Renovated medical spas are providing a new twist in medical tourism, with treatments supervised by personal doctors.
Medical spas are booming in Lithuania, blending the concepts of hotel, spa and medical clinic. Its hard-to-pronounce spa towns of Druskininkai and Birštonas, surrounded by forests and river bends, have been upgraded into 21st-century health retreats.
It’s an environment “to relax, improve the health and get high-quality medical supervision in one place”, claims Health Tourism Lithuania, a private company that represents multilingual specialists and clinics in the Baltic country.
Everyone who checks into a medical spa is assigned a personal doctor who determines an individualised course of treatment and daily procedures, whether related to recovery from an illness or surgery or general health improvement.
“Ever since 1835, when mineral waters from the springs in Druskininkai were acknowledged to have healing properties, the town became one of the most renowned resorts in the region,” says Tiffany Brown, communications director at Health Tourism Lithuania.
“Everyone was coming to Druskininkai for the special combination of pure air, medicinal mud and mineral water, and this trend continued during Soviet times.”
These days, she adds, the town is a popular resort not just with locals and people from neighbouring countries who know about it but also with Scandinavians, Germans and others who are keen to discover an unusual destination for a wellness-oriented holiday.
Spas range from specialised sanatoriums for children to medical facilities for people with movement disorders to luxury rehabilitation centres, according to Health Tourism Lithuania.
Upa, for example, is described as a Scandinavian-style medical spa in Druskininkai that offers therapeutic and spa treatments for people with movement and cardiovascular problems and for people needing rehabilitation after cancer, joint surgeries and respiratory or digestive diseases.
Accommodation with spa services starts from €70 a night, with a two-week rehabilitation programme with meals and medical care for less than €800.
Less medical is the 4-star Spa Vilnius Druskininkai, which promises “relaxation with a royal twist”. Besides its focus on spa and beauty procedures, it offers wellness programmes with mineral water and curative mud procedures as well as an optional in-house dentist.
In Druskininkai and now with a new facility in Birštonas, the medical spa Eglės Sanatorija has a 40-year history and over 70 medical professionals including dieticians, cardiologists, pulmonologists, dermatologists, psychologists and masseuses.