Does Water from the Dead Sea Heal Aching Joints?

Published: October 22, 2012
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Researchers in Israel found that soaking in water from the Dead Sea relieved the pain of knee osteoarthritis more effectively than simply soaking in a Jacuzzi filled with tap water. What's the secret?

The researchers studied 44 people with knee osteoarthritis, dividing them into two groups. For six weeks, one group soaked twice a week in a pool filled with water from the mineral-rich Dead Sea, and the other soaked in a Jacuzzi filled with tap water. For six months after the therapy, the Dead Sea group had a significant decrease in pain and stiffness. The Jacuzzi group enjoyed the same benefits — but for only one month!

My guess is that the incredible buoyancy of the Dead Sea water — it's so rich in minerals that rather than sink, you can effortlessly float — is responsible for the long-term pain relief.

Here's an even lower-cost tip:

A hot bath that I recommend to soothe the general muscle aches and pains of CFS/FMS uses two cups of Epsom salts in a tub of hot water. Simply fill the tub with hot water and add the Epsom salts. Soak for 20 to 30 minutes. It's easy, and you can feel the pain flow right out of your muscles. Then climb into your cozy bed with a cozy wool liner, which another study showed to be far more effective than pain medications in fibromyalgia. You'll be amazed at how the pain goes away!

A Final Note on Detox Baths

I have talked about the use of a sauna for detox, but people often ask about other detox methods. A hot mineral bath will help clear out toxins as well. Here is the recipe.

To a tub of hot water, add:

  • Epsom salts (2 cups )
  • Baking soda (1 cup)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (1/3 cup)

You will sweat in the tub and lose toxins (which causes you to lose some water as well), so it is important to drink plenty of water while you soak. (You can make fresh lemon juice and mix it with water, or you can drink plain water — but it is essential to drink while you take the bath.) If you have a tendency to become lightheaded easily, be cautious when getting out of the tub, or have someone nearby the first time you take the bath. After getting out of the tub, rinse off the salts by taking a shower with a temperature that's lukewarm to cool. (If you don't, you may itch afterwards.) Rest for 30 minutes after the bath.

References

"Intermittent Balneotherapy at the Dead Sea Area for Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis," Sherman G, Zeller L, Avriel A, Friger M, Harari M, Sukenik S, Israeli Medical Association Journal, February 2009, Vol 12, 88-93.

"A New Nonpharmacological Method in Fibromyalgia: The Use of Wool." Emine Kara Kiyak. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. April 2009, 15(4): 399-405.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of four research studies on their treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome From Fatigued to Fantastic! and his newer The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution.  Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health. 

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