Many people have ‘Floating in the dead sea’ on their bucket lists. Besides the fact that one can just naturally float in this body of water, the water itself has healing properties… as does the mud.
The Dead Sea is nestle on the border between Jordan to the east and Israel to the west. It has a super high concentrate of salt – around 9 times as much as the ocean! The Dead Sea is the lowest point (306 meters below sea level) and is fed by numerous rivers. As the water flows into this land-locked sea it has nowhere to go, and slowly evaporates. Leaving the mineral-rich Dead Sea behind – with 8 times more minerals than seawater. The water of the Dead Sea has chloride salts of magnesium, sodium, potassium and bromide, amongst others and have attracted icons like King David, King Herod the Great and Cleopatra in the past.
The mud rejuvenates the skin while stimulating blood circulation and cleanses, purifies and restores your skin. It has more than 25 minerals and can help with anything from acne to cellulite and aging. Packets of mud are sold along the beach and many of the hotels in the area provide this as a service to their guests.
A float in the Dead Sea is not an ordinary day spent on the beach. Although there is that too – with a number of beaches to visit in the area. The higher salinity means that you can float with ease- it also makes swimming more difficult. Mix that with the possibility of getting some super salty water in your eye and you have the perfect excuse to be ‘just another lazy floater’ in the Dead Sea.
Here are some pointers for Dead Sea newbies:
- Float with gentle movements instead of swim. It decreases the chances of getting water in your eyes.
- For added eye protection use goggles and put them on before you get into the water.
- Laying on your back is best. Waddle in until you are at least waist deep and just lay back.
- Be careful not to ingest the water. It could be poisonous if too much is taken in. A small amount should be fine- but tastes awful.
- Enjoy a few short soaks. 10-15 minutes is best, after that some of your sensitive areas might start burning.
- Covering yourself in some of the Dead Sea mud before a soak will leave your skin feeling extremely soft. Plus, when was the last time you were allowed to play in the mud?
- Wear some water shoes or flip-flops. The stones and mud can get quite hot and packed with salt-crystals that could cut your feet.
- Avoid entering the water if you have small cuts, the salt will gravely agitate it.
- Give yourself a break from shaving for (at least) 2 days, more if possible, before your trip to the Dead Sea – the salt could cause freshly shaved skin to sting.
- You will be floating in salt water and covering yourself in mud- take an old swimsuit that you don’t mind getting ruined.
- Take a shower afterwards to remove the salt from your body and avoid your skin becoming irritated.
- Women on their menses might find the experience unpleasant so try to plan your trip around your cycle.
A trip to the Dead Sea is like a visit to a spa… in a foreign country… where you can also play in the mud!
*A version of this article first appeared at www.zafigo.com