Psoriasis Treatment and Information: PsoriasisRX
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Dead Sea
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Dead Sea Psoriasis Treatments

The Dead Sea area has become a major center for health research and psoriasis treatment for several reasons. The mineral content of the waters, the very low content of pollens and other allergens in the atmosphere, the reduced ultraviolet component of solar radiation, and the higher atmospheric pressure at this great depth each have specific health effects. For example persons suffering reduced respiratory function from diseases such as cystic fibrosis, seem to benefit from the increased atmospheric pressure.

Sunlight at the Dead Sea is high in therapeutic UVA rays and low in burning UVB, so extended exposure is safe and low-risk. The filtering effect comes from a thick atmosphere: the Dead Sea is about 1,200 feet below sea level and the ozone layer above it is minimally depleted. The Dead Sea is the only place on Earth where you can sunbathe for extended periods with little or no sunburn because harmful ultraviolet rays are filtered through three natural layers: an extra atmospheric layer, an evaporation layer that exists above the Dead Sea, and a rather thick ozone layer.

Chemistry & health effects

The sea is called "dead" because its high salinity means no fish or macroscopic aquatic organisms can live in it, although bacteria and microbial fungi are present. The salinity of the Dead Sea varies according to depth with the surface water being approximately 15% saline (5 times the average ocean salinity) and water near the bottom being saturated, such that salt precipitates out of solution onto the sea floor. The mineral content of the Dead Sea is significantly different from that of ocean water, consisting of approximately 53% magnesium chloride, 37% potassium chloride and 8% sodium chloride (table salt) with the remainder comprised of various trace elements. Click here for Dead Sea salt treatment.

The concentration of SO4 ions is very low, and the bromine ions concentration is the highest of all waters on Earth. Chlorides neutralize most of the calcium ions in the Dead Sea and its surroundings. While in other seas NaCl is 97%, in the Dead Sea the quantity of the NaCl is only 12-18 percent. The water temperature goes from 19 degrees Celsius in February to 31 degrees Celsius in August.

The water of the Dead Sea contains 21 minerals including magnesium, calcium, bromine and potassium. Twelve of these are found in no other sea or ocean, and some are recognized for imparting a relaxed feeling, nourishing the skin, activating the circulatory system and for easing rheumatic discomfort and metabolic disorders. Comparison between the chemical composition of the Dead Sea to other lakes and oceans show that the salt's concentration in the Dead Sea is 31.5%. Because of its unusually high concentration of salt, anyone can float in the Dead Sea easily because of natural buoyancy.

The Dead Sea is an endorheic lake of saline water (area: ca. 1050 km˛ or 401 sq mi), fed by the Jordan River, surrounded by Jordan, Israel and the West Bank. The Dead Sea is the saltiest and deepest hypersaline lake in the world. The surface of the Dead Sea is the lowest point on the Earth's surface at an elevation of 417 m below sea level (2003 figure).

Since the Dead Sea is lower than its surroundings, the only outflow of water is by evaporation. The water level thus depends on whether the water flowing in balances the evaporative loss.

The Dead Sea is seriously threatened by diversion of water from the Jordan River and smaller tributaries to supply Israel and Jordan, and by an Israeli potash mine that increases evaporation. The water level has been dropping by as much as one meter per year, and the total surface area is now almost 1/3 less than it was 50 years ago. Plans to save the Dead Sea include the possibility of pumping sea water from the Red Sea, but there are many serious difficulties and no agreement has been reached.

History

The sea was originally called Lake Asphaltitis due to the naturally surfacing Asphalt. King David, King Herod, Jesus, and John the Baptist were closely linked with the Dead Sea and its surroundings. The prophets knew it via the infamous Sodom and Gomorra. During the Egyptian conquest it is said that Queen Cleopatra obtained exclusive rights to build cosmetic and pharmaceutical factories in the area. Later on, the wily Nabateans discovered the value of bitumen extracted from the Dead Sea needed by the Egyptians for embalming their mummies. Aristotle wrote about the remarkable waters. In Roman times the Essenes settled in Qumran on the Dead Sea's northern shore as a place of refuge and on the heights of Masada a small group of rebellious Jewish zealots held out against the might of the Roman Legion. The remoteness of the region attracted Greek Orthodox monks since the Byzantine era. Their monasteries such as Saint George in Wadi Kelt and Mar Saba in the Judean Desert are places of pilgrimage. Bedouin tribes have continuously lived in the area and more recently explorers and scientists arrived to analyze the minerals and conduct research into the unique climate. Since the 1960s, tourists from all the over world have also explored the Dead Sea region.

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