Back health centre of excellence creates local economic growth through health tourism

With an innovative tourism concept for people suffering from back problems, the Rostock-based vital & physio GmbH brings business to hotels, doctors, and furniture manufacturers.

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Presentation of a back-friendly bed in the back health centre of excellence. Presentation of a back-friendly bed in the back health centre of excellence.

" Thanks to EU funding, we were able to set up a back health centre of excellence in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The cooperation with different suppliers, enterprises, institutions and health- and tourism service providers is a sign of the attractiveness of our centre of excellence. One of the main benefits of the back health centre is the integration of the several levels of prevention around back health, including behavioural and circumstantial issues. These can now be systematically presented to the public. Furthermore, the encompassing know-how of our project leads to the development of innovative products and services related to health tourism. "

Rene Portwich, executive director of vital & physio GmbH

The innovative idea includes developing a quality mark for cooperating hotels, qualifying courses for multipliers such as doctors and rehab clinics, and a certification for back health related products made in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Tourists are then offered these products during their stay. The concept brings benefits for guests, who can enjoy high-quality treatment of their back problems, and local business alike.

Awareness raising and cooperation

The back health centre of excellence has contributed to the development of innovative products, such as the ‘Ergonomic classroom’ designed in cooperation with a local furniture producer. It also organises activities ranging from workshops for hotels to the implementation of the national day of back health in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. In order to reach a maximum number of multipliers, vital & physio cooperates with national and regional association connected to back health, and with regional research institutions.

An idea with potential

In Germany, around 4.3 million people suffer from impaired mobility due to dorsal pain every year. Dorsal pain is the most common form of pain and one of the most frequent reasons for inability to work. The medical treatment offered by vital & physio GmbH therefore not only provides relief to its over 10 000 patients, tourist customers, and participants at prevention courses, but also contributes to the well-being of the German economy. The government of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania recognised this with an award at the Health-care Industry Ideas Contest 2012.

The vital & physio GmbH, which runs the back health centre of excellence, is specialised in natural healing methods, physiotherapy, and prevention. It cooperates with over 20 hotels and guest houses in and around Warnemünde, as well as with the Rostock tourism board and local health insurance companies. Vital & physio was founded in 2002 and currently employs 15 people.

One full-time project coordinator was hired, and the project is expected to generate new jobs in the furniture industry following greater demand from hotels for specialised mattresses and other back-related products.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Back health centre of excellence” is EUR 150 000 with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contributing EUR 112 000 through the “Mecklenburg-Vorpommern” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.

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