Medical Wellness : New Approaches in Health Tourism

What is Medical Wellness?

Before answering the question of what is medical wellness, I would like to clarify the definition of wellness.
Although it is considered as a set of treatments and practices that are expected to improve one’s health quickly and in the short term, in reality it is much more. In an other words, wellness is a philosophy of life.
The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as “the active practice of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a holistic state of health”. Wellness models generally include 6 basic dimensions.

• Physical
• Intellectual
• Emotional
• Spritual
• Social
• Environmental

A Holistic Approach To Health

Medical wellness is a holistic health approach where medical treatments are integrated with wellness practices and used to complement each other according to needs.Its aim is to protect health as well as to improve the perception of personal health holistically.The priority is the motivation to adopt a healthy lifestyle. With the correct guidance, patients are trained to take care of their health and learn how to strengthen it through a quality lifestyle.

Medical wellness (medical health), which has become more and more important in recent years, combines medical diagnosis and treatment techniques with the philosophy of wellness among different therapeutic approaches. The main difference from wellness programs is that medical well-being is justified and offers a personalized health approach.

Medical wellness is ideal for people with chronic diseases or with risk factors whose lifestyle can have a significant impact on the progression and course of the disease. People with risk factors such as rheumatic or cardiovascular diseases, concomitant diabetes, high blood pressure or overweight, and those with stress-related disorders are the types where medical wellness becomes a key factor for the recovery.

Wellness Tourism Association defines Medical Wellness as “Treatment programs and/or packages implemented by medical professionals but considered proactive rather than reactive”. This includes rest, sleep and stress management, medical testing and programs for the early detection and prevention of certain medical conditions.

The Values Added To Life

As an important part of Health Tourism, Medical Wellness

  • It is a field that deals with people holistically and where preventive medicine is practiced.
  • A lifestyle designed with health awareness with the support of exercise, medical help and correct nutritional factors is integrated to people’s life.
  • It aims to strengthen the immune system.
  • It is a method for combating diseases.
  • It helps us transform our lifestyle by taking into account the integrity of body, soul and mind for a better quality and long life.
  • While applying therapy-based treatments; it also supports surgical interventions (medical aesthetic applications, dental surgeries, etc.) in case they are required.
  • Wellness and medical practices complement each other. Relaxation and exercise are part of the program, along with a qualified consultation and medical examination. This includes medical massages and typical medical spa treatments.

Medical Wellness Practices in Health Tourism

-Treatments based on check-up results
-Physiotherapy sessions
-Orthopedic and sports rehabilitation
-Cardiac rehabilitation
-Chiropractic treatment
-Rehabilitation therapies
-Pain management treatments
-Ozone and oxygen therapies
-Massage and relaxation therapies
-Natural source-based therapies; Thermal treatments, mud /thalasso/ sea/ocean-based therapies
-Rituals (saunas/steam sessions, etc.)
-Beauty treatments
-Anti-aging procedures
-Walking, swimming
-Outdoor exercises
-Mental therapies
-Traditional healing approaches – such as Ayurveda
-Therapeutic Recreation – programs and treatments based on physical activities aiming to improve specific medical conditions like attention deficit disorder, sleep therapies
-Appropriate nutrition and weight loss
-Qualified medical care
-Medical aesthetic applications
-Dental and hair treatment applications

Several of the medical wellness practices, primarily including therapeutic recreation and rehabilitation treatments, are utilized to enhance the quality of life for elderly and disabled individuals

Medical Wellness In The World

When examining global examples, Medical Wellness is planned and marketed as tourism and accommodation centered.

Medical Wellness is a niche area in health tourism and its applications are country-specific.

Countries like Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Hungary, and Switzerland have been implementing it successfully for many years. However, in many countries, it is still unknown or not given the necessary importance.

There are numerous examples of Medical Spa concepts worldwide. In Turkey, specifically invested Medical Wellness Clinics are not very widespread.

Among the best Medical Wellness Clinics in Europe, we can mention established and successful examples like Clinique La Prairie (Switzerland), Preidelhof (Italy), Villa Stefanie Baden Baden (Germany), Park Igls (Austria), SHA Wellness Clinic (Spain), Chenot Palace (Switzerland), and Lanserhof Group (Germany)

Services and Features Offered at Medical Wellness Clinics

Today, there is a global awareness that healthy choices are crucial for a better and longer life. The guests of such clinics consist of individuals who embrace a healthy lifestyle and make proactive choices.

In Medical Wellness clinics;

Integration of health and medicine is at the core of their story.
They are professionally organized, equipped with suitable facilities and environments for all treatments, and equipped for activities and sports.
They focus on personalized treatments with a scientific approach and expertise in health, rejuvenation, feeling good, and longevity. They offer treatment packages aimed at improving their customers’ quality of life. Examples include enhanced sleep, aiding better circulation and digestion, pain management, improving joint mobility, strengthening immunity, and enhancing focus. They create a unique customer experience based on innovative treatments combining spa, hospital, and hotel facilities. The facility employs doctors and expert therapists with a scientific preventive medicine approach. They provide disease prevention, personalized programs for a healthy life, holistic approaches supported by nutrition and exercise, and personalized lifestyle coaching services.
They invest in research and development.
Destination matters. Hence, the campuses are often located in beautiful and serene places. Guests not only prefer the clinic or resort but also outdoor activities and clean air. They benefit from the outdoor environment and nature’s beauty. Nature walks, cycling, cultural excursions, etc., are enjoyed.
They offer long-term support and follow-up after treatment.
They align with global sustainable tourism practices.
Specifically, Medical Wellness clinics are not very common in Turkey. However, there are numerous examples of Medical Spa concepts worldwide.

What Does It Take to Be a Medical Wellness Facility?

A comprehensive Medical Wellness Clinic investment can be made with accommodation, wellness, clinic infrastructure, and a suitable medical team.


A partnership can be established between a hotel or resort with a comprehensive wellness facility infrastructure and a clinic with medical equipment and criteria.


A fully equipped wellness section can be added to a hospital or clinic. In this case, the healthcare institution can establish its wellness team and infrastructure or partner with an internationally certified brand.

Today, many Wellness hotels offer Medical Wellness programs.

The Features Sought in a Medical Wellness Facility

The establishment of the facility should involve a clear concept, supported by experienced tourism and healthcare professionals.
The design, equipment, and service quality of the accommodation rooms should contribute to guests’ treatments, recoveries, and wellness practices.
The number of rooms should be determined based on the business strategy and professional planning to ensure personalized attention to guests.

Destination matters. Regions with extensive infrastructure, rich cultural and social heritage, and clean nature should be preferred. The healing power of nature adds value to these treatments. Additionally, guests enjoy cultural excursions, exploration, and interaction with locals during their free time.
The wellness section should be top-notch and appealing. Therapists must be experts in their fields. Just like in any sector, the quality of wellness services largely depends on therapists’ specialized training, the facility’s service quality, and functionality.
Healthy services should be provided. Prioritizing health in all aspects of the facility’s services, not just in medical wellness applications, is crucial. Planning and offering services that contribute to the health of all guests is essential. The services being healthy are as important as health-focused travel.
First-class healthcare services for health and fitness should be available year-round.

Tourism and accommodation services should be compatible with treatments and recovery programs.
Food and beverage services should reflect the medical wellness philosophy, offering healthy, natural, and fine dining options.
Common areas used by everyone (including meeting and conference rooms) should be comfortable and spacious.

Destinations should be willing and systematic in promoting their capacity and capabilities in health tourism and medical wellness.
Tourists expect environmental sensitivity from the tourism sector. The facility’s operations, infrastructure, and services should encompass global sustainability practices.
If a hotel collaborates with a medical institution to become a medical wellness facility, the facility should have healthcare staff such as doctors, nurses, and emergency medical technicians to follow up on health guests. This team should oversee the implementation of treatment protocols based on medical check-ups and monitor patients accordingly.

Notes on the Medical Wellness Industry

In the concept of medical wellness, an essential component of health tourism, a wonderful opportunity for a healthy vacation should be created. More information should be gathered about the reasons and emotions triggering the desire for a healthy lifestyle journey. Nowadays, consumers are increasingly seeking meaningful experiences and services. In the wellness world, the transformative benefits of treatments in a short period hold primary importance as a triggering factor.

Distinguishing between domestic and international market promotion activities is necessary. Solely focusing on treatment and service packages won’t be the most effective way to gain a competitive edge. For instance, if targeting international markets, defining and narrating the story accurately is crucial.

Establishing health-focused membership programs in medical wellness ensures long-term customer satisfaction and loyalty. Different packages, care, and treatment services should be offered for annual, 6-month, and 3-month periods to provide options.

Maintaining communication with relevant institutions like the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Ministry of Health is crucial. Obtaining necessary permissions for compliance with regulations and guidelines is essential.

Medical wellness travel is a niche product. Individuals often search for suitable health programs and destinations themselves. Therefore, the digital presence of the facility becomes even more significant. Nevertheless, there is also an increasing demand for agencies specialized in the health field that parallel the trend.