The Integrator Blog
Share |
Contact Me, Experience, Mission, Sabbatical in Central America, plus
Editorial Advisory Board
Michael Levin
Taylor Walsh
background resources in PDF
Insurance, Integrative Clinics, Industry Summit Reports, News Files '99-'04
some organization links
Professions, Academia, Research, Policy
some CAM/IM publication links
Electronic, Peer-Reviewed, Blogs, More
Bradly Jacobs, MD, MPH, Revolution Health Blog
supported conference
Institute for Health & Productivity Management - Integrative/Complementary Healthcare
Marc Miccozi, MD, PhD on His Spa-Biz Course and the Role of the Spa in CAM Integration PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Guest Column: Marc Miccozi, MD on His Spa-Biz Course and the Role of the Spa in CAM Integration

Summary: Marc Micozzi, MD,PhD, convened an early federal exploration of complementary and integrative medicine, wrote the first academic textbook on complementary and integrative medicine, worked with Dr. Koop on his website (may it rest), and ran an academic integrative medicine program. Lately he has been thinking outside of mainstream delivery, specifically in the spa/wellness zone. He notified the Integrator of a relationship he has teaching in an online certification program through UC Irvine's School of Business. I invited his direct comment on the spa field. Here is Micozzi's commentary, and some information about the program.
Send your comments to
for inclusion in a future Your Comments Forum.

wellness, CAM, integration, spa
Marc Micozzi, MD, PhD
Big changes, as is said, happen through individual steps. A cultural shift toward wellness would presumably be marked by an uptake of grassroots practices into institutions which, by their nature, tend to conserve old ways of doing things, for better and for worse.

We marked one such step on that change continuum when the
University of California-Irvine, one of the top three hospitality certification programs in the world, decided to add content on integrating complementary and alternative medicine into a resort environment.  The online course, offered through the UC-Irvine School of Business from June 23-August 8 will be taught by Marc Micozzi, MD, PhD. The title is "Integrating the Business of Wellness into Your Spa." (Apologies to all for this very late notice. Hopefully it will be offered again.)

CAM, spa, Micozzi
Sponsoring a course on CAM in Spa business
Micozzi is well-known in this field. He c
onvened an early federal exploration of complementary and integrative medicine through his role as founding director of the National Museum of Health and Medicine, wrote the first academic textbook on complementary and integrative medicine, had a leadership role with former Surgeon General Everett Koop on his website, and has run an academic integrative medicine program.

Micozzi - a medical anthropologist - wonders whether "integration" will be best forged through mainstream academic and medical delivery channels. He sent the Integrator a note which included the following: 
"I think the truly new ideas and models of health and wellness are coming out of the business schools insofar as we have a dysfunctional, non-sustainable, irrational healthcare system using up 18% of our economy. The medical and public health schools have had chances to act as 'think tanks' for genuine change but have too many vested interests in the status quo. And the politicians who talk about healthcare reform (dating back to 1992 now) have been and continue to be ill-informed as to the real opportunities to have affordable, effective, healthful, rational, safe and sustainable healthcare. As often throughout US history, in our economic system, meaningful change will only follow the public voting with their feet and their pocketbooks, and a  'healing crisis' with the ultimate bankruptcy of the current healthcare system. Fortunately for all of us, the alternatives are already out there."
Micozzi then recommended a text on this spa industry co-edited by his colleague, Gerry Bodeker, entitled Understanding the Global Spa Industry. Bodeker, who holds faculty appointments at Columbia Unversity School of Medicine and in public health at Oxford University, is editor of WHO’s Global Atlas of Traditional, Complementary & Alternative Medicine.  I asked Micozzi for any additional thoughts. Here are his remarks.

Spa Facilities for  Health and Wellness Services

by Marc Micozzi, MD, PhD

The US healthcare system is in crisis and does not appear to be sustainable. Fortunately, alternative approaches to much of health and wellness are available.

Presently, three-quarters of Americans use health services now labeled as “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) for health and wellness. Americans now pay for CAM services primarily out-of- pocket. These payments now exceed total out-of-pocket charges for all outpatient mainstream health services.

  "CAM will do better in
natural environments,
resorts, spas than in the
hospital-based model."

Marc Micozzi, MD, PhD

CAM services in the US are usually available only in an outpatient (ambulatory care) setting in healthcare facilities. This setting provides only limited potential for the full therapeutic benefits of CAM.
Many people would benefit from the application of CAM therapies and protocols ('a cure') outside of healthcare facilities and in a more healthful environment.

CAM care can be provided in more healthful environments and at lower costs than in healthcare facilities while providing vastly enhanced levels of hospitality.

Spa Facilities are ideal settings for providing many CAM health and wellness services together with the benefits of a restful, stress-free, relaxing and healthy environment

Historically, much of today’s CAM may be thought of as natural medicine, or 'nature cures.' There is a great deal of now largely forgotten historical evidence about the benefits of 'nature cure' during the late 1700’s, 1800’s and early 1900’s in the United States.

The hidden or forgotten history of American medicine is highly relevant to fully understanding the potential benefits of CAM and natural healing today.

There is a tremendous opportunity to integrate the historically proven benefits of “nature cure” with contemporary CAM therapies in Spas.

spa industry
Text recommended by Micozzi on the spa industry
A Side Note
:  One of my first, close colleagues in this field, Cathy Rogers, ND, introduced me to the spa and water-cure movements of the mid-to-late 19th century. Interestingly, the water-cure retreat was not only an alternative to the poisonous heroic measures of the conventional medicine of the time, it was also a place of significant empowerment and identity development for women in that era. (A fascinating text is Susan Cayleff's Wash and Be Healed: The Water Cure Movement and Women's Health.)

Rogers who was the founding academic dean at Bastyr University and later the second president of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians,has moved out of the institutions
in a trajectory not unlike that which Micozzi suggests for CAM. She founded and operates the Chico Water Cure Spa on the shores of Puget Sound in the small town of Chico on the Olympic Peninsula. I can personally attest that Rogers is proving the Micozzi thesis that the spa environment is a good fit for complementary healthcare practices.

Send your comments to
for inclusion in a future Your Comments Forum.

< Prev   Next >
Integrative Practitioner
The Westreich Foundation
voluntary contributions
Support the work!
All Integrator Round-ups
Integrator Top 10 Lists 2006-2015
Issues #140-#142 Oct-Dec 2015
Issues #137-#139 July-Sept 2015
Issues #134-#136 April-June 2015
Issues #131-#133 Jan-March 2015
Issues #127-#130 Sept-Dec 2014
Issues #123-#126 May-Aug 2014
Issues#119-#122 Jan-April 2014
Issues #116-#118 - Oct-Dec 2013
Issues #113-#115 July-Sept 2013
Issues #110-#112 April-June 2013
Issues #108-#109 Jan-March 2013
Issue #105-#107 Oct-Dec 2012
Issues #102-#104 - July-Sept 2012
Issues #99-#101 - April-June 2012
Issues #96-#98-Jan-March 2012
Issues #94-#95 Nov-Dec 2011
Issues #92-#93 Sept-Oct 2011
Issues #90 and #91 - July-Aug 2011
Issues #88 and #89 - May-June 2011
Issues #86 and #87 - March-April 2011
Issues #84 and #85 - Jan-Feb 2011
Issues #82 and #83 - Nov-Dec 2010
Issues #80 & #81 - Sept Oct 2010
Issues #78 & #79 - July August 2010
Issues #76 & #77 - May June 2010
Issues #74 & #75 - March-April 2010
Issues #73 & #73 - Jan-Feb 2010
Issues #69, #70 & #71 - Nov-Dec 2009
Issues #67 and #68 - Sept-Oct 2009
Issues #65 and #66 - July-August 2009
Issues #63-#64 - May-June 2009
Issues #60-#62 - March-April 2009
Issues #57-#59 - Jan-Feb 2009
Issues #55-#56 - Nov-Dec 2008
Issues #51-#54 - Sept-Oct 2008
Issues #47-#50 - July-August 2008
Issues #46 & -#47 - May-June 2008
Issues #43-#45 Mar-April 2008
Issues #41 & #42 - Feb 2008
Issues #39 & #40 - Dec-Jan '08
Issues #37 & #38 - Nov 2007
Issues #35 & #36 - Oct 2007
Issues #33 & #34 - Sept 2007
Issues #30-#32 - July-Aug 2007
Issues #28 & #29 - June 2007
Issues #26 and #27 - May 2007
Issue #25 - April 2007
Issues # 23 & #24 - March 2007
Issues #21 and #22 - Feb 2007
Issues #19 and & 20 - Jan 2007
Issues #17 and #18 - Dec 2006
Issues #15 and #16 - Nov 2006
Issues #13 and #14 - Oct 2006
Issues #11 and #12- Sept 2006
Issues #9 and #10 - Aug 2006
Issues #7 and #8 - July 2006
Issues #5 and #6 - June 2006
Issues #3 and #4 - May 2006
Issues #1 and #2 - April 2006
All Articles by Subject: 2006
All Articles by Subject: Jan-June 2007
IAYT-Sponsored Series on the Future of Yoga Therapy