Naturopathic Doctors + Spa = Future of Primary Care

 In Practice Building

“The best way to predict the future is to create it” – Peter Drucker

Most of these columns over the last few years have attempted to help guide NDs toward building a strong, sustainable practice for themselves and their community. I hope this episode will provide some insight into current trends, as well as encouragement and new opportunities for those who are not overly excited by the entrepreneurial aspects of their career as an ND.
The spa industry is naturally synergistic to this field, not only clinically, but also through referrals, service delivery, and market penetration. Spa services reach further into the “bell-curve” of the population than naturopathic medicine. But such is the correlation that individuals in a community willing to purchase spa services for cash should be the easiest people in the community to engage in a naturopathic approach to their health.

This synergy is very important to me personally, as in 2005, I moved both continents and professions on its promise. My first job in America, launching a holistic day spa in Georgia, taught me so much, and it is exciting to see that in 2012, 7 years later, the business model that it portrays is now forming in the industry as we speak. In fact, it recently won a regional award for best business model.

In the 1990s and 2000s, the day spa and destination spa industries grew substantially, as the trend of self-care started to make itself known. After the recession hit in 2008, the majority of these destination spas were hit very hard as self-care became seen as a luxury. In search of a recession-proof business model and new income streams, these spas are now turning to alternative medicine modalities, including acupuncture and homeopathy.

In this month’s Day Spa Magazine, there was an article called “Evaluating Homeopathy,” which looked mainly at the historical side of homeopathy (yawn!) and made some recommendations for spa owners interested in incorporating this modality. Spa directors are being prepped; you just have to make the connection now, or hope someone finds you. So here are my recommendations for NDs.

• For all NDs: Explore ways to partner with local spas. Patient referrals are just one of many potential benefits for your practice. Creating a wellness network in your community is key to offering a remarkable service.

• For NDs who already have a strong practice: Spa services like massage, facials, and colonics can be very effective ways to bring in passive income, increase your occupancy in non-peak hours, and offer your patients a one-stop shop for their self-care needs.

• For NDs looking for a better job/team/practice: Is there a spa in your community that might be looking for you? What would be the benefit to building your practice in a spa environment? How could you add value through initiation?

We would love to hear your experiences working with day spas, destination spas, and other multi-disciplinary venues. The future of medicine is happening right now. Will you be an early adapter?

James Maskell is CEO of Revive NYC, a Brooklyn-based digital media, practice development, and branding company that helps holistic practitioners bring their message to life. To connect with Revive, please visit:

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