Medical expertise gives direction to new spa in Joplin | Business

ByRachelle R. Sowell

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Altagrace Hanley, Echo Mills and Amy Ipsen knew they had a good business concept, but they just had to wait for the right place to open up.

“We each had seen this house individually, and we all thought it would be a very beautiful place to relax,” Hanley said. “We thought it would make a wonderful retreat, and that it could be used for something special. When it became available, we all looked at each other and said that this was it.”

“House” is an understatement: The building on West Junge Boulevard that the three women found is more of a mansion. A listing on lists it as a 5-bedroom, 7.5-bathroom home with more than 10,000 square feet and an 8-car garage on more than 18 acres.

The three have transformed it into a medical spa that offers a lengthy list of services geared toward self-improvement and self-care. It was introduced last weekend during an open house.

Named after the French word for “compass,” La Boussole Medical Spa and Wellness Center is a place where staff will help clients discover the best version of themselves.

“(Hanley) and I kicked the concept around for a while,” Mills said. “We were trying to put something together something for this area. She and I come from other places, though, so we weren’t sure how to do that … she brought (Ipsen) on, and she was on board pretty much immediately. It was a perfect trio where all of our ideas came together.”

The three women bring a diverse background of training in the health care industry to their business:

• Hanley is a medical doctor with a background in physical medicine and rehabilitation. She is a Mayo Clinic-trained physician who is experienced at providing treatments from Eastern and Western medical fields.

• Mills, an orthopedic nurse practitioner, has a background in emergency medicine, critical care and wilderness medicine, a type of health care used in areas where more advanced health care is too far away.

• Ipsen is a dental hygienist who also earned a degree in finance.

The result is a medical spa where the list of services is long and varied, and where common services such as Botox and fillers can be done at a more advanced level. Services such as those carry a medical risk, Hanley said.

“When you are talking about making changes to the human body, then we are talking about risk,” Hanley said. “If someone wants to do a lip fill, that’s fine and dandy until something goes wrong. Complications are common, and that becomes a medical problem.”

Hanley said she and the staff are trained to handle such problems effectively, and can do high levels of such procedures.

Those higher levels include advanced treatments for more than just beauty. Mills has advanced training in the application of Botox injections, a procedure that uses a natural neurotoxin to smooth wrinkles. The same treatment can be used to address a number of physical conditions, Mills said.

“We are able to treat not just cosmetically but for headaches, grinding teeth,” Mills said. “It can be more specialized instead of just for wrinkles.”

Holistic philosophy

Other services include:

• IV infusion and intramuscular treatments that provide the body with various nutrients and antioxidants.

• Facials and peels, as well as microneedling, including the HydraFacial procedure that requires physician direction.

• Injectables such as Dysport, Juvederm and Restylane for treating wrinkles.

• Eyelash and eyebrow extensions.

• Several forms of laser therapy for reversing signs of skin aging and for hair removal.

• Acupuncture, cupping and other forms of Eastern medicine. Such treatments mesh with the spa’s holistic philosophy of treating the whole person, not just a symptom, Hanley said.

“Every physician learns that you eventually hit a wall in Western medicine,” Hanley said. “We find a lot of people with pain or fatigue symptoms that can’t be diagnosed in Western medicine can be helped with Eastern medical techniques.”

The medical spa’s point of entry for clients begins with a Visia skin analysis. This imaging system uses several different light filters and frequencies to offer a deeper look into the skin, Hanley said. The scan is part of a free consultation the spa offers, and can spot fungal infections, pre-malignant growths, early sun damage and clinical acne.

The spa will add more cutting-edge services in the coming months.