Some days are more exciting than others, such as visiting a medical spa.
For sometime, I have been observing a growing trend in the spa industry – doctors walling up their clinics within the cozy, pampering ambient of a spa.
Is this the advent of spa medicine?
Are we seeing western medicine complementing alternative therapy and spa treatments?
It's still early days, but "S Medical Spa" in Bangkok, impressed me during my recent experience there.
It sets the standard for the evolution of authentic medical spa, also known as medispa or medspa.
Let me explain......
Any spa can scale up to a medical spa by just incorporating medical treatment facilities and spa facilities with state-of-the-art technology under the same roof.
Doctors would lend their names to these spas and see to their itinerary, albeit a consultative one.
Whichever way you look, these spas are just a configuration of separate departments managed by specialist doctors and spa therapist, and each NOT knowing what the other is doing for the client.
S Medical Spa makes no bones about dissolving these lines that caused separation - science from arts; symptoms from cause, curing from healing, western medicine from energy medicine, medical treatments from spa treatments.
No doubt you do see contours and all the semblance of clinical and spa facilities with its team of specialist doctors and therapists.
Yet, spatially, when you navigate your way up and across the two floors that encompass the medispa, you feel your body, mind and spirit resonate as ONE. Every visible space that we behold seems to belong to one another.
For example, the sight and walk to the reception area that greeted our visit, to the compression lounge that we were ushered to for a welcome drink, to the spa cuisine, seem to calibrate our energy back to a state of equilibrium.
An ambient stillness and peace pervades the enviroment.
I had expected to see staff in their white nurses’ outfit but S Medical Spaexudes nothing of that sort.
Dr Pakpilai, (standing at left) who is president and founder of S Medical Spa, is one of a new breed of respected medical doctors who evolves her practice of modern western medicine to include eastern medicine and therapies.
Such Doctors, like Dr. Pakpilai, are better known as integrative physicians.
Listening to Dr. Pakpilai share about her family’s struggle with disease , I can appreciate how she choose to make the transition from being a conventional doctor to being an integrative physician.
Her family’s struggle with health, western medicine’s failure to treat chronic pains and aging problems, and her openness to embrace alternative healing inspired the birth of S Medical Spa in 2005.
S Medical Spa weaves together a multi-disciplinary approach - western medicine integrated with alternative and complementary medicine, therapies and spa.
The distinction here is important.
It is the first to include alternative therapies and healing modalities such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncture, Bio Energy Medicine and Human Aura Scan, Nutrition and Supplementation as well as healing arts like Qigong, Water Taichi and Meditation.
Secondly, it integrates those different disciplines into a single, coordinated consultative and treatment process. This isn’t always easy. My impression is, they appear to apply them better than the other medispas.
Sure, you could go straight for the medical, like skin resurfacing, mole removal, or colon hydrotherapy or pick one of the spa massage menu for spa facial and massage but holistically, you would find, it makes greater sense to do a human aura scan or a bio energy medicine test .
This was the case with both my wife and I. We didn’t know where or how to start given the wide range of medical and spa services.
Dr. Pakpilai recommended we take the human aura scan. Interestingly, it led us to decide “Cool Guy/Cool Gal Massage” as most appropriate for our wellness from the spa menu.
And for a detailed insight into body and mind wellness, she recommended we do a bio energy medicine (BEM) test.
It’s just amazing what the field of bio energy medicine offers. The test shows up your nutrient status in your body, hormones and stress levels, and a host of biomarkers of aging.
Dr. Pakpilai shared with us passionately how she saw aging and disease as a lifestyle challenge rather than a medical one.
One aspect of slowing down the aging process and enhancing youthfulness and vitality is eating and enjoying the right nutrient foods. It was a delight savoring at their spa cuisine as I seek to learn a bit about their spa recipes.
Dr. Pakpilai believes that each of us can live a pain-free life up to our very last breath by a change of lifestyle.
While she does not negate the use of medical treatments, where alternative treatments are available, safe and effective, she is in favour of recommending clients to exercise these options.
Her goal is to educate and change you gradually from depending on medicinal drugs to adopting a wellness lifestyle.
S Medical Spa's wellness lifestyle program emphasizes emotional balance and healthy relationship, stress control and relaxation.
It includes right nutrition and supplementation, exercise and massage. This is the hall mark of an authentic medispa.
I believe there is still a long way to go for doctors to evolve into integrative physicians, especially in Singapore. There is still a clear divide between western medicine for curing and alternative therapy for healing.
Doctors treat symptoms with medicinal drugs. Patients are diagnosed as sick or diseased by the cluster of symptoms they show.
On the other hand, integrative physicians view their clients as whole person (not sick or diseased). Their role is to restore balance and harmony to body and mind.
They inject and prescribe drugs where conditions necessitated, usually as temporal relief strategy. But their primary focus is targeted towards addressing cause with supplementation, nutrition and therapies.
In short, they integrate the best of both – Science and Art.
Is it not ironic to hear that while doctors prescribe their patients with medicinal drugs, when it comes to treating their own ailments, they treat themselves using supplementation?
Now, we all know patent medicines make money. Could medical spas be just another haven for doctors’ monopoly rather than for optimal wellness?
Well, with the growth of medical spas in Asia, we hope to see more physicians take the noble route as Dr. Pakpilai in leading the way towards an integrative wellness pathway.
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