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Medical tourism is not a new concept; people have been traveling to other locations for medical care for thousands of years. The earliest destinations were thermal springs full of minerals found near the Mediterranean. The Sumerians constructed health facilities around these hot springs as early as 4000 BC. It was the ancient Greeks, however, who built the first major health tourism sites. The facility at Epidauria in the Saronic Gulf is the most famous, and is considered the original destination for health tourism.

The practice of visiting spa towns and sanitariums also boomed in the 17th and 18th Centuries–when the European elite rediscovered the Roman Baths–and people began traveling to spa towns such as Baden Baden, Bath, and St. Moritz.

Read more about the early history of medical tourism, and various forms in its earliest days.

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