Alive at Dead Sea

Alive at Dead Sea

The Dead Sea in Israel is a powerhouse of wellness, writes Khursheed Dinshaw

Dead Sea

I felt like I was in a cocoon of tranquillity. An overall soothing feeling wrapped me and even though I was surrounded by people, I couldn’t hear them. I felt solely connected to the sea. That is the magic of floating in the Dead Sea in Israel. It is the earth’s lowest point.

From a distance, the sand was brown and as I started approaching the water, it got interspersed with white sand. The temperature on the periphery was cold and the salt was quite crusty and hard here. As I walked inside the sea, the salt got soft and resembled edible salt in texture. The water got warmer.

You can float or walk in the water which has an oily texture since it contains numerous minerals. There are a number of hotels located within walking distance from the Dead Sea. Most of them have their own designated areas where beach chairs, sun decks and cabanas have been set up for guests to soak in the wellness vibe of the sea. Bath robes and towels are provided by these hotels and there is a facility for open air showers near the sea. It is recommended to take a shower every 20 minutes as the sea water is extremely saline. Dead Sea water is more saline than ocean water.

Chunky Dead Sea mud
Chunky Dead Sea mud

It’s mined

After this surreal experience, I was curious to learn about the wellness products which are made using Dead Sea mud, salt, plants and water. And so I headed to the Ahava Products Visitor Centre for a tour. Ahava is licensed to mine mud and salt from the Dead Sea in Israel.

The tour started with the decommissioned mineral salt hooper which had filled 284,770 salt bags. It was replaced in 1992 by semi-automatic filling machines. I learnt that there is a seaweed that grows in the sea which helps in skin exfoliation while the culture sourced from the Apple of Sodom tree has an anti-wrinkle effect. It took five years of research to perfect the culture. As I walked around, I saw the multi-layered mud that is mined in chunks from the northern side of the Dead Sea. Its inner layers were grey in colour while the outer layer was brown in colour.

This mud, which contains numerous minerals, is mined every few months and stored in containers. It is then filtered and Dead Sea water is added to it. The minerals in the mud are easily absorbed by the skin. By improving blood circulation, the mud nourishes the skin leaving it soft and smooth. It also treats skin conditions. The visitor centre also offers Dead Sea bath salts which are ten times more concentrated than other sea salts and contain over 40 minerals.

Containers where Dead Sea mud is stored
Containers where Dead Sea mud is stored

Minerals galore

Some of these minerals include calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc. These bath salts are recommended for reducing skin problems and relieving pain caused by rheumatism. They also reduce swelling in feet and stiff muscles. Natural Dead Sea salt can be sprinkled on food for added flavour. In Israel, this rich salt comes in a variety of flavours. You can choose from hot chilli pepper, garlic and ginger, orange and chilli, mint and sun-dried tomato, organic dill, organic rosemary and one which even has merlot wine in the salt. The golden Dead Sea salt comes with edible gold colour while more unusual ingredients with the salt include truffle, seaweed and black carbon.

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