Research Studies on Dead Sea Salts and the Dead Sea
Many clinical research studies have been carried out to establish the therapeutic properties of Dead Sea
salts. Below are extracts from some of these.
From the Department of Dermatology, University of Kiel, Germany.
Proksch E, Nissen HP, Bremgartner M, Urquhart C
Abstract Magnesium salts, the prevalent minerals in Dead Sea water, are known to exhibit favorable effects
in inflammatory diseases. We examined the efficacy of bathing atopic subjects in a salt rich in magnesium
chloride from deep layers of the Dead Sea. Volunteers with atopic dry skin submerged one forearm for 15
min in a bath solution containing 5% Dead Sea salt. The second arm was submerged in tap water as a
control. Before the study and at weeks 1-6, trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL), skin hydration, skin
roughness, and skin redness were determined. We found one subgroup with a normal and one subgroup
with an elevated TEWL before the study. Bathing in the Dead Sea salt solution significantly improved skin
barrier function compared with the tap water-treated control forearm in the subgroup with elevated basal
TEWL. Skin hydration was enhanced on the forearm treated with the Dead Sea salt in each group, which
means the treatment moisturized the skin. Skin roughness and redness of the skin as a marker for
inflammation were significantly reduced after bathing in the salt solution. This demonstrates that bathing in
the salt solution was well tolerated, improved skin barrier function, enhanced stratum corneum hydration,
and reduced skin roughness and inflammation. We suggest that the favorable effects of bathing in the Dead
Sea salt solution are most likely related to the high magnesium content. Magnesium salts are known to
bind water, influence epidermal proliferation and differentiation, and enhance permeability barrier repair.
Balneotherapy in dermatology.
Dermatology Unit, Kaplan Medical Center, Rechovot, Israel.
Matz H, Orion E, Wolf R.
Balneotherapy and spa therapy emerged as an important treatment modality in the 1800s, first in Europe
and then in the United States. Balneotherapy involves immersion of the patient in mineral water baths or
pools. Today, water therapy is being practiced in many countries. Examples of unique and special places for
balneotherapy are the Dead Sea in Israel, the Kangal hot spring in Turkey, and the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.
Bathing in water with a high salt concentration is safe, effective, and pleasant for healing and recovery. This
approach needs no chemicals or potentially harmful drugs. There are almost no side effects during and
after treatment, and there is a very low risk to the patient's general health and well-being. Mineral waters and
muds are commonly used for the treatment of various dermatologic conditions. The major dermatologic
diseases that are frequently treated by balneotherapy with a high rate of success are psoriasis and atopic
dermatitis. The mechanisms by which broad spectrums of diseases are alleviated by spa therapy have not
been fully elucidated. They probably incorporate chemical, thermal, mechanical, and immunomodulatory
effects. The major importance of balneotherapy and spa therapy both individually and as complements to
other therapies lies in their potential effectiveness after standard medical treatments have failed to give
comfort to these patients.
Dead Sea Balneotherapy in Osteoarthritis
Hasharon Hospital, Petach, Isreal
Dr. I. Machtey
Dr. I. Machtey studied the influences of Dead Sea Bath Salts on rheumatic patients uffering from
osteoarthritis or a localized type of tendiritis. 103 patients were treated forone or two weeks with daily Dead
Sea Bath. The patients were randomly assigned to one of three types of baths (three sub groups):
1. Bath treatment with a Dead Sea salt concentration of 7.50%
2. Baths with a 2% salt concentration.
3. Baths with a 0.50% salt concentration.
One week of proper treatment: resulted in impressive improvement in all parameters in patients receiving
7.5% and 2% bath salt concentration, but little or no improvement was noted in those treated with 0.5% salt
concentrations. The greater the physical limitations, the more pronounced was the improvement. Sixty-six
patients received two weeks treatment. An additional, slight improvement was noted in patients treated with
7.5%. or 2% salt concentration, and those having only 0.5% salt baths improved relatively more as
compared with the results after the first week of treatment. However most of the results in the 0.5% group
were less impressive than those in the higher concentrations. Over 80% of all the patients reported having
less pain, 70% said their mobility improved, and about 60% were able to decrease their use of analgesics.
Dr. Machtey concludes his study by stating that ?There is little doubt that the Dead Sea treatment in those
who benefit from it can be extended and repeated at home using a 2% bath solution, which is both
economical and readily available?.
On The Therapy of Rheumatic Illness with Medical Bathing Salts from the Dead Sea
Sanatorium clinic in the City of Mayenbad, Germany
Dr. P. Engel
The study was performed with 60 patients whose rheumatic discomfort could not be substantially reduced
by the customary balneotherapy of their clinic. The baths with Dead Sea Salts were then prescribed in lieu of
additional medicinal therapy. Each patient was treated for a duration of 4 weeks, with three baths per week.
Salt concentration was 2.5%, duration of bath 20 minutes, temperature of water 37 °C. Parameters
examined included: Pain at rest, spontaneous pain, kinesalgia, pain on pressure and reduced mobility.
A summary of the results shows that in 76.2% of the cases, very good therapeutic results were obtained,
10.2% responded moderately well and only 13.6% no success was noted.
Salts From The Promised Land Helps Psoriasis Patients
Dr. J. Arndt
This was a study of the effect of Dead Sea Bath Salts on patients suffering from psoriasis. Fifty patients,
aged between 14 and 77 years were treated with the salts in a controlled way. Treatment consisted of partial
or total baths. For a total bath, 2 kgs (4.5lbs) of the salts were dissolved in a bath at a temperature of 27°C.
The partial baths were made with a concentration of about 10%. The baths lasted for 20 minutes and
afterwards the skin was thoroughly rinsed with running water. The effect is enhanced when the patient
remains in a warm packed condition for one hour after the bath. The treatment lasted for 3 weeks, with 3-4
baths per week. The results show that most symptoms of the illness diminished within one week of
treatment, notably itch, scaling joint complaints, and the falling asleep and sleep through difficulties. Other
parameters such as spread, redness and infiltration decreased somewhat more slowly. Improvement was
steady - the four week treatment left the patients essentially free from complaints. Dr. Arndt points out that of
particular importance from the patient's point of view is the rapid relief from such irritating a symptom as
itching. There is a corresponding relief from sleeping disturbances, which were rather wide-spread prior to
treatment. The drastic decrease in scaling within one week can be interpreted by physician and patient alike
as a further proof of the course outlined above: Healing was total in 27 patients (54%), whereas in 22 cases
there was a marked impressive improvement. Tolerance was excellent in all 50 cases. There were no side
effects whatsoever, dermatological or otherwise.
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