Destination Spas – A Complete Vacation Package

Destination spas are a complete spa vacation package, with accommodations, physical fitness facilities and programs, and specialized cuisine. A select group, these spas offer a total experience that can help you jump start a new healthy lifestyle and are dedicated to creating an entire environment geared towards life enhancement.   Destination spas are often champions of New Age techniques for self-improvement, which can be as hip as color therapy and mind massage, as gritty as hiking and rock climbing, or as spiritually minded as Native American sweat lodges. This type of spa is usually in the luxury class, offering exceptional accommodations. Located all over the world, they are often found in spectacularly beautiful locations and settings.  

The perfect choice for a couples’ getaway, destination spas offer the pair the opportunity to relax and indulge themselves over a few days. They are also ideal for a girlfriends’ getaway, offering days filled with luxurious pampering.   Destination spas are usually located in spacious and nurturing settings, and are designed for guests who come intentionally for daily life improvement, health enrichment and self rejuvenation in a specific place.    Desert spa resorts in Sedona, Arizona are especially popular during the winter months, when the weather is balmy. Spa treatments tend to merge an amalgam of Asian, European, and local Native American elements, offering the definitive experience in pampering and relaxation. A visit to one of these desert luxury spas can do wonders to chase away the winter blahs.   

One factor to keep in mind when choosing a spa resort is the cuisine. Often a spa resort will feature organic food in their restaurant. For the best of all worlds, choose a place with a restaurant that has a high rating.

Superbug NDM-1 Makes Health Tourism Destination Selection Critical

Medical or health tourism is growing trend for people in the United States and it should be. The U.S. healthcare system is effectively broken and the price tag for procedures like knee replacement surgery, hip replacement surgery, hip resurfacing surgery, and other orthopedic procedures is outrageous. A hip resurfacing or replacement procedure can be as high as $60,000 in the U.S. while that same procedure in New Zealand can be as low as $30,000 and that price includes everything including travel and accommodation.

However… the recent outbreak of the superbug NDM-1 (New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1) which came out of India recently, should be a huge wakeup call for all people interested in health tourism. While cost is a factor when deciding a health tourism destination, the location – and specifically the medical environment in which your orthopedic procedure will take place – needs to be a major decision criteria. In fact, in many ways it’s more important than price!

At the end of the day, you’re traveling overseas to improve your health or remedy a problem, such as chronic knee pain or hip pain at night. While the quality of the surgeon and hospital are important and easily stated, it’s important to understand and take comfort in the medical environment where your procedure will take place. These are things that a website or advertisement might not bring to light, such as blood supplies, the ability for nurses and surgeons to understand and communicate with you, the practices of instrument sterilization, and general environmental safety.

While most experts agree that superbugs like NDM-1 will spread, part of the reason that they are coming to light is the widespread and unregulated use of antibiotics, which create drug-resistant bugs. One way to prevent catching a superbug is to carefully examine your health tourism destination prior to making your orthopedic surgery decision.

The NDM-1 superbug came out of India, and it’s becoming more common in destinations such as Chennai, Haryana, and Bangladesh. It has also been found in Pakistan. Symptoms of NDM-1 are similar to that of E.coli and include diarrhea, pain and cramping in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, low grade fever, and urinary tract infection. It can be serious in children, the elderly, or people with weak immune systems. It can be spread person to person.

You can prevent the spread of superbugs like NDM-1 by washing your hands and sanitizing your person and the environment you’re in. Or, don’t put yourself in the environment where these superbugs are coming from in the first place. Choose a first-world country for your health tourism needs such as New Zealand, where there are low incidents of infection. New Zealand has state-of-the-art facilities, English speak, highly-trained physicians, one of the safest transfusion blood supplies in the world, and will still provide a huge savings over orthopedic procedures in the U.S.

A Guide to the Best Medical Tourism Destinations Across the Globe

Medical tourism is the new buzzword industry in many developed countries. With healthcare costs spiraling through the roof in developed countries like the US and UK, people afflicted are looking towards alternate destinations to get their treatments taken care of at lower costs with an added pleasure of the opportunity to see the other lands. Countries in the mystic east, for example, India, Thailand, Hong Kong and Malaysia are making the most of it due to their advanced medical facilities they offer as well as their being preferred destinations for tourism. This industry has spread to South Africa, South America (Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil) as well as east European countries like Hungary. The industry is growing by the day is estimated to grow by 250% by 2012 form a mere $40 billion in 2004.

Medical tourism is also slated to bring in ancillary benefits to the destination countries by pumping up their economy and will also gel well with foreign investors who already have a stake in these countries. This article presents five top medical tourism destinations which present the most attractive opportunities. We have selected these based on the quality and cost of medical care offered and their offering to FDI (foreign direct investment). These countries are largely English speaking and thus there should be no hiccups in getting world class treatment there.


Situated just south of the United States, Panama is in close proximity and offers very affordable and high quality health care. As per present comparisons, a surgery undertaken in Panama costs 40-70% lesser than anywhere in the US according to the NCPA (National Center for Policy Analysis) repot published last November. The cost of surgery undertaken by Panama health care is relatively higher than the South East Asian countries but that is made up by the savings on the airfare, due to its proximity with the US. Moreover, Panama is also highly “Americanized” and thus is a favorite destination of many tourists – general and medical.

Panama’s official currency is the US Dollar and most health care specialists are US trained. This makes sure that the logistics of traveling are lesser and medical tourists are not in for rude culture shock when they visit Panama.

Panama’s economy is heavily dependent on the services industry and thus medical tourism would have a positive impact on the same. With a surplus of more than 1.5 million (as per CIA World Factbook) skilled labor force, Panama will be a force to reckon with in the services industry.

Panama, compared to other South American countries has a US dependent economy and is trying to foster its trade ties with the US. It also has free trade agreement with the US (signed in December 2006) and does not participate in the CAFTA (Central America Free Trade Agreement). Panama also welcomes foreign investment with open arms especially in tourism, service related industries and Panama real estate.


Brazil is one of the most preferred destinations for plastic and cosmetic surgeries. Brazil’s foray into medical tourism began with Ivo Pitanguy, a plastic surgeon of world-renown who started a clinic outside Rio-de-Janeiro about four decades ago. Brazil today is considered the “mecca” of plastic and cosmetic surgery and is the 2nd largest market for these surgeries after the US. This is due to the impeccable quality of service and affordable costs it offers compared to other medical tourism destinations.

According to MedRetreat, a medical tourism service company, Brazil has most number of hospitals and health care centers after the US. Almost all of them are fully accredited by JCAHO (Joint Commission), US which is the largest organization that accredits hospitals. These facts underline the importance of Brazil in the medical tourism industry and promote almost all other kinds of procedures in addition to plastic and cosmetic surgeries.

The most sought after destination in Brazil is São Paulo, which is not only the biggest city in Brazil but also boasts of some of the world’s best hospitals and healthcare centers complete with all evaluation procedures and some of the world’s most renowned and highly skilled professionals. Also, Brazil is in close proximity to the US and takes only about 9 hours on a flight.

Brazil is also very conducive to foreign investment and is slated to become one of the most dominant economies in the future according to Jim O’Neill (Goldman Sachs). Thus, in addition to saving on medical costs and seeing Brazil, investing in real estate here could bring in high returns.


Located in South East Asia and being one of the most beautiful tropical tourism destinations in the world, Malaysia is also a haven for healthcare facilities and hospitals. AS a result of this, Malaysia’s medical tourism industry has experience a geometric growth in the recent past. To give you an estimate, people who have opted for healthcare in Malaysia has grown from about 75,000 to 300, 000 per annum between 2001 and 2006, which is a growth of 400% in a span of 5 years (figures are from Association of Private Hospitals, Malaysia). The revenue generated through such influx medical tourists in 2006 touched the $60 billion mark. It is predicted that the Malaysian medical tourism market will grow at 30% per annum until 2010.

Healthcare in Malaysia offers a wide range of procedures that include cosmetic, cardiac and dental surgeries at much lesser costs than the US. A cardiac bypass surgery in Malaysia costs around USD 6000-7000.

Malaysia attracts foreign investment and tourists alike due to conducive exchange rates and, stable government and its high literacy rate. Malaysia is the only country in the world that has almost 90% of its population living in the vicinity of healthcare facilities. This speaks volumes for its network of hospitals.

Costa Rica

Another popular medical tourism destination, Costa Rica is located in South America and caters to a lot of medical care requirement of patients from developed countries. Costa Rica offers world-class medical care at down-to-earth costs and is very convenient to travel to, especially from North America. It is just 8-10 hours from the USA and is highly accessible with little logistic arrangements.

As per the NCPA report last published, more than 150,000 foreigners have sought Costa Rica’s healthcare facilities for their treatment in 2006. Costa Rica specializes in cosmetic and dental surgeries and any form of procedure costs around half of what it would cost in US. For example, a dental veneer costs $350 in Costa Rica while it costs about $1200 in the USA.

With high literacy rate and economic stability coupled with a welcoming attitude towards foreign investment, Costa Rica is a fast growing economy. It is a member of the US-CAFTA agreement that was implemented in March 2008 making it more conducive to investment and medical tourism.


The ratio of value for money in medical care is the best in India, which means that you can get the best medical care at the lowest cost compared to any other medical tourism destinations according to NCPA. India boasts of several JVI accredited hospitals and uses the best infrastructure with cutting-edge medical care technology. The only drawbacks with India are the restrictions placed on foreigners and the distance from the US.

Medical tourism despite the drawback has grown immensely in the past few years. With about 500,000 foreigners opting for treatment in India in 2005, the industry has grown from 150,000 in 2002. The medical tourism industry itself is slated to being in USD 2,2 billion a year by 2012.

With the availability of high tech medical care infrastructure, India specializes in almost all medical procedure, be it orthopedic, cardiac or cosmetic procedures. India also has some procedure, yet unavailable in the US such as Birmingham hip resurfacing which has recently got the FDA approval in US. The costs of healthcare are very low, for example a high tech hospital in India charges USD 4000 for a cardiac surgery that would cost more than USD 30,000 anywhere in the


India, as a country faces many issues like environmental issues, illiteracy, poverty and religious strife and dissuades foreigners from traveling there. However, the mystic value that the country carries along with its efforts towards becoming the “global health destination” encourages many foreigners to opt for healthcare here.

With reduced controls on foreign trade and investment, progressive policy on economic reforms and foreign trade makes India a highly sought after destination for foreign investment. With a fast growing market, India is slated to become an economy to reckon with.

Medical Tourism Destinations – 7 Popular Countries For Medical Treatment

Medical tourism is fast growing industry that has developed because people don’t want to pay the exorbitant costs of medical, dental, and cosmetic treatments in their home countries. It is fairly young industry, but it has been ringing up millions of dollars in revenue every year. Below are seven popular medical tourism destinations and some info about each of them:


Among all the major players in the world, India offers the most number of medical treatments of the highest quality and for the lowest costs, particularly a dramatic 70-90% decrease of U.S. prices. One of the largest health providers is the Apollo Hospital Group, with 41 hospitals and 8.000 beds all over the country. In the past, India was also able to provide procedures not available in Western countries, such as Birmingham him resurfacing.


It’s not surprising why this exotic South American destination notoriously known for being obsessed with the physical appearance is the second largest hub for high-quality cosmetic surgeries, next only to the U.S. Over 4,000 licensed cosmetic surgeons and world-class facilities make Brazil one of the top destinations for cosmetic treatments. Procedures range from liposuction, facelifts, breast augmentation to liposuction, jet peel skin rejuvenation, and internal bras. In general medical care, the country also has the largest number of hospitals outside the U.S. accredited by the JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations).


Despite the political unrest that has lately beleaguered Thailand, the country still continues to enjoy a growing health tourism that has been bringing in medical pilgrims seeking affordable but excellent medical treatment. Thailand offers virtually all kinds of medical treatments, ranging from cosmetic surgeries to organ transplants, from orthopedic treatments to cardiac surgeries, to physical and mental therapies to dental solutions. Several of its hospitals are certified by international accreditation organizations and it offers the best medical practitioners who were educated and trained in the United States and the United Kingdom.

South Korea

Unlike several of its neighboring countries who continue suffering from the economic crisis, South Korea has an economy that is hardly affected and is, in fact, flourishing. The government has been exhausting all efforts to expand the field of medical tourism in the country, even including stem cell transplant in its list of most sought-after procedures after realizing the importance of this controversial treatment in curing different types of cancers. South Korea’s world-class plastic surgeons and state-of-the-art medical facilities have also made it the plastic surgery capital of the world, offering quality services, such as re-plantation using microsurgery, flap operation, burn care, and craniofacial surgery, for a fraction of the cost offered in Western countries.


This Southeast Asian nation offers a wide variety of medical procedures, including cardiac surgeries, cosmetic surgeries, dental treatments, alternative medicine, and health spas. Cost of treatments are much, much lower than in the United States and since the U.S. dollar performs favorably well against the Malaysian ringgit, even inclusion of holiday expenses will still make it significantly less expensive than the cost of the procedure in the U.S. says that 88.5% of the entire Malaysian population live within three miles of a healthcare facility.

Costa Rica

One of the major medical tourism destinations south of the U.S. is Costa Rica, which is also known for its pristine shorelines, jungle adventures, and government-protected national parks. For patients who mind flying through the Pacific, Costa Rica is the best location for high-quality cosmetic and dental care. Prices are typically half the price of the procedure when done in the U.S. and during recuperation, you can go out to see the amazing sights and sounds of this South American hotspot.


European countries, such as Hungary where English is commonly spoken, are jumping into the business. It is one of the leading medical tourism destinations for patients in the U.K. and those in the U.S. who choose not to go to Asia. Instead of major healthcare facilities, Hungary boasts of excellent private clinics in Budapest where personal care is a huge bonus. Most medical procedures are dental and cosmetic in nature, but there are also a wide number of general medical treatments available.