The Dead Sea in Israel has attracted people for centuries due to its magical healing properties. Thousands of skin disease suffers, especially those with psoriasis, have found improvement in their condition after soaking in its mineral laden water and sunning in the area’s special filtered UV light. Traveling to the Dead Sea may be out of your budget but there is evidence that soaking in baths containing salts from the Dead Sea improves psoriasis conditions and even provides periods of remission.
The Dead Sea is a saline lake that is 10 times saltier than other bodies of water. The lake also contains high levels of minerals such as bromide, magnesium, and potassium. Exposure to UV sun light is unique at the Dead Sea due to its location 1200 feet below sea level. Atmospheric filtering causes the UVB light to be less intense reducing the rays that cause burning. High levels of bromine in the air also contribute to a feeling of well-being.
In Israel, a study was performed by Dr. J. Arndt, on 50 patients between the ages of 14 and 77 years old. The patients took 3 to 4 baths a week, lasting for 20 minutes, in a 10% salt solution. Afterwards, their skin was thoroughly rinsed with running water. The patients had steady improvement starting in the first week with decrease of itching, scaling, joint complaints and difficulty falling asleep at night. Healing occurred in 27 patients and notable improvement in 22 others.
Here in the U.S. in Chicago, the Mavena Derma Center has attempted to duplicate conditions found at the Dead Sea. They are the only U.S. spa that offers what is termed balneo-phototherapy, which are controlled Dead Sea salt baths and narrow band UV light treatments. The center is run by a dermatologist, Dr. Jeffrey Altman, along with a medical staff who provides educational programs and stress counseling. Some insurance plans may provide reimbursement for treatments.
Dead Sea salts can be also purchased on line to try in your own bath but do your research to choose a product that is of high quality. At the Mavena clinic in Chicago they only use Dead Sea salt produced by Mavena, a Swiss based company. Another Dead Sea salt seller, Cleopatra’s Choice, advertises they give a “Certificate of Authenticity” with each salt purchase.
Dead Sea salt treatments are a natural alternative therapy that treats psoriasis or other skin inflammatory conditions such as eczema. There is good evidence that the salts can offer some relief and the risk of harm is very low. Just keep in mind that results will not be permanent and treatments will need to be repeated.
It is unclear if Dead Sea baths alone can really improve psoriasis. It seems more so that a combination of salt, sun and stress relief is really what helps treat this difficult skin condition.
Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele are at www.helium.com/users/487540/show_articles