Category Archives: Skin Conditions
Is there a connection between the Dead Sea and the treatment of skin conditions such as psoriasis? If you search the internet you will find a multitude of sites that claim that salt and mud from the Dead Sea can be used to cure anything from arthritis to Psoriasis and even certain kinds of cancers that affect the skin. But before we get into the validity of these claims, it may be helpful to understand just what the Dead Sea is and how it has developed such a reputation.
A Short History of the Dead Sea
Located geographically between Jordan, Israel and the West Bank the Dead Sea (also known as the “Salt Sea” or “Sea of Salt”) is a salt lake located 1,388 feet below sea level making it the lowest (dry land) elevation on the planet.
With a salinity of 33.7%, (or 8.6 times saltier than the ocean) the Dead Sea and its surrounding areas harbor an incredibly harsh environment that is not conducive to plant or animal life. This is the main reasons that it is known as the “Dead” Sea.
Both Hebrew and Islamic traditions make a claim that what is now the Dead Sea was once a fruitful plain that was home to flourishing cities which were destroyed (in the Hebrew by fire from Heaven; in Islam by the angel Jibrail flipping the wicked town upside down and smashing it back to earth, causing the earth to cave in and create this low and lifeless area).
But regardless of the supposed origins of this inhospitable area, the fact remains that the Dead Sea has attracted people from the Mediterranean area for millennia. From a refuge for the biblical King David to health resorts set up by Herod the Great to a supplier of balms used in Egyptian mummification, the Dead Sea has developed a reputation as a place where certain things – and treatments – can be had that cannot be found anywhere else.
Health Benefits of the Dead Sea
Legends and myths aside, the Dead Sea has become a major center of medical research for a variety of skin and respiratory conditions such as cystic fibrosis and psoriasis. First, the mineral content of the water is astronomically high, but it is not just the water; due to the lack of plant and animal life pollens and other allergens are lower here than nearly anywhere else on the planet.
In addition to the water and the air is the fact that due to its low altitude there is a higher atmospheric pressure (which seems to affect certain diseases positively). And if that is not enough, there is also the reduced ultraviolet exposure which allows those suffering from skin conditions such as psoriasis to stay in the sun for longer periods of time. Take all of these considerations together and you can see why there are legitimate claims to the Dead Sea being therapeutic for a number of conditions.