The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea, without sounding too clichéd, is an absolute oasis and somewhat of a scientific marvel. The Dead Sea lies between Jordan, Israel and Palestine. It’s used as a frequent weekend getaway for locals. It’s even become a location for Arab health researchers due to its unique chemistry and geological features. And, if you’re in the region, it’s definitely worth a visit.

It is a salt lake that lies 1,407 feet below sea level. Because of the higher atmospheric pressure, due to the unique geology, the air has a slightly higher oxygen content compared to oxygen density you’d find at sea level. All of that science nerd talk basically means that there is fresher and just more air down at the Dead Sea. It’s somewhat of the natural equivalent of going to a tacky oxygen bar at the Vegas Strip. The minute you hit the Dead Sea, roll down your windows. Your brain will thank you.

At the Dead Sea, all you’re really expected to do is bob. When you slowly walk into the Dead Sea, it defies any sort of expectation. You want it to feel like walking into a giant pool of Jell-O or something similarly viscous. Instead, you develop the physics of an ocean buoy or a weeble-wobble. You bob around, utterly unable to sink. If you try to push yourself in, you’ll find that you’ll pop up higher. It’s both alarming and incredibly satisfying.

\"ISRAEL-ENVIRONMENT-DEADWhilst bobbing, you can also exfoliate. Because of the high salinity and mineral content, the mud at the bottom has all sorts of therapeutic benefits. Israeli researchers suggest that Dead Sea mud compresses can help with Osteoarthritis. Studies at the Dead Sea Research Center have found that the mud is useful for treating all sorts of skin conditions. This could range from acne, psoriasis and vitiligo. The rich mineral content accelerates natural exfoliation and circulation. That’s why you’re slightly red after you wash it off. (DO THIS IN NORMAL WATER. You do not want to stick your face in the Dead Sea.) And, above all, you get to take excellent photos for Instagram covered in forest green mud, lookin’ like the creature from the Black Lagoon. Plus, people are totally cool with bringing empty Tupperware containers and baggies for you to take the mud home. It’s a great souvenir!

So, when you’re down there, bobbing along and caked in green mud, just know that you’re following a great and ancient tradition of exfoliation and revitalization.

The Dead Sea has been a mainstay since biblical times. If you’re driving from Amman, you can see a giant billboard advertising where Jesus was baptized. There are references to the Dead Sea in the Book of Ezekiel, and lands just north of the Dead Sea are referenced in the Book of Genesis. Aristotle also wrote about the Dead Sea, and it’s rumored that Cleopatra would do Dead Sea face masks.

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