Medical and health tourism
Image SPA & Wellness
Rest connected with treatment and prevention in health resorts is popular all over the world for many centuries. Resorts created in the Roman Empire based on baths that generally means SPA (sanus per aquam- health through water) still are flourishing and are very popular among tourists. There are English resorts, for instance Bath, German Baden- Baden, Czech Karlovy Vary or French Aquae Calidae currently well-known as Vichy. From roman times health resorts have been transforming continuously, water treatment has been extended by new machines and new treatment methods. One thing remained unchanged- hope in water’s curative properties.

In last few years a new trend in tourism called wellness can be seen. Wellness is partly a living style, partly philosophy of life- trying to find and keep balance between body, spirit and good mood through recreation and biological regeneration. Throughout the world not only on the thermal areas new SPA and wellness centres are created.

Las Ventanas in Mexico, Hilton Hawaiian Village on Hawai, Como Shambhala Retreat on Bahama, Chiva- Som International Health Resort in Thailand or Spa geotermale Blue Lagoon in Island are  only some of worldwide known biological recovery centres, full of exoticism and luxury and also expensive  which attract politicians, actors and singers.

Image European SPA’ s run their activity in unpolluted regions where the air is clean, crystalline mineral waters and other natural products are used by skilled doctors and specialists. For Western Europe citizens medical trips to cheaper Poland, Hungary or Czech Republic are a great alternative to their expensive homeland’s resorts and clinics. Baths in geothermal pools in Slovakia and Czech Republic, rest by the only volcanic lake on the world in Hungary, baths in thermes with a view of glacier in Austria or underground SPA in Italy are the main attractions which offers the Continent. Fast development of airlines in the Central end Eastern Europe additionally facilitates transport between particular countries.

Image In Central Europe Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary concentrate on SPA services. In the Health resorts but also in clean regions, unpolluted by the mass tourism, a New Spa centres and day spas in cities, are created. Better prices of medical services, its high quality supported by certificates and development of low cost airlines caused huge interest in medical tourism in those countries.     

Medical Tourism
Tourists more frequently make use of  mineral water’s features and therapeutic mud but also things such as aesthetic medicine procedures, cosmetology, dentistry, ophthalmology, LASIK or plastic surgery.

Countries that are visited in order to make use of medical services in Europe are: Poland (dentistry, plastic surgery, aesthetic medicine, ophthalmology), Czech Republic and Hungary (SPA, dentistry), Slovakia and Bulgaria (SPA). In America - Costa Rica, Mexico (plastic surgeries, dentistry). In Asia - Thailand, India, Singapore. Other popular tourist destinations is also: Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Belgium, Philippines, Bolivia.

To understand the phenomenon of Medical tourism fully we have to compare average costs of the particular procedures. Prices in industrialized countries are up to ten times higher than in developing countries. Great example is Costa Rica that became a place of treatment  of patients from U.S.A., particularly for people who want to make use of plastic surgery which is three times less expensive.

Image Poland, that is becoming a leader of Central Europe in medical tourism, is most frequently visited by Germans, British, Scandinavians, Canadians. British are coming in order to maintain their teeth condition. In 2006 Poland was visited by 450000 foreign tourists who wanted to make use of medical services. For titan implants in Poland British will pay up to 70-80% less. Moreover among Europeans plastic surgeries that are four times less expensive than in other European countries are becoming more popular. Aesthetic medicine, laser eye surgery, rehabilitation and obesity treatment that are six times cheaper are also a matter of interest.

South Africa is a great place for cosmetic procedures for Europeans and moreover during the stay clinics offer organized trips and additional services also in  competitive prices. Bangkok and Bangalore are mecca for British and Canadians where without queuing they can make use  of complicated surgeries for which they would wait up to year time in their countries.

India in a very short time became very popular medical destination. It is a centre of cardio surgery, dentistry and also procedures connected with cancer treatment. Clinics invest in state of the art apparatus and improve staff skills by what they can assure the highest quality and conduct procedures unknown elsewhere.

Medical tourism carry some risks but in vast majority of cases mentioned countries and more more that are trying to attract medical  tourists to their country render services that very frequently are on the same level or even higher than in industrialized countries. What is more patient can save up to 80% and spend time in unique places and meet new cultures.


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