There’s no question that the world is getting older, which is good news for medical spas. Indeed, a major part of most medical spa offerings consists of anti-ageing treatments.
By 2040, the UN estimates that the number of people 65 years of age and over will have more than doubled in the preceding 25 years.
More importantly, the 65-and-over population in the most developed and highest income regions of the world, where a substantial proportion of the population can afford spa treatments, is expected to be the only age segment that will see increases over the coming 20 years.
Region/ age segment
% change 2015-2040
More developed regions(a)
High-income countries (b)
Figure 1: Population by major age segment and region 2015-2040 (’000) a) More developed regions comprise Europe, Northern America, Australia/New Zealand and Japan. b) Based on 2016 GNI (gross national income) per capita as calculated by the World Bank. Source: “World Population Prospects The 2017 Revision Volume I: Comprehensive Tables”, United Nations, New York, 2017
Not only for old people
While ageing of the population is an important trend for the medical spa industry, the demand for anti-ageing treatments is by no means limited to people of retirement age. Indeed, there is growing desire on the part of younger cohorts to take advantage of treatments designed to prolong their youth. For example, Montreux-based Clinique La Prairie, which is specialised in cell-therapy anti-ageing treatments, offers cures “designed for people over 40 looking to recover their youth…”
Clinique La Prairie, a pioneer in the field of longevity
Since 1931, when Professor Paul Niehans, began his research in cellular therapy designed to slow down the aging process, Clarens’ Clinique La Prairie has promoted itself as a pioneer in the field of longevity.
The clinic focuses on preventative medicine; by nurturing aging cells, the natural protective system is reinforced and becomes better equipped to manage diseases or injuries. Clinique La Prairie's medical recovery and anti-aging treatments are based on research using the embryonic cells of sheep, which are employed to strengthen the human immune system and speed recovery after surgery or illness.
Only black sheep are used, because they are the most resistant to illness. In order to retain control over the entire medical process from start to finish, Clinique La Prairie maintains its own flock of sheep in a remote area of Switzerland.
Nescens, an anti-ageing mini conglomerate
Nescens, operates medical spas in three different locations in Switzerland, including: at the headquarters in Genolier; La Réserve, the luxury spa resort just outside Geneva; and at the Victoria Jungfrau, one of Switzerland’s iconic palace hotels in Interlaken, which belongs to the parent company, Aevis Victoria SA, an owner of Swiss luxury hotels and private clinics.
Besides operating the spas, Nescens also produces a line of anti-ageing ‘cosmeceuticals’, which are cosmetic products with bioactive ingredients purported to have medical benefits, such as ‘restructuring balm – lips and contour’; ‘activator serum, stem cells – face’, which the group claims increases the regenerative power of stem cells in the epidermis; and ‘dark spot correcting serum’, which is supposed to correct skin alterations related to photo-aging, as pigmentation blemishes are lightened.
Better Ageing programmes at La Réserve
Nescens better-aging programmes are designed to help customers target and correct the imbalances that accelerate ageing such as: overweight, stress, fatigue, while enabling them to gain a better understanding of their risk factors and the ability to implement a tailored health prevention plan.
All Nescens better-aging programmes begin with an in-depth diagnostic phase, conducted by a multidisciplinary team with complementary expertise (preventive medicine, osteopathy, nutrition) to enable overall better-ageing treatment. The different components of the programme (nutrition, physical activity, treatment) are personalised by medical teams who supervise the expert contingent (coaches, therapists, etc.).
There are three programmes, including 4-day and 7-day breaks, as well as an intensive one, ranging in cost from CHF 4,500 to 9,500, including accommodation and meals.
Which treatments are favoured by an ageing population?
Meanwhile, in terms of non-surgical cosmetic procedures, 54% of all skin rejuvenation procedures, e.g. chemical peel, microdermabrasion (procedure used to renew overall skin tone and texture, which can improve the appearance of sun damage, wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, etc.) and micro-ablative resurfacing (fractional resurfacing) are performed on people over 50.
After the age of 20, the skin produces 1% less collagen each year. When combined with the effects of sun exposure, unattractive lines and brown spots appear. Laser skin resurfacing seeks to improve the appearance of pore size and skin tone and texture, so as to achieve a more youthful looking appearance.
How it works?
This fractional technology uses microbeams of energy to create areas of affected tissue that extend through the skin’s epidermis into the dermis while leaving the surrounding skin unharmed resulting in faster healing. This triggers the body’s natural healing process to clear away old, damaged skin cells and create new, healthy cells to take the place of the cells that have been cleared away. The laser also stimulates the production of new collagen & elastin deep within the skin. With time, this will build up the support structure under the skin resulting in a younger and smoother looking appearance.