How To Set Up A Cosmetic Care Room In Your Practice

Janet McCormick, MS

   The first question podiatrists ask after they decide to add cosmetic services to their practice is “How do I set up a room?” Some believe it will be quite an undertaking. Others think it will be a breeze and can be done in one day. Either may be true, according to their vision of the concept, but they should know that these rooms are different than traditional podiatry treatment rooms. They should also know the overall setup and appearance contributes to the success of the cosmetic services part of their practice.

   When physicians began hiring aestheticians to add cosmetic level treatments to their practices, they did not know how to set up a room for these services. As a consultant, I asked them the following question: Do you want the patient to feel like she is getting a medical treatment or a spa treatment? Indeed, podiatrists need to answer this question before setting up the room as it will dictate the room furnishings and how the patient will feel when entering the room.

   The size of the room you choose for these services is important. Generally, if you offer manicures and artificial nail services along with the medical pedicures, you will need the largest room in the practice because a manicuring station will also be in the room.

   When it comes to a basic cosmetic care room without hand care, the room should have a counter, sink, additional counter space and a few cabinets. Sound familiar? Your treatment rooms are ideal for these services just as they are for podiatric treatments. The décor starts from here, according to medical or spa room orientation, and the need for medical use during the days the technician is not in the office.

   Ideally, the room used for cosmetic nail treatments should be the one closest to the front desk and waiting room so the cosmetic patients are not routinely mixed in with your medical patients and are not walking past the medical rooms. However, any change in treatment rooms should not cause dramatic changes in the office.

Choosing The Correct Chair And Equipment

   Most practices will start with the traditional podiatric chair in a room with décor that enables it to be a medical room until the cosmetic part of the practice generates enough revenue to support an investment in a spa-type chair.

   The truly spa-oriented room cannot be in use for medical treatments the days the nail technician is not in the office as there will not be a podiatry chair in the room. The exception is if the room has a breakaway-type treatment chair that can allow use of a whirlpool in front of the patient. These chairs allow one to move the foot area aside to allow the traditional foot soaking tub or basin that spa clients are accustomed to during pedicures.

   If and when you choose to go with a spa with a separate room, patients appreciate the throne-type pedicure chairs with whirlpools. However, one must choose these chairs carefully for many reasons, including protecting patients from infection. Many practices that have a dedicated room will start out with a non-whirlpool chair and a high-end footbath that is available to the cosmetic nail care industry. The chair may be a lounger that heats and vibrates with the feet rising for treatment by the pedicurist. One must use a footbath with disposable liners or one that can otherwise be effectively disinfected between patients.

   In addition to buying a suitable chair, one will need to choose the appropriate furnishings, equipment and products. Many offices leave this to the newly hired nail technician but one must establish parameters upfront.

   For example, all equipment must be justified from a cost perspective. The products must be podiatric products and not those from the beauty industry. Podiatry level products will contain ingredients, such as urea, which are important to good foot care, in higher percentages. You also do not want the patients going to salons and drugstores for their foot care products or they may be tempted to go there for their treatments.


A cosmetic care room is a fantastic idea! Stocked with some cozy salon furniture and some high quality pedicure equipment, it can make a real haven for your clients.

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