Dec 12, 2019 in Analysis

Moving for Therapeutic is Travelling

There have been several deliberations concerning the aspect of moving for therapeutic reasons. Most individuals do not consider moving for therapeutic as travelling. On the other hand, some critics have argued on the contrary, proving it to be travelling. Thus, some people maintain that the travelling and moving are two different processes; hence classification of moving for therapeutic purposes should not be regarded as travelling. The decision to move to a particular destination usually comes as a result of the traveler’s personal values and motives. Seeking therapeutic response for a particular ailment can also be categorized as an influence that stimulates travelling. The difference between travelling and moving plays a significant role in ensuring satisfaction of a given psychological need. According to Pearce and Lee, travelling motivation has been described as the special subset of the wider interest area of human motivation. It is also the total network of the cultural and biological forces that gives value and direction to travel choice, experience and behavior. Therapeutic travelling is essential in some cases, and presents many advantages. Firstly, therapeutic travel can be economical. There are countries, where one spends less for the medical services plus the travel costs as compared to the treatment in their country. For instance, medication in India is significantly cheaper compared to the developed countries, like the US. A person living in the US may opt to seek medical attention in India. The cost of travelling and medication is likely to be cheaper than in healthcare facilities in the US. The current paper critically examines reasons why moving for therapeutic reasons is considered as travelling.


It is indeed true that some people think, when they move from home to attend issues such as conferences, vacations and family gatherings, they are travelling. The belief makes them view the idea of moving and travelling as different concepts. According to Shi, Cole and Chancellor, the concept of travelling from one geographical location to another, using either a vehicle or airplane, is driven by a motive. The motives for travelling are different, but they do not change the experience an individual undergoes. When a person travels to attend a business conference in a different country, while another one moves to a foreign locale, they are both travelling. For example the situation is the same for an individual who moves from an African country to India to seek medical attention. Moreover, people in different countries are compelled to move great geographical distances in pursuit of special health care. The primary reasons behind their decisions to undertake the idea of travelling abroad are usually based on cheaper health care service and quality treatment. For instance, the individuals from developing nations are forced to move to the developed nations for therapeutic purposes. In the process, some usually encounter new experiences that are similar to the tourist phenomenon.

The same goal of having a new experience motivates other tourists to consider travelling. Furthermore, the aspect is in agreement with motivation to satisfy a particular psychological need. Thus, moving to acquire medication is considered as a health need. Another scholar has described travel motivation as an expressive state of mind that adequately disposes of a group or an individual to travel. The perspective is subsequently interpreted by the community as an authentic explanation of a decision. Therefore, an individual’s decision to move to a particular place in pursuit of a therapeutic action can be regarded as travelling.

The people having either acquired or congenital mobility impairments usually face the psychological and physical barriers in their lifestyles. However, the daily experiences prepare them to accept the challenge for leisure and travel. In the light of the intertwined relationship between movement and travel, a detailed review of the issues is essential to understanding the motivations for people to travel, while seeking medical remedies. Nonetheless, the participation of the disabled is determined by the relative motivations to move from one place to another looking for comfort. Researchers in tourism also consider the disabled people moving in spaceships as travelers. The reason is that the value derived from the movement is similar to the one drawn leisure and relaxation. 

Therapeutic travel is also preferred by most people because there are no wait-lists. Countries that are well-known for their services always attract therapeutic travels. In some countries where healthcare organization is unmanaged, a patient may take several months before he or she can see the doctor. Their appointments follow unending queues regardless of the patients’ conditions. The situation can be dangerous in cases of emergencies such as heart failure conditions. Thus, one may opt to travel to another country, where they can get guaranteed quick attention. There are even cases of urgent surgeries that require quick medical attention. The life-threatening situations require quick action and therapeutic travelling comes in to save the situation. Hence, if one intentionally moves from his or her country to seek medical attention, it is a type of travel.

People also move from one point to another to seek improved technology. Developed countries, particularly in the medical field, attract large numbers of medical travel because of their efficient equipment. Innovations in the medical field are absorbed faster in some regions than others. The slow developing countries use the old methods of treatment that may not be effective. People, who value good services, prefer to seek technologically proficient services. Thus, they intentionally move from one region to another, which is considered a therapeutic trip. The people in pursuit of therapeutic knowledge for research purposes also travel to accomplish their research.

Additionally, seeking expertise and personalized healthcare is also a type of therapeutic travel. Many may argue that seeking consultations of highly qualified doctors is not travelling. However, one may need to travel to the place, where the physician is located. One may need to book tickets for various means of transport. Travelling is the process of moving from one point to another regardless of the distance. Hence, the movement of people to seek specialized doctors and services should be considered therapeutic travelling. 

According to Woodman, medical travel has been described as the process, in which a patient moves in pursuit of treatment for a particular medical condition. The treatment is often invasive and entails therapeutic responses, such as fertility treatment, dental implant, cancer therapies and other major surgical procedures. According to the statistics from the National Care and Policy Centre, in 2005 there were approximately 50000 citizens from the US, who moved abroad in search for cheaper treatment. The survey also established that most of the patients moved to Mexico and other Latin American nations. Furthermore, patients who are not familiar with specific medical facilities in their destination usually coordinate with the travel intermediaries. The intermediaries usually work as travel agents. They also examine the health care providers to ascertain on quality and physical well-being that can meet the standards of travelling. The recruitment and bookings usually take place online due to the availability of e-services. Therefore, the travel agent assistance information acts as a proof that indeed movement for therapeutic is travelling. India is also one of the most recognized destinations for medical tourism in the world. Despite the long hours spent on travelling, it has been considered to have the best prices for therapeutic and medical services. There are enough hotel accommodations, and the hospitals have supplementary rooms to host the relatives of the clients visiting for treatment purposes. If the data is critically evaluated basing on the definition of travel, then it can be evident that moving for therapeutic goals is indeed travelling.  

Another survey has revealed the proper method of classifying the aspect of moving from home country in pursuit of therapeutic care. Woodman discusses that the cross-border medical travel mostly in Europe entails the flow of workers and retirees within the European Union. Most media classify it as regional medical travel that entails moving to a nearby country. In such cases, people drive rather than fly to the medical destination. Grell, Cunningham and Arizzabalaga have also pointed out that nearly movement is popular in the contemporary medical tourism. For example, the Canadians cross into the US, or Americans move to Mexico for treatment purposes. The people in the Caribbean island nations are also seeking therapeutic care in their neighboring countries. Munro also acknowledges the existence of medical travel companies that have the primary functions to assist the refugees seek medical attention away from their places.

The companies have established medical programs for individuals with cultural and social ties and family roots in a medical destination. Munro has also argued that the medical travel companies have the potential of gaining popularity from the beneficiaries because it is easier to move them to a more familiar destination. In the familiar environments, the service providers can speak the local language and have some expectations of therapeutic response or health care.

Another report published by the global summit has acknowledged the confusion that exists in the idea of moving for medical purposes. The report has highlighted the details of a research conducted on medical tourism executives. One would expect that in their position they should be knowledgeable about defining medical tourism. However, it was disappointing that 25 percent of the executives could not define the phenomenon and related terms. Nonetheless, their beliefs were vivid, and they established that wellness tourists could not be compared to medical tourists. The aspect is grounded on the fact that individual travelling for therapeutic interests has entirely different motives from wellness tourism.

There are also single-purpose travelers, whose motives are to explore and travel back the same day with an aim of saving money. On the other hand, there are people that have the motive of acquiring treatment and simultaneously participate in other tourism activities. The purpose to combine leisure and treatment can be achieved in places with the traditional healing waters and mineral baths. The treatments are prescribed by the professional doctors for rehabilitation.

Another fact that makes the aspect of moving for therapeutic considered a trip is that the characteristics of an international traveler are almost the same as the person’s moving for therapeutic reasons. An international traveler often requires a supportive environment that includes a hospitality staff that provides translations, and comfort requests, including better food and room upgrades. They are also privileged to have hospitals with professional doctors to attend to their medical requirements in case they need a special treatment. The same applies to the individuals travelling for therapeutic reasons, as they need medical practitioners for full disclosure of their problems. In both cases, it would be viable to consider them travelers because they all have a motive for their journey.

When compared to an expatriate traveler, the difference is the same. The person moving for therapeutic is not a resident in the country of destination. They might also be operating from a familiar cultural and social environment, where a familiar language is spoken. Similarly, the expatriate travelers might be moving within a familiar terrain where they can encounter friends and share the experiences of their country. They can also share information about the medication and health related matters. The point is that they are conversant with their travel and can easily locate their embassy to acquire assistance. The expatriates like commercial workers can also be classified as medical travelers, when they move searching for medical treatment away from their homes. It is the motives that link the medical travelers to expatriates and make it sensible to classify moving for therapeutic reasons as travel.

Domestic patients, who move within their designated countries, can also be regarded as travelers. The move in pursuit of health care within their home country while enjoying the familiar social and cultural environment. They can also be considered as travelers as the parameters and the distance they cover within their country. The fact they are also moving with a motive also makes them travelers. Consider a case of an individual moving from Philadelphia to Louisiana State in pursuit of treatment for a fractured neck. They can be categorized as travelers even if they had moved and were familiar with the environment at Louisiana. The fact that the laws and regulations of the two places might be common does not mean that the person is not a traveler. The same justification applies to all domestic tourists moving within their country to designated places of vacations.     

When an individual decides to move to another destination for therapeutic reasons, they do not necessarily have to keep the memories at home. For instance, it would not be valid to think about the activities they would be indulging in when they were at home. A family member can also accompany the patient and have a new experience at the designated place of treatment. Moreover, they can make new friends at the hospital they are visiting, which is similar to a case when a tourist opts to move to a new place with the intentions of meeting people. The two scenarios include moving and can be categorized as travelling.

If the concept of therapeutic travelling is analyzed from the aspect of travelling, it is evident that there are no considerable differences. Airey and Tribe claim that regardless of the nature of the journey, any travel includes logistics. The logistics that involve study tour entail hiring extra personnel such as travel agents. The aspect is also a critical consideration when moving for therapeutic reasons. Another consideration is health and safety. Airey and Tribe have stated that it is essential to consider the backup plans in case the primary plan does not work as expected. One is also required to consider the risks associated with the set plans. The same considerations apply to the movement for therapeutic reasons, where individuals are required to evaluate the safety of their journey. In medical travels, the safety, the route and the selected accommodation are critical points.

Timing is also a significant factor when travelling for a vacation, public holiday or a visit to the relatives. If one is moving for therapeutic travel, timing is critical because in some countries companies do not work on public holidays. Therefore, one has to factor in the peak period for the activity of the designated area to avoid inconveniences. For example, it would be pointless to visit a country that is strongly based on Christianity during Christmas time. The same elements affect the movement for therapeutic reasons; hence, it can be considered as travelling.

Basing on another perspective of travel, Vuuren and Slabbert have described it as the behavior that the tourist exhibits before and during travelling in relation to their attitudes. Vuuren and Slabbert have also identified the phases involved in travelling. Firstly, they have identified the aspect of mental and psychological preparedness. In this phase, an individual is expected to outline the significance of moving through critical evaluation of the destination. The knowledge about travel behavior is significant in the comprehension of moving and travelling. The improvement of quality of life is the primary benefit that some people derive from travelling. When an individual becomes sick, the quality of life has deteriorated. The statement motivates to look for the alternatives to improve their health. In the process, they engage in migration to the designated places where they feel the quality of their lives can be improved. The process that they engage in the pursuit of better health care service entails travelling.

Secondly, an individual is expected to analyze the attitudes involved in the process of travelling. People have been urged to develop a remarkable attitude in their journey to avoid getting ripped off in the process. The attitude allows an individual to embrace the new environment, hence alleviating boredom. Finally, a person is expected to develop the strategies for handling shock in the therapeutic destination. The aspect usually entails culture-shock management as a result of meeting a different group of people. In case an individual does not develop strategies to cope with culture shock, they risk developing depression. The adaption phases are relevant both in the domestic travelling and moving for therapeutic care. Therefore, the value of social interaction in the host country makes the pursuit for therapeutic qualify as travelling.

In conclusion, the aspect of moving away from home for therapeutic reasons is considered as travelling. The comparison with other forms of travelling, the evidence proves their several similarities. The most evident one is that both involve shifting from one geographical location to another using a means to satisfy a particular need. An in-depth knowledge of people seeking treatment by moving also promotes the aspect of tourist business operators to accommodate the patients as travelers. The travelling is mostly triggered by motivations. The motivations range from leisure, visiting new friends, or satisfaction of a particular psychological need. The needs entail psychological planning, where attitude play a significant role in ensuring that the feeling is appreciated. Furthermore, accessibility of the destination is also a pull factor for the majority of people. The critical activity is individuals get to learn about themselves and their mental health. However, some people have stated that a movement does not have to earn positive feedback to be regarded significant in self-understanding. Therefore, it would be liberal for tourists’ researchers to categorize the moving for therapeutic reasons as travelling in their survey because the similarities have been proven by current research.


Related essays