Health Tourism, or Medical Tourism, emerged as an industry quite recently and has a huge impact on overall tourism industry infrastructure.
The history of health tourism dates back to ancient times, when people traveled for recreational purposes to mineral waters and cure locations.
Nowadays health tourism is a result of 21st century’s developments in healthcare, technology and governmental regulations and can be defined as international traveling for health institution or recreational place to get cure, operation or medical check-ups.
Health tourism is a broad concept collecting various sub-categories under one roof, such as SPA, wellness, retirement, disability and dental tourism.
The origin of the word ‘SPA’ comes from the town in Belgium with the name Spa, full version of which is Aquae Spandanae. There are a lot of theories for the word’s origin, including one that states it is an acronym for Latin ‘sanitas per aquas’ (health through water).
The oldest spa in the world is to be considered Ecomuseo Della Memoria – Le Terme DI San Calogero e la Pomice DI Lipari in Sicily, Italy which is nearly 3,000 years old.
The world’s top destination for SPA tourism is Thailand. Some of the Thailand’s SPA hotel and resorts offer a unique combination of SPA procedure with flowers, herbs and oils.
A lot of branded hotel chains offer SPA treatment within the hotel building. Generally one SPA therapy is non-medical procedure and can contain the bundle of the followings:
- Bathing in mineral or hot spring waters, sauna, artificial waterfall
- Thermal mud, steam and hot stones therapy (known as Ganban’yoku)
- Relaxing massages and body wrapping
- Ayuverdic spa – all products used are natural
Spa destinations and facilities are rated by International Spa and Body Wrap Association (ISBWA) on five diamonds basis, according to the needed requirements for cleanliness and comfort.
SPA tourism offers health improvement therapies and often can cure some specific diseases. Moreover, Spa & beauty centers in big cities can be considered as providers of the best oasis for recreation. Spa therapy procedure packages are often given as a gifts for birthdays and celebrations.