In Baghdad, a wide variety of institutions advertise for beauty services and treatments. Chinese and Turkish massage and sauna centers promise weight loss, cellulite treatment and fat control through massage or steam treatments. These facilities also promise treatment for back pain, muscle cramps, headaches and tension.
Some even offer hair transplants, cosmetic dentistry, skin whitening and reduction of age spots as well as minor surgery such as Botox and stem cell injections. These operations are often unauthorized.
Abdul Hadi Mohan al-Saadawi, a member of the parliament's committee on health, told Al-Monitor that beauty salons run by certified professionals can be a positive thing, explaining that they can “help improve people’s health [if] they are run by specialists who treat important cases like obesity.”
He also pointed out that victims disfigured by accidents and terrorist attacks go to salons for minor operations. Saadawi noted, however, that the burgeoning industry is marred by murky credentials and malpractice lawsuits.
Saad Maan, the spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, told Al-Monitor, “Stopping sketchy and illegal places is necessary to distinguish such facilities from legal ones, which would increase the level of trust in health centers.”
At Baghdad's Al-Khayal Hospital, a staff member who asked not to be named told Al-Monitor that some of the operations, such as tummy tucks, are not a luxury but a necessity after childbirth. He said that major operations that require the use of anesthesia, such as tummy tucks or liposuction, should be done at a proper medical center.