip warm oil on your face and massage it through your hair—heaven. And I can’t forget about feet—there is nothing like having your feet massaged!



6. You have been very open about using cosmetic treatments like Botox. Do you think its growing popularity is a good thing?

People are very aware of and comfortable about using Botox. I advise people to find a confident practitioner who can give them a natural look—appearing refreshed, not unnatural, is key. Coincidentally, because I was open about using this treatment, I was introduced to Allergen, the manufacturer of Botox, and became part of its charitable Express Success Campaign, which benefits not-for-profit Dress for Success, an organization that helps disadvantaged women succeed in the workforce.


7. We’ve all been living through unusually stressful times. How do you de-stress and take time for your own wellness?

I started doing Pilates 22 years ago with Mari Winsor, and I practice yoga and work out as often as possible. My focus is on staying agile—that is the key. My advice for others is to realize that not every day is going to be stress free. But if a magical day comes along when you can really relax, seize that opportunity.  Read a book, go for a walk, listen to music. Enjoy something that helps you feel well and take the entire day for you.

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Our Readers Have Spoken! Congrats to Readers’ Choice Winners

sf-reader-choiceWith more votes cast than ever before, more countries and regions and new award categories, the 2009 SpaFinder Readers’ Choice Awards celebrate the crème de la crème of spas selected by over 360,000 consumers across the globe. For the full results click here  or pick up a copy of the 2010 SpaFinder: The Global Spa & Wellness Directory.



Be sure to look for our ad celebrating the winners in leading spa consumer publications around the world. And if you are an award winner, we hope you will share your success with your clientele by posting the official Readers’ Choice Awards logo on your website and linking to the awards pages at

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Holiday Marketing and Press Opportunity – at No Additional Cost!

pr_requestSpaFinder is partnering with a leading national men’s magazine for a special holiday promotion. Please tell us if you currently offer – or could offer –  couples’ massage classes. We will feature spas from around the globe, but please send us your information asap as the deadline tight!  Just click here  to answer a few questions for the promotion.

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Marketing Idea of the Month: Have Your Game Plan Ready Now!

Now is the time for all good spa professionals to plan their holiday marketing campaigns. Here’s a handy checklist to help you get organized—and maximize ROI.



• Update your mailing lists; be ready to hit “send”


• Plan, write, and schedule your website campaigns. (Be ready to launch  before Thanksgiving.)


• Ditto for email campaigns. They should be ready by now!


• Send SpaFinder your deals ASAP for posting on


• Don’t forget PR. Newspapers are planning holiday coverage as you read this. They always need something new to write about. Market your own gift certificate sales. Think about gifting creatively!

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Hot Off the Presses


SpaFinder: The Global Spa & Wellness Directory

 This year’s directory includes day, medical, getaway, cruise-ship and airport spas. The directory also highlights spa living real estate and the spa lifestyle, along with our 2009 Readers’ Choice Awards.


Copies of the directory are available for purchase by spas for $5.00, that’s half the newsstand price. To place an order, please email

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