Medical Tourism & the Day Spa Business

When we think of the word “medical,” the word “tourism” seems like the least likely possible accompaniment. After all, “medical” conjures images of sick people lying in hospital beds. They’re certainly not tourists! However, it may surprise many people to learn that medical tourism has actually been around for centuries. Moreover, medical tourism is quickly becoming one of the biggest boosts to the day spa business, so it behooves the well-informed owner to be as knowledgeable about the history and projected future of this trend as possible.

Since the dawn of time, mankind has explored the world seeking the benefits of climates other than their native soil. Exotic foods and beverages containing unknown spices were touted for their healing properties and the purported longevity and strength of the people who ingested them regularly.  This, in turn, drove trade and tourism as people desired to confirm for themselves the sometimes exaggerated or outright outlandish tales of the first explorers.

Another reason for the initial upsurge in medical tourism was the idea that if dried and preserved exotic spices yielded such benefits, logic dictated the fresh versions must in turn be even healthier. The first medical tourists were royalty and nobility, who went to establish trade ties and assure a constant supply of herbs and spices that wouldn’t grow in their nations. As time went on, the middle class developed more time for leisure and a better understanding of the human body’s nutritional needs. Medical tourism was no longer reserved for the very wealthy.

Of course, scams and outright cons often accompanied these tourists. One infamous example is Ponce de Leon, who claimed to have discovered the Fountain of Youth near what is now St. Augustine, Florida. Desire to bathe in and drink the waters of this fictitious fountain spurred Spanish exploration of the New World, and as the years went on, the tales of this mythic life source grew larger and wilder.

Another example of this is the village of Lourdes, France, whose waters are reported to have unusual healing properties. Thousands flock to Lourdes every year seeking healing for everything from allergies to cancer. Today, we have a better understanding of medicine and the delicate balances of the human body than ever before. The result is that people don’t need to travel as far afield when a medical spa can provide all these benefits! When you want to make medical tourism a steady force in your business, having a day spa consultant who knows and understands the industry can assist you in putting your spa on the map!

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