Personalized Medicine at the Spa

health collage“Personalized medicine” is as old as the concept of “medicine” itself; that is, tailoring medical treatment to the individual.  The observation of the individual through query and specific symptom discussion is a part of the “scientific method” itself.  The scope of care isn’t limited to pharmacology, biology, or some recent medical science discovery.  Personalized medicine has always been the goal of the physician given the data collected from each patient.  What is dramatically changing is the advances of computational power and medical imaging which are paving the way for personalized medical treatments.  Wireless, mobile sensors that allow for interoperable devices that consider a patient’s genetic, anatomical, and physiological characteristics have opened the gateway of medicine outside the standard parameters of medical care.  Regenerative medicine and stem cell research has made the notion of regenerating or replicating destroyed tissue a reality.

Today cancer drugs are increasingly twinned with a diagnostic device that can determine whether a patient will respond to the drug based on their tumor’s genetic characteristics; medical imaging can be used to identify the best implantable device to treat a specific patient with clogged coronary arteries; and progress in regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy using a patient’s own cells could lead to the replacement or regeneration of their missing or damaged tissues.

Concierge medical care is somewhat standard among the most elite around the globe.  Personalized care by a highly trained team of experts to finely tune, measure and promote the patient’s well-being becomes a one-on-one process It was not until the 19th century that developments in chemistry, histochemistry and microscopy that allowed scientists to begin to understand the underlying causes of disease.  From here, major advancements in science and technology y have allowed healthcare decisions to become increasingly granular over time. With the growth of the pharmaceutical and medical device industries in the 20th century y came the rise of genetics, imaging, and data mining. Midway through the century y, observations of individual differences in response to drugs gave rise to a body of research focused on identifying key enzymes that play a role in variation in drug metabolism and response and that served as the foundation for pharmacogenomics. More recently, sequencing of the human genome at the turn of the 21st century set in motion the transformation of personalized medicine from an idea to a practice. Rapid developments in genomics, together with advances in a number of other areas, such as computational biology, medical imaging, and regenerative medicine, are creating the possibility for scientists to develop tools to truly personalize diagnosis and treatment.

In the next decade we are going to witness spas functioning as true wellness centers. Preventative care and treatment as well as having one or more doctors with the proper credentials and intent will curb the costs of healthcare all together by producing healthier patients.  Smart technology will be a part of the treatment with the spa goer taking home devices relative to their personal health dynamic.  Wellness in this way will become a choice of first resort for dis-ease.  Are we ready to take our industry to the next level?