For millennia, human beings have traveled vast distances to partake of waters that have been rumored to heal and relax. Throughout the world there are spas and vacation sites set up around mineral springs that are rumored to provide health benefits. The strange thing about the Dead Sea is that the entire area, from the air to the waters, has unique characteristics that travelers will not find elsewhere. Whether you are looking to relax away your daily tension or looking to soothe your ailments a Dead Sea spa could be what the doctor ordered.
The beneficial nature of the Dead Sea has been known for centuries. King David used the Dead Sea as a place of refuge. Herod the Great used the area as his personal health resort. Egyptians used potash made from the minerals available at the Dead Sea for mummification purposes and Cleopatra is rumored to have swum in the waters and used the mud on her skin.
The way the Dead Sea was formed is a geological miracle. At one time, it is believed, waters from the Mediterranean flowed into the area and what is now the Dead Sea was actually a narrow crooked bay. Then, as the mountains slowly rose, the area became landlocked. Now, only the Jordan River feeds directly into the Dead Sea (along with many small underground springs). The water becomes landlocked and evaporates leaving behind the rich salts and minerals that make the entire environment around the Dead Sea so amazing.
That's not all. The Dead Sea is also the lowest point on the planet. Because of the minerals evaporating in the air and the barometric pressure in the area the atmosphere around the Dead Sea is unlike any place else on earth. That means just breathing the air at one of the Dead Sea spas located in Israel or Jordan can be beneficial. The increased barometric pressure also seem to benefit people with breathing problems such as cystic fibrosis.
Due to the unique properties of the atmosphere, fewer harmful UV rays get through, so those interested in sunbathing don't have to be as concerned about the harmful effects of the sun. At the same time, the Dead Sea offers visitors sunny skies and warm temperatures year round. The air around the Dead Sea is low in pollen and other allergens, providing those who suffer from allergies relief.
In scientific terms, the waters of the Dead Sea are a natural wonder. Most of the salt water oceans of the world are comprised of 97% sodium chloride. The Dead Sea, on the other hand, is comprised of 14.4% calcium chloride, 4.4% potassium chloride, 50.8% magnesium chloride and 30.4% sodium chloride. The Dead Sea also has a low concentration of sulfate ions and has the highest concentration of bromide ions of any body of water on Earth. All of that means it is believed that the waters of the Dead Sea are overflowing with minerals claimed to have therapeutic value.
The most basic thing a Dead Sea spa will provide you is a place to float on the waters. Yes, you read that correctly, float. A person does not really swim in the way you may think of it, since the salt and mineral content is so high you float rather than swim. The water is so rich with salt and minerals that it has a unique silky quality as it washes over you. The waters of the Dead Sea have been shown to provide benefits to those who suffer with the skin condition known as psoriasis.
Another byproduct of the Dead Sea is the mud which forms near the shoreline. The mud has a high salt content, as well as a high sulfur content which many find help cleanse and purify the skin. There have also been reports of the mud providing some relief for those suffering from stiffness in the joints, especially when it is heated, which helps increase absorption of the minerals.
These days, there are concerns about the fact that the Dead Sea is getting smaller and lower every year and it seems possible that within 50 it could be gone, making now is the time to visit.