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The waters of the Dead Sea have been renowned for their therapeutic effects since ancient times. Two thousand years ago, Flavius Josephus wrote that the salts from the Dead Sea heal the human body.
The waters from the Dead Sea are unique in that they contain 27% of various salts as compared to 3% in normal sea water. Further, while sodium accounts for approximately 80% of the salt content of normal sea water, it comprises much less of the salt total in water from the Dead Sea. The balance of the salts in Dead Sea water are magnesium, potassium, calcium chloride, and bromides.
Magnesium is important for both combating stress and fluid retention, slowing skin aging, and calming the nervous system. Calcium is effective at preventing water retention, increasing circulation, and strengthening bones and nails. Potassium energizes the body, helps to balance skin moisture, and is a crucial mineral to replenish following intense exercise. Bromides act to ease muscle stiffness and relax muscles. Sodium is important for the lymphatic fluid balance (this in turn is important for immune system function). So we can see that bathing in high-quality sea salt could replenish the minerals that are critical to our skin metabolism.
Studies have been conducted on the health benefits of bathing in Dead Sea salts. One such study was conducted by Dr. I. Machtey1 on 103 patients suffering from osteoarthritis and tendonitis. Patients were either treated with baths of 7.5%, 2%, or 0.5% Dead Sea salt concentration. Improvement was found after as little as one week of treatment for those treated with 7.5% or 2% salt baths. By the study’s end, 80% of the patients reported less pain, 70% experienced improved mobility, and 60% were able to decrease their use of analgesics.
Dr. J. Arndt2 studied the effect of Dead Sea salt baths on psoriasis. Fifty patients were treated for 3–4 weeks, taking 3–4 baths each week. In as little as one week, many patients treated with a 10% salt concentration in their baths experienced marked improvement. This improvement included relief from itching, sleep disturbances, and skin scaling. Treatment with Dead Sea salts is not associated with any side effects.
– by Amy K. McNulty, Ph.D.
1. Machtey, Dr. I. 1982, “Dead Sea Balneotherapy in Osteoarthritis,” Proc. International Seminar on Treatment of Rheumatic Diseases.
2. Arndt, Dr. J. 1982, “Salt from the Promised Land Helps Psoriasis Patients,” Arztliche Praxis, 34(48).