Anti-aging turns big profits

Wednesday, April 20, 2005 at 1:00am

Products and procedures aimed at making people look younger are nothing new in the United States, but in the past few years great strides have been made, with medical breakthroughs and specialty cosmetics now making their way to the general public.

This rapidly expanding business sector, often referred to as the anti-aging industry, is being marketed in a number of ways, from plastic surgery practices to laser clinics and, more recently, med-spas.

According to the International Spa Association, headquartered in Lexington, Ky., the medical spa segment is the fastest growing segment in terms of locations in the spa industry. The association reports that there are approximately 500 medical spas in the United States, and that between 2002 and 2004 the segment grew by 109 percent, compared to 26 percent for the spa industry as a whole.

As in many things medical, Nashville is at the forefront of the med-spa movement. One of the newest and most rapidly expanding corporations involved in anti-aging services is Sona MedSpa International. The company, which moved to Cool Springs from Virginia Beach, Va., last June after a buyout by an investment company, is offering franchises to qualified individuals internationally.

The company is educating those franchisees and their staff in Virginia Beach and at its new training center in Cool Springs, with each franchise sending six to seven people for training.

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