Civilizations have always been interdependent as far as knowledge sharing is concerned. Medicine is one arena where people have tired to combine the best of many worlds for healing and relief. Medical tourism is not new to mankind. There have been instances of pilgrims traveling to religious and holy places in the past to rid themselves of diseases or heal themselves holistically.
The Greek God, Asklepios’s shrine in Epidaurus was famous for its healing facilities and attracted a lot of people from around the region. [src] Indulging in Therapeutic baths at hot springs was a common practice in many civilizations, especially Rome. Such hot water baths were known as Thermae, and also had performing art facilities, lounges, art galleries, conference halls, brothels, sports stadium, etc. to entertain the elite. It also served as a social networking place for the rich and was looked upon as a luxury.
Alternative medicines and ways of treatment have since long attracted the Western World to indulge in Medical Tourism to culture-rich countries like Japan, India, China, Africa, etc. [src]
However, the term Medical Tourism has undertaken a slightly different meaning in recent times. Travel undertaken with the specific purpose of gaining some form of Medical facilities is referred to as Medical Tourism. This kind of tourism has acquired prominence in recent times due to various convenient reasons.
Patients traveling to different countries or region, for availing necessary or elective medical facilities due to various reasons prevailing in their native country is now a common phenomenon. The term was initially coined by some travel agencies in the 1900’s and now has been widely accepted as part of business terminology in the corporate circles. It has become a multibillion-dollar industry and the growth rate is alarming. [src]
Heart surgery, breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, liposuction, orthodontics, LASIK, hip replacement, dental work, cosmetic surgery, or knee replacements are some of the kinds of medical care for which Medical tourism is undertaken. [src] Recently life saving procedures like joint replacements, bone marrow transplants, cardiac bypass surgery and cancer treatments have also been included in the list.