Exploring Alternative Medicine through Medical Tourism | A Look at Brazil



Exploring Alternative Medicine through Medical Tourism | A Look at Brazil

About 40 percent of adults in the United States say they use some form of alternative medicine, Chiropractic, and Reiki were the most offered therapies.

By Mark Zuleger-Thyss



Health tourism, also called medical tourism or wellness tourism, is a rapidly growing sector within the global tourism industry. It encompasses diverse activities and services, all aimed at improving or maintaining an individual's health and well-being.

This article presents an overview of the health tourism industry for Alternative Medical Treatments. The Health Tourism Industry as a whole, which includes Alternative and Western Medical Services, is projected to become a $142 Billion industry with 14 million travelers.



Medical tourism has taken the healthcare industry by storm, and millions of patients now seek treatments beyond their national borders.



Traditional medical procedures, those borne of Western Medicine, have been at the forefront of this trend, and a growing number of individuals are now traveling for alternative medicine treatments, too. 



Alternative Medicine Tourism is Appealing

Alternative medicine refers to a broad range of therapeutic approaches and treatments that fall outside the scope of conventional Western medicine.

These treatments may include traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Ayurveda, homeopathy, naturopathy, and other holistic healing modalities.

As the global demand for alternative medicine grows, so does the appeal of medical tourism for patients seeking these treatments. Yet there are issues to face and barriers to entry. 




The City of Porto Alegre-Brazil & Alternative Treatments

In a profile of establishments near two hospitals in the City of Porto Alegre-Brazil, out-of-town patient visits ranged from 0 to 40 percent in four establishments.

Chiropractic and Reiki were the most offered therapies, followed by Bach Flowers and Orthomolecular Medicine, Chromotherapy, and Aromatherapy.

Based on these metrics, it is fair to conclude that health tourism is still going through growing pains for alternative medicine establishments. However, the movement can be considered negligible, but there is no denying it exists.

This lack of robust business may be partly due to the availability of information on the Internet about such services offered abroad.

There is also a language barrier to consider. For example, how can the average American obtain a realistic assessment of alternative services in Brazil if they do not speak the language and need help accessing Brazilian website information?




Popular Destinations for Alternative Medicine Tourism

Many countries offer alternative medicine treatments, and some have become remarkably popular for medical tourists. These destinations often boast a strong tradition of alternative medicine combined with modern facilities and well-trained practitioners.

Our list does not include the country of Brazil, showing that the desire for alternative therapies there has yet to be strong. But the others found here have burgeoning businesses due to how popular their traditional practices, such as Ayurveda and TCM, are to these countries.



Known for its ancient Ayurvedic practices, India attracts patients seeking holistic and natural treatments.


With a rich history of traditional Chinese medicine, China is a top destination for acupuncture, herbal medicine, and other modalities.


As a hub for wellness retreats and spas, Thailand offers various alternative treatments, including Thai massage and traditional herbal remedies. 


Patients drawn to Germany recognize it is renowned for homeopathy, naturopathy clinics, and cutting-edge research in alternative medicine. 


With its proximity to the United States, Mexico has become a popular destination for American patients seeking affordable alternative treatments. 





The future of medical tourism for alternative medicine is ripe with possibilities. As more patients turn to alternative medicine tourism for their healthcare needs, the industry can demonstrate its commitment to innovation, quality, and ethical practices.  

We encourage patients to seek hospitals, clinics, and facilities accredited by Global Healthcare. 


It is essential to only work with medical tourism facilitators who are certified by Global Healthcare Accreditation or who have undergone certification from the Certified Medical Travel Professionals (CMTP). The practice of checking for credentials will ensure that the highest standards in the industry are satisfactory.


Check out hospitals accredited by the Global Healthcare Accreditation







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