From health tourism to medical tourism

Health tourism is not a new activity. All over the world, trips have always been frequent in search of health promotion and maintenance activities and the prevention and cure of certain diseases. However, this was not always the case since, in the past, these activities were developed more towards the search for a cure and not so much towards prevention.

As is known, people are becoming more and more aware of the importance of preventive medicine, leading health promotion activities to gain more and more preponderance.

On the other hand, we live in an era in which globalization makes the distances between countries and regions almost insignificant, which naturally promotes the development of this tourist market.

Health tourism is designed and developed to enjoy the trip simultaneously, promote different and stimulating experiences, and take advantage of travel for treatments, always promoting health and quality of life, thus contributing to healthy longevity. This aspect should be seen as an enriching complement to the holidays, as these are the periods in which we intend to regain strength and gain new energy to face work with greater motivation.

Thus, health tourism develops in two complementary aspects. One is related to medical reasons, commonly known as medical tourism, in which cure or recovery is the main driver and the other with prevention and well-being. This aspect is known as health and well-being tourism

Health tourism – motivations

Health tourism has several goals and motivations. However, we can summarize them as follows:

Health promotion  – is a symbiosis of health education and prevention. It involves education for the maintenance of assertive behaviour and the prevention of bad habits that lead to healthy lifestyles.

Health maintenance is related to practices that provide leisure, physical and mental well-being, reduction of stress levels, and education of habits and styles for a  good quality of life.

Disease prevention is a set of treatments to promote and maintain a healthy and balanced life (preventive health).

Cure of the disease  – involves treatments carried out with the supervision of professionals ( doctors, etc.), carried out in their own places and aimed at curing or reducing the effects caused by different pathologies.

health and wellness tourism

This type of tourism is related to tourist activities in search of health promotion and maintenance, which aim to reduce stress levels and maintain a healthy and balanced life and even prevent certain diseases.

Wellness tourism has been evidenced by the range of programs and activities with greater emphasis on disease prevention and health promotion and maintenance, seeking to balance the people’s physical and emotional conditions.

When practised in natural and peaceful environments, this type of tourism allows for greater relaxation, creating favourable conditions for promoting better health and well-being.

Thus, we highlight the different anti-stress practices that can be carried out in different contexts, where the watchword is relaxing,  beauty and health or aesthetic treatments, slimming treatments, among many others. These treatments can be performed in spas, hydrothermal resorts ( thermal spas ), hotels, and wellness centres.