Health tourism developing rapidly
By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijan has all chances to develop the health tourism due to its unique natural conditions.
Azerbaijan is rich with hot and mineral springs, thermal sulphur-hydrogen water sources and all types of mud volcanoes the mud of which can be used for medical purposes. There are around 300 mud volcanoes existing in Azerbaijan. The mud is used for the treatment of radiculitis, skin, cardiovascular, gynecological, urological diseases, and gastrointestinal disturbances. It is also widely used in the cosmetology.
Another exceptional medical product of Azerbaijan is its well-known healing “Naftalan” oil which is used for treatment of many diseases. Naftalan is a famous balneotherapeutic health resort well-known for its oil baths. It has been known since ancient times as an effective treatment for lesions of the musculoskeletal system. Naftalan oil is also used in the treatment of skin, urological, gynecological diseases. It relieves inflammation, reduces pain, improves blood circulation, speeds up metabolism. “The spring of black gold is the key to healing” - this is the slogan of Naftalan sanatoriums and health centers.
Moreover, Azerbaijan is also known for its salt mines used for asthma therapy. The most popular one is called “Duzdagh Cave” (salty mountain cave) located in Nakhchivan. There are over-and underground treatment premises located 300 meters below sea level. The cave is rich with sodium chloride ions which are are helpful in treatment of bronchial asthma, hay fever, bronchitis, rhinitis and other respiratory organs diseases.
One of the most famous thermal springs is the Istisu Hospital in Lankaran district, in Masalli. Today there are several hospitals on the territory of Istisu, which are designed for both budget and vip guests.
The first thing you notice when you arrive at Istisu is the smell of sulfur and steam that rolls over the ground. The water emerges from the depths of the earth, and its temperature exceeds 60 degrees.
The list of diseases for which they are treated here is very wide: rheumatism and its side effects (arthritis, polyarthritis, joint pain), skin diseases (psoriasis, dermatitis, neurodermatitis, fungal diseases, eczema), kidney and urethral diseases, radiculitis, prostate, diseases of the liver and biliary tract, gastrointestinal and female diseases, as well as female and male infertility.
Locals call this water “miraculous water” and claim that this is one answer to a hundred misfortunes.
The number of tourists visiting Azerbaijan for health and medical purposes will increase by 18 percent in 2019, the chairman of the Association for the Support of Medical and Thermal Tourism of Azerbaijan, President of the World Organization of Health Tourism Ruslan Guliyev told Trend on December 14.
He said that in January-November 2018, the number of tourists who visited Azerbaijan for health purposes increased by 30 percent compared to the same period last year.
"More than 45,000 tourists from over 70 countries visited the Recreational Center Naftalan alone," he noted. "This figure is expected to grow by the end of the year."
He added that among the tourists who visited this center, the Russian, Kazakh and Uzbek citizens constitute a majority.
In addition, he noted that in Azerbaijan there are conditions for the development of all major areas of health tourism, and the development of this sphere is an important issue for the country.