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By Donna Yuen
For Travel Writers' Tales

After a week of the towering red rocks of Petra followed by the drifting desert sand of Wadi Rum, Jordan has left my skin dusty and parched. The Movenpick Resort and Spa Dead Sea is like an awaiting oasis-one that I'm eagerly looking forward to. My chafed skin desperately needs some help and I am dragging along a nagging cough from a recent cold.

I change into my bikini, and decide that the inviting pool can wait as my skin needs some Dead Sea therapy immediately. Buckets of wet mud sit waiting for someone to dip their hand into the concoction. I apply the cold muck to my skin and stand in the sunshine waiting for it to dry.

I am told that the mud draws toxins and impurities from the skin in addition to acting as an exfoliant. While I am pleased with the potential therapeutic benefits, I am simply enjoying spreading the mud all over my skin. I feel like a child who's just been given permission to play in the dirt and I am ecstatic. Finally I enter the water; it takes me, slowly on its surface, back and forth.... just leisurely floating.

The curative mineral contents of the water, attracts visitors from all over the world. They flock here to seek help for dermatological problems such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and vitiligo-this last being a condition which results in white spots on the skin.

The air here is unique too. In addition to being rich in oxygen, magnesium and calcium, the atmosphere's bromine content offers respite from high blood pressure, chronic bronchitis, and related breathing disorders. Exposure to the sun is not as risky as usual, as the evaporation from the sea acts as a filter, blocking damaging UVB rays but allowing less harmful long UVA rays to come through.

Back in my room, I find a welcoming message from the Zara Spa setting up my appointments for the following day. Starting with an early morning swim in the Spa's infinity pool, I then move on to the hydro pool, reveling in the sensation of water pounding on my aching shoulders. There is a selection of five pools at the spa and I am eager to try them all.

The morning passes quickly and I make my way to the sauna. In no time at all I'm lost in a trance-like state and when the massage therapist calls my name, it sounds like an echo in the far distance. However, I'm now ready for my massage. I lay on the treatment table in a dimly lit room; the practitioner enters, introduces himself and begins to apply a lather of warm mud to my skin, massaging my muscles as he does so. He finishes this procedure and then wraps my mud-covered body in plastic sheets and warm towels. He informs me that he will return in 40 minutes. "Meanwhile, just relax and….just enjoy!"

I close my eyes, relishing the feeling of being wrapped in warm mud. New Age instrumental music resonates in the background, as golden light flickers from the many candles in the room. After reaching a meditative and relaxed state, I open my eyes and watch as the dark wicks grow on the candles. As the wax slowly melts and the candles are diminished to nothing, I know my luxurious spa day is also nearing its end.

After five days of pampering and floating in the Dead Sea, it is time to prepare myself for the long journey home. My tortured skin now feels soft and supple and some time during the past few days, my aching joints and nagging cough have disappeared. It seems that there is something special about the air, water, mud and sun at the Dead Sea because I am returning home with a rejuvenated body and a refreshed spirit. I smile, dragging my heavy suitcase from the trunk of the car, knowing that it is filled with salt and mud from the Dead Sea. I am thrilled to be going home with my own organic spa treatment from Jordan least until I can return again.

If You Go:

Royal Jordanian offers exceptional service and direct flights to Amman from Toronto. The Movenpick Resort and Spa Dead Sea is a luxurious and serene haven boasting lush gardens and tranquil fountains. Indulge in the luxury of the award winning Zara Spa where a dermatologist is available for consultation and Dead Sea treatments include a myriad of packages for all skin types.

Photos by Donna Yuen

1. The Treasury, Petra
2. Movenpick Infinity Pool
3. Floating in the Dead Sea
4. Salon at Zara Spa
5. Zara Spa Infinity Pool

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