Long before Americans began to travel to other countries for cardiovascular surgery, abdominoplasty surgery, or dentistry, travelers from around the world traveled to distant lands in search of quality medicine. We can say that the concept of medical tourism is as old as medicine itself. History of medical tourism begins in ancient times.
Below is a brief excerpt about the colorful history of medical tourism. According to these data it is clear that if there are difficulties with medical care – no matter where and when – people went on a journey in search of the best doctors.
History of medical tourism – Ancient times
The study of ancient cultures leads to the conclusion about the strong connection between religion and health. This relationship originated in ancient times. Most ancient civilizations recognized the therapeutic benefits of the thermal springs and sacred baths. Below are some of the most ancient civilizations.
The Sumerians (CA. 4000 BC) created the oldest known medical facilities, which were built around hot springs. These medical “institutions” included the magnificent temples on the hills with numerous pools.
During the Bronze age (approx. 2000 B. C.) the tribes living on the territory of modern St. Moritz (Switzerland) believed in the healing power of mineral springs, iron fortified. Bronze glasses from which they drank water from sources that were also found in France and Germany, that can be a sign of “healing” pilgrimage within these cultures.
The ancient Greeks were the first people who laid the Foundation of modern medical tourism. In honor of their God of healing – Asclepius Greeks built the temple of Asclepius, which has become a kind of medical centre – the first in the world. People from all over came to the temple to be healed of their diseases.
To 300 BC in Greece was built many such temples. The most famous “medical center” was Epidaurus, where you could find a place for sports, snake farm, temple of dreams, and hot springs. Also known were a Quarter of Zeus at Olympia and the Temple at Delphi.
In India, the history of medical tourism is closely linked with the development of yoga and Ayurvedic medicine. Even 5000 years ago, a huge number of pilgrims and students of religion was heading to India to take advantage of alternative medicine.
In the heyday of Ancient Rome significant popularity among the elite acquired the hot springs, called Thermae. They were not only medical, but also commercial and social centers for the rich people.
History of medical tourism – the Middle ages
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Asia has become a major destination for medical tourism for pilgrims. Began to appear hospital that provided medical services to travelers. These institutions are a milestone in the history of medical tourism.
In medieval Japan, thanks to its therapeutic properties have become popular hot mineral springs, known as Onsen. In particular, they used the clans warriors to get rid of the pain, heal wounds and recover from battles.
In many early Islamic cultures existed in the health system, providing services to foreigners. In 1248 in Cairo was built Mansuri hospital – the largest and most modern hospital of its time. Able to accommodate up to 8,000 people, the hospital has become a place sought by many foreigners, regardless of race or religion.
History of medical tourism – the Renaissance
The Renaissance accounted for 14-17 centuries. She was not only a Renaissance of art and culture in Europe, but also the heyday of medical tourism.
With 1326 in Europe, due to newly discovered hot springs became popular village called Ville d’eaux or “City water”. The resort was visited by such famous persons as Peter the Great and Victor Hugo. The word “Spa” is an abbreviation of the Latin term “salude per aqua”, meaning “the benefit that comes with water” was first used here.
During the 16th century, the wealthy people of Europe rediscovered Roman baths and streams of tourists headed to the cities with Spa, St. Moritz, Baden-Baden, Aachen and bath in England. Thermae or Aquae Sulis was under Royal patronage and were known all over the world. They become centers of healing and a Playground for the rich and famous.
The most famous traveler in the history of medical tourism was Michel de Montaigne – French writer and philosopher, author of the term and genre of essays known as the father of tourism “luxury” class. He participated in the writing of the first ever medical tourism guide Spa.
History of medical tourism – the Period after the Renaissance
At the end of the Renaissance aristocrats from all over Europe still continued to go to bat for therapeutic and therapeutic purposes.
In 20-ies of the 18th century bath became the first city in England with a closed sewage system, ahead of London for several years. The city also enjoyed technological, financial and social benefits during this period. Streets were paved, there are a lot of beautiful hotels and restaurants – all this is due solely to the medical tourism.
Thanks to the discovery of the New world new destinations for medical tourists of Europe. In the 17th century English and Dutch colonists began to build log cabins near mineral springs with healing properties. They noticed that the native Americans were well versed in the art of healing. Their knowledge of herbs was exceptional and competed with the knowledge of Europeans, Asians or Africans.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, Europeans and Americans continued to travel to remote areas with Spa in the hope to cure numerous diseases, such as tuberculosis.
History of medical tourism from 1900 to 1997.
In this period, the USA and Europe were not only commercial and industrial centers, but the centers of health. Medical tourism was available only to the wealthy who traveled to these countries to obtain quality medical care.
In 1933, he established the American Board of medical specialties (ABMS). which became the parent organization for tips for medical professionals in the United States. ABMS has developed educational and professional principles, which became the basis of standards worldwide.
In 1958 he founded the European Union of medical specialties (UEMS). UEMS includes various national medical associations of member States of the European Union.
In 60-ies of the last century, India became a centre of pilgrimage, when the U.S. began the era of the new Age (New Age). The hippie movement, popular among the elite of the US and the UK, has gradually evolved into a full-fledged industry of medical tourism, has reinvented the world of yoga and Ayurvedic medicine.
As a result of rising cost of health care in the 1980s and 1990s American patients began to explore the possibility of treatment abroad, dental treatment in Central America. At the time, as American doctors was frightened by the idea of treatment in foreign hospitals, Cuba launched a program to attract foreigners for eye surgeries, cardiovascular surgeries and cosmetic procedures.
History of medical tourism from 1997 to 2001
The Asian economic crisis of 1997 and the fall of Asian currencies has led to the fact that the governments of these countries have directed their efforts to the promotion of their countries as centers of medical tourism. Thailand has quickly become the center of plastic surgery, take pictures in a fraction of the cost of similar procedures in Western countries.
In 1997 he founded the international joint Commission. the purpose of which was to monitor the activity of medical institutions abroad for compliance with international standards check and investigate international healthcare facilities for conformance.
Medical tourism from 2001 to 2006
After the events of 9/11 and as a result of the construction boom in Asia medical tourism continued its growth. In 2006 150000 Americans went to Asia and Latin America for treatment. During this period, dentistry and cosmetic surgery has reached new heights in centres of medical tourism.
Thailand, Singapore and India have developed into major centers of international tourism thanks to JCI accreditation. Other countries in South-East Asia and Latin America also gained authority in this field, receiving JCI accreditation and by entering into partnerships with leading U.S. healthcare providers.
Medical tourism from 2007 to the present
The number of American medical tourists has increased to 300,000 in 2007 – this was the highest figure in the entire history of medical tourism. In 2014, according to estimates, this figure amounted to 1.25 million people. as the patient continues to pack your bags and buy tickets in the country’s medical tourism for facelifts, coronary bypass surgery or infertility treatment.
In the last few years, some medical insurance companies in USA review options medical. They offer their members the possibility of treatment, including operations in other countries. Many organizations also are considering treatment abroad health insurance.