Photos By Kayleigh Omang
Let’s be honest. It’s intimidating to go to a medical center and trust someone with your skin and body. Personally, I’ve always been too nervous to book a trip to a medical spa. I was 23 when I got my first massage and didn’t even get a manicure until I was 24. The air of mystery behind these pampering services always scared me off from taking the step to better self-care.
Thankfully, Fargo is lucky enough to be home to Catalyst Medical Center and Clinical Spa, a place where I can be free from mysteries and confusion. I walked through a full experience at Catalyst to give you readers a better idea of what the Catalyst experience is really like. From checking in to the medical consultation to the services provided, I experienced it all so that you have no questions or hesitations when making your own appointment.
If you’ve never been before, Catalyst is a multi-specialty clinic renowned for the compassionate care provided by trusted experts whose life passions are to help their patients lead happier, healthier, more beautiful lives. While Catalyst has two divisions, the medical side and the clinical spa, today we are going to focus just on the pampering spa side. However, just because it is a “spa” doesn’t mean it is all purely aesthetic. The clinical spa does all its services with health in mind. From Botox for migraines to Emsculpt for better posture, Catalyst is dedicated to treating its patients with the marriage of beauty and health at the forefront.
When I arrived I check-in at the friendly front desk. Here, I received an iPad with just a few more things to fill out, just to make sure I am who I say I am. Another benefit that Catalyst provides right off the bat is short waiting room times. During this short period between when I checked-in and when I was called back, I got to relax in their beautifully designed lobby (there’s a chandelier!) and drink some complimentary coffee (or tea). Not a bad way to start what would be a very pampering visit.
For most, the first appointment begins with a consultation, and I was no different. This means that I didn’t need to worry about and pre-op preparations. All you need is yourself. I’m a make-up wearer, which is something I unnecessarily worry about whenever I get any sort of cosmetic treatment done (there’s no shame quite like getting up from a massage and leaving a nice, tan stain on the face pillow!). But I was happy to learn that at Catalyst, you can come however you feel comfortable, and if that means you’re wearing makeup, then they will take care of that for you. In fact, they even supply a line of mineral makeup that they will apply on to you afterward if you’ve got places to go and people to see after your treatment.
Before Catalyst did any services or treatments on me, I got a consultation with one of their physicians, which is standard with any patient. In this consultation, the doctor (in my case, I met with Catalyst’s founder Dr. Sue Mathison) and I discussed my medical history.
Describing this step more in-depth, Catalyst’s Marketing Director Karisa Shuck said, “You will talk about some things that concern you and your problem areas and they will give you some options from there. They are a wealth of knowledge and it’s like a free doctor’s check-in before your spa treatment.”
Not to worry about booking two separate visits, I enjoyed how the consultation and the treatment were done on the same day. As I’m busy with deadlines for work, having to go out to the practice multiple times just isn’t in my schedule. “A lot of patients choose to do a consultation and a treatment the same day, we just block a little bit of extra time in just in case we decide together to change the treatment path,” said Shuck.
This consultation is one of the things that sets Catalyst apart. By being checked by a doctor before I dove into my skincare journey, Catalyst ensured that I was healthy. Shuck said, “We are as safe as possible and talk about everything health-wise before moving into beauty. Health comes first, beauty comes second.” This ideal ensures that the treatments you receive will actually be the most beneficial to you.
For a virtual stranger to the skincare world, this consultation helped guide me to what’s best for me, my skin and my budget. I came in blind and was able to narrow in that a Hydrafacial based on what my skin was wanting at the time. However, my next visit might require a different practice, and the team at Catalyst will ensure I’m always getting the best care possible.
With so many services available, it’s hard to know what’s best for you. It’s important to note that Catalyst isn’t a boutique where you get to come in and choose anything you want. Instead, the providers will assess you and your health standing and make sure the services you receive are the right ones. In a world where the line between medical and cosmetic practices are moving further and further away from each other, Catalyst takes pride in always making the healthy choice. For instance, If I had a suspicious-looking mole on my face, it’s safe to say that a facial probably wouldn’t treat that and I’d need to look into more serious services before moving forward.
For my visit, I got a HydraFacial. If I were to describe the experience of that treatment itself, it would be a whole other article. I felt like a new woman afterward. My skin was glowing and I felt completely refreshed, something I was much needing in this dry-air season.
In short, I got cozied up in a heated bed with the smell of essential oils in the air. The treatment was relaxing and involved a facial massage followed by painless extractions in a method that’s a bit like a microdermabrasion and a facial all in one. It cleansed, exfoliated, hydrated and infused my skin with antioxidants and peptides that I didn’t even know I was missing! Some facial treatments take two to three weeks to show results, but the results of this treatment were instant. I left glowing, which sounds cheesy, but it really is the best word to describe the effects. This instant gratification and its customization might be one of the reasons that this treatment is a customer favorite.
This treatment is a quick, 45-minute session that is perfect for anyone with a schedule they think is too full for special treatments. I took my treatment on my lunch break and it was the perfect mid-day pampering to prepare me to finish off my day strong and refreshed.
Catalyst believes that you should love your skincare routine. I’ve tried a couple of different combinations of facial washes and moisturizers, but I never really loved the routine. I expressed this in my consultation and Catalyst guided me into suggestions. When my treatment was done, they sent me home with some samples so I could try the suggestions out before investing in a full supply.
As the prices for services vary if you are new to the cosmetic-world, Catalyst ensures that you are comfortable with what you’re signing up for and won’t be surprised when you check-out. Personally, I’m saving up for my summer wedding, so being conscious of how much things cost is huge for me. “The biggest thing is that the patient’s best interest is always in mind. We are not going to sell you something that you don’t need. We are always talking budget before moving forward with treatment. We are not going to surprise you with a big invoice,” said Shuck.
Ending my visit to Catalyst, I was reminded again of the value placed on privacy here. There’s a private recovery lounge to relax and put yourself together before returning to your day and also a private checkout process. With many patients, they value this discretion and ability to come and go from their services quietly, including a private exit.
In choosing where to go, what makes Catalyst different? Patients choose Catalyst because they don’t want to feel like a number. With a team that is led by strong ethics, the personalized touches that Catalyst provides make patients feel safe and confident in the services provided. From the moment I stepped into the building, I felt welcomed and accepted. In anything medical-related, I want to feel comfortable and educated on what is being performed on me. Catalyst’s providers took the time to educate me on what target issues I was experiencing and what routes were available and recommended for my treatment. And that is the Catalyst experience.