More often, health tourism is thought of as a recent phenomen. In fact, people have been traveling long distances to better their health for thousands of years.
Archaeological evidence from the third millennium B.C. suggests that ancient Mesopotamians were travelling to the temple of a healing god or goddess at Tell Brak in Syria, in search of a cure for eye disorders. A few thousand years later, the Greeks travelled by foot or ship to spas and cult centers all around the Mediterranean.The Asclepia Temples, dedicated in honor of the Greek god of medicine, were some of the world's first health centers. Pilgrims would sometimes spend several nights in the temple hoping Asclepios would appear in a dream and suggest a diagnosis or treatment.
Today we are experiencing both qualitative and quantitative development in patient mobility, as people travel to and from different countries in order to access health services. What really puts the word "tourism" in the health tourism concept, is that people often stay in the foreign country following the medical procedure. Travelers can thus take advantage of their visit by sightseeing, taking day trips or participating in any other traditional tourism activities.