It is believed that health tourism is travelling, taking trips and hikes to areas with favorable for health natural and climatic conditions — and, naturally, staying there for rest and leisure. This kind of tourism is rooted in the presence in such resorts of nearly, or completely healthy individuals, who are in no need of serious medical care, professional supervision or treatment. The main therapeutic factors in this case are natural healing factors, cultural and recreation activities (such as hiking, taking walks, swimming, going on excursions etc.), physical exercising and sports.
Health tourism is the most popular and widespread form of medical tourism, it exists in human society since the ancient times. One such location, the Israeli Hamat-Gader resort, was well known even in the times of the Roman Empire. In the 2nd century, baths construction was started by the soldiers of the 10th Roman Legion, then stationed in the ancient Gader.
The most famous healing and treatment resorts of Israel today are the Dead Sea, the city of Arad, The Sea of Galilee (Kinneret lake), the abovementioned Hamat-Gader and, of course, the Negev and the Aravah desert — ideal places for meditation and restoring the energies.
Worth mentioning is the growing popularity of Israel as a place to practice the treatment and recreational activities, which contribute to the achievement of enlightened mental and physical states — such as yoga and psycho training. And no wonder — where else will you find such unique natural conditions that fit these activities so well, if not at the Dead Sea or the Aravah:
- clean and dry air, with very low allergens concentration;
- due to a constantly high rate of evaporation, the air in these places is saturated with light ions of iodine, bromine and other elements;
- the reverse osmosis effect allows the Dead Sea waters to suck the toxins and poisons out of the body, relieving the liver and the kidneys, purifying the skin and thus providing the Dead Sea detox programs with very high efficiency;
- the Dead Sea is practically a natural pressure chamber – normal barometric pressure there reaches 800mm Hg., and oxygen concentration is 15% higher than normal.
Spa-hotels are also very popular in Israel. They are found not only in the traditional resort areas, but also in the large cities (such as Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and others), and provide health, treatment and recreational services. Special wellness-programs are often offered – treatment, anti-stress, beauty programs – which are suitable for perfectly healthy visitors as well. Typically, treatment in the spa-hotels and wellness centers also includes Eastern and alternative medicines, which gradually become more desirable and more acceptable among the supporters of a healthy lifestyle.
Medical and recreational health tourism remains of the most promising areas. The basis of its popularity in the 21st century is the victory of the preventive approach in modern medicine and the fashion for a healthy body and a healthy soul.