Dead Sea – The Best Natural Spa for Skin Health
Dead Sea is a deeply-seated region in the humid hinterlands between Jordan and Israel.
Although it seems like a fairly recent Western tourist attraction, it’s actually been a place to which travelers have flocked since antiquity.
Indeed, thousands of years ago, Queen Cleopatra made it a second home.
Before the full-service spas of the suburbs and vacation resorts, the Dead Sea – also known as the Salt Sea – endowed seekers with improved health through the medicinal properties of the water there.
The Christian Bible specifically mentions the wonders of the Dead Sea’s healing properties, where the fabled King Herod of Judea bathed to assuage his aching back.
He even built fortresses along the Western Bank to protect the palaces he erected for relaxation. This isn’t the only Holy Book to mention the soothing powers of the Salt Sea minerals; there are numerous accounts in the writings of ancient travelers about the wonderful effects that the mineral-rich black mud conveys.
In fact, it contains a unique combination of salts and minerals found nowhere else on Earth.
Queen Cleopatra’s Experience with the Dead Sea
Although the therapeutic effects of the Salt Sea were admired and used in the centuries before the Roman rule of Marcus Antonius, its legend really takes off with the frequent visits his lovely queen made to the region.
Cleopatra was reportedly enamored of the water’s serenity, where the surface often appears perfectly still.
She basked in the mud silicates to tighten her skin, remove age-wrinkles and preserve her singular hold on her king, which accounts for the stories that she was truly the ruler of Rome.
The psychological effect of being able to wade far out into the sea, and suffer no chance of drowning because of the salt-induced buoyancy, was a marvel she never forgot. In fact, Cleopatra is credited with establishing the first natural spa along its shores. If you go there today, you’ll see the many modern spas she inspired.
The Salt Sea as a Natural Healing Spa
Although the Dead Sea has great healing and soothing benefits, you cannot bathe interminably in it.
The rich salt content will cause dehydration in the human body after about 20-30 minutes of immersion.
The centuries of its existence in the landlocked Jordanian basin means that salt and minerals can come in, but can never leave.
As the water evaporates, the sea gets ever denser and more buoyant; millennia from now, it will likely cease to be a sea of anything other than salt and minerals, and future humans will be able to outright walk across it.
Cleopatra understood that staying in the water too long had risks, which was the primary drive for establishing spas on the seashore.
The potassium salts, magnesium, bromine and other chloride salts make an excellent mud mixture that can be applied directly to the body and worn for a long time to experience the full effects. Today, the artificial spas lining the Dead Sea-shores have amenities that were absent in the time of the great Cleopatra.
Although you shouldn’t be submerged for more than about half-an-hour in the sea itself, there are hydro-pools in the open-air resorts that allow you to float at peace and enjoy the wonderful vistas and magnificent sunsets so far below sea level.
How Does the Dead Sea Heal?
The soothing and healing properties of the Dead Sea come from a combination of unique attributes specific to the region.
The Mediterranean mud possesses minerals like chlorine, sulfur and bromine; these are just the major constituents.
Of the 26 essential minerals that can be found there, a dozen of them are not known to exist in any other region in the world together.
The natural properties of the special combination of minerals in the Salt Sea is what endows the human body with feelings of relaxation, skin nourishment and cleansing of the blood.
Indeed, the therapeutic properties have been known to assuage rheumatoid arthritis and other disorders that involve a poorly-regulated metabolism.
In fact, many popular herbal cosmetics and marketed organic sachets are made from scoops of the water gathered in the salty waters. The other thing that makes this Mediterranean region so special is the climate and position.
The many minerals and vitamins that constitute the Dead Sea are enhanced by its position far below sea level, as well as the constant action of solar radiation to drive the harmful sodium deep beneath surface and into inactivity, leaving the crucial elements at the top with their healing abilities.
A Salty Fountain of Youth?
The temperature of the water itself is similar to a very hot summer day – about a hundred degrees Fahrenheit – which makes for an incredibly soothing and exfoliating bath.
This makes it easy to see why so many skin doctors recommend the trip to the Dead Sea, or at least suggest patients try products with ingredients originating in the region.
It gets even warmer; approaching the boiling point of water at the fault lines where the water is several hundred meters deep, and the pressure there further liberates the skin and helps blood circulate.
Many people who have been fortunate enough to visit and bask in the mud and minerals of the Dead Sea.
They have reported not only the physical benefits it confers – such as prevention of acne, soothing of psoriasis, skin diseases and other skin problems – but also the psychological benefits.
There have even been reports of blood glucose levels dropping in diabetics, after a short immersion in the waters. a full-body mud mask allows the minerals to seep deep into the skin and confer more benefits long after you’ve left the water. The oxygen-rich atmosphere is also very calming.
The very high concentration of salts and minerals prevents you from drowning.
This buoyancy characteristic gives you a wonderful feeling of weightlessness and floating, even as the magnesium salts, bromine and others inundate your body with anti-allergic properties, and the iodine enhances the functions of your glands.
Since there is no marine life in the Dead Sea – none can exist there – all the organic compounds that enrich the clay sediments come from the Jordanian rivers that seep into the closed basin.
Plant life, animal and algae leave behind unique compounds of medicinal value, which becomes concentrated as the water itself evaporates due to sunlight. Ailments as varied as rheumatoid arthritis and even paralysis have been assuaged by a dip in the sea and surrounding resort pools (the water is brought in).
If you take a trip there, one of the first things you’ll notice is how much easier you’re breathing. The oxygen content in the air is considerably higher than other places on Earth; this is due to the increased atmospheric pressure, which in turn makes the air denser.
A relative lack of UV rays also means you can stay out in the sun for extended periods. Although there are natural products recommended by Dermatologists that can help with some of these problems, they all agree that nothing beats the uniqueness of the real thing – although some come close to mimicking the effects. For those looking for a healing experience of a lifetime, skin doctors recommend the trip to the Dead Sea.
4 Dead Sea Facts
- The Dead Sea acts as a natural source of black asphalt. Flowing constantly up from the deep, this plentiful and seemingly unending source of the bituminous limestone was responsible for conflicts in the past, when the Egyptians sought it out and the Babylonians wanted it.
- Don’t be surprised to find many people and institutions in the region. There are health treatment facilities set up to take advantage of the atmospheric sterility and lack of UV rays in the region. The hyper-salinity (almost nine times saltier than the ocean) of the Dead Sea makes it impossible for sea-life to exist, and minimizes even microscopic life. The depth below sea level also limits UV radiation.
- The Dead Sea is almost football fields deep – 377 meters to be more exact. When you combine the this depth beneath the surface with the fact that the surface itself, as well as the surrounding shores, are 423 meters below sea level, the Salt Sea is Earth’s lowest point on land. It’s also 42 miles long, and 11 miles span the widest shores.
- The 34% salinity is comparable to other lakes in Djibouti and Antarctica, making these the saltiest lakes on the planet. Because of this incredible concentration, the Dead Sea is buoyant and allows humans to float and enjoy its soothing effects.
Rounding Out the Effects of Dead Sea Water
Many dermatologists recommend using the natural elements and minerals of the Dead Sea for their therapeutic effects with respect to skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis and other forms of dermatitis.
This inflammation, along with premature and excessive drying, can also lead to early aging. Dead Sea water and products provide hydroxyl acids that help skin produce hyaluronic acid; this ultimately repels that aging look and smoothes out wrinkles to give the skin a livelier, fresh appearance.
Natural products containing Dead Sea water and that specific mineral combination have a tendency to leave the skin glowing and refreshed; more-so than anything that was used before.
Since the ratio of elements is unique to the region, it’s no surprise that lotions, soaps and shampoos with a certifiable Dead Sea contribution has such positive effects for acne, liver spots, and any skin disease associated with inflammation.
Dead Sea Mud – A Natural Healing Balm?
Dead Sea mud is sold in high-end stores, and although it doesn’t compare to the experience of an actual visit to the Dead Sea, the boutique-sold products confer comparable physical health benefits to being in the Mediterranean and enjoying the real thing.
The effectiveness of these all-natural products has even convinced many users to take the doctor-recommended trip to Judea and experience both the physical effects, and the psychological effects of floating in a warm, healing bath.
Lastly, don’t forget the mineral-rich, extra-oxygenated air for a calming, soothing breathing experience.
For the water, itself, there are lifeguards on duty for people who ignore the warnings against trying to submerge or dive into the Dead Sea.
The water is 8-9 times saltier than the ocean, and can be a shock if you take a mouthful. It’s impossible to sink unless you’re really trying to submerge, however.