Egypt's tourist products are now so diverse that it has become a year round destination from many countries. Besides archeological and religious tourism, there are sea resorts, international conferences and exhibitions, incentive travel, art, cultural, sport festival and shopping tourism.
Therapeutic tourism is an obvious outcrop of the tourist product diversification policy. Egypt possesses a wide range of rich physical features, including many hot springs. According to scientific research, clay found in these springs has therapeutic properties that can cure numerous bone, skin, kidney, respiratory diseases and other problems. Also, the Red Sea water with its chemical composition and abundance of coral reefs helps to cure various forms of psoriasis.
Socrates Recommended Therapy in Egypt
The therapeutic property of Egypt's climate has been mentioned since the Greek era. Socrates, the founder of climatic physiotherapy, referred to this fact in his famous papers entitled "Egypt and Climatic Therapy". He advised people to go to Egypt and enjoy its warm weather and refreshing sea breeze. Following his advise, tourists have been coming to Egypt for hundreds of years for cures to ailments often caused by Europe's colder, more humid climate.
Therapeutic Tourist Sites
Aswan, Sand Bathing and Further South
A few days ago, the German expert (Bedouno Sanouni) arrived to Egypt to undertake scientific research. He wanted to measure the "radon" element in some tourist areas, such as Aswan, to decide whether they are proper for curing many diseases such as rheumatism. Dr. Magdi Michael, supervisor of the Isis resort in Aswan, states that since Pharaonic time, Aswan was known for its environmental therapy, as scenes from at the Kom Ombo temple reveal.
Aswan's dry weather is ideal for enjoying sand bathing during the period from May to September. Sand bathing is useful for curing various diseases such as rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis. In Aswan, many hotels have physiotherapy centers manned by efficient and highly trained staff experienced in various types of massage therapy. Moreover, rheumatoid patients can be treated in hot sands surrounding the mountains. The calm and beautiful landscape and pollution free environment also contribute to speedy recovery. Aswan, clear sunshine all the year round together with extremely dry weather provide an ideal atmosphere for curing rheumatism and bronchial asthma.
Further south, Abu Simbel, with its high rate of ultraviolet rays and a low humidity rate during the period from December to March, also provide a congenial environment for treatment of these diseases.
The Nubians in this region still practice traditional medicine, particularly herbal treatments. They use a plant called "Halef al'Bar", in treating common colds, "Damsisa" in treating urinary tracts diseases and baked and ground pomegranate peels in treating dysentery.
New Valley's Curative Springs and Herbs
Another therapeutic tourist center is the New Valley with an abundance of hot springs and sand with curative properties in addition to medicinal herbs. This area also has a typically dry climate. Here, hot water wells and springs linked to swimming pools have a temperature ranging from 35 to 45c all the year round. These wells provide therapy for common colds, rheumatism and some skin diseases such as psoriasis.
In addition, medicinal herbs are randomly spread out all over the New Valley. "Al'Sekran" can be used for extracting anesthetic materials for surgeries. "Jujube" (Karkade) is used to cure high blood pressure, especially when caused by nervous stress.
The Red Sea and Treatment of Psoriasis
Safaga's potential health benefits were recently in the media spotlight when a group of scientists from the National Research Centre (NRC) found that it helps in the treatment of psoriasis (a chronic skin disease of which the cause remains unknown) and rheumatoid arthritis (a chronic, progressive form of arthritis causing inflammation in the joints). According to the NRC research team, there are several natural factors in Safaga which make it so appropriate for therapy. The high mountains act as a natural barrier against wind and sand storms. The air is thus free of any suspended grime that could divert and absorb ultraviolet rays -- essential in treating psoriasis. The curve of the bay accounts for the calm sea, which reflects UV rays further.
Due to the abundance of coral reefs, the water is 35 % saltier than in other seas, which greatly helps in psoriasis treatment. More salt, as evidenced in the Dead Sea, also means less gravity. This is thought to improve blood circulation. The balance in saline concentration inside and outside the body also affects the therapy positively, according to the NRC.
Sand in the area has also been found to contain radioactive elements and minerals effective in rheumatoid therapy. Analysis also showed the soil to contain black sand, which is useful in curing acute and chronic arthritis, rheumatism and skin inflammations.
Those suffering from rheumatoid ailments are buried in the black sand, with the exception of the head, stomach and chest, twice a day, after sunrise and before sunset. Treatment lasts about a month.
Psoriasis patients, on the other hand, bathe in the sea and lie in the sun, also twice a day. The duration of exposure to the sun is prescribed by the therapist and a patient should see rapid improvement in about a month, depending on the case. In acute cases, patients are asked to repeat the course of treatment.
Other Sites for Curing Rheumatism and Renal Diseases
Siwa Oasis enjoys numerous properties that place it at the top of the list of these sites recommended for therapeutic tourism. It is distinguished by a calm, clear environment and mild temperature. By boiling the deep subterranean pollution free mineral water a treatment is available for treating renal stones.
Gabal al Takrour is important for the tourists to Siwa in treating Rheumatism and general weakness by burring the patient in hot sands surrounding the mountain.
Old Helwan and its Sulfuric Springs
The Helwan area just south of Cairo enjoys a unique geographical location and unique water springs of incomparable properties to any mineral water around the world. It has been famous for these springs for many years. Moreover Ain es'Seera natural clay contains natural medicinal components that help cure all kinds of rheumatism. Helwan's all year round warm weather is also suitable for the treatment of numerous diseases.Helwan Sulfuric center for rheumatism and physio therapy was established to provide therapeutically treatment of: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, myositis, neuritis, neuralgia, myopathy, neuropsyctric diseases such as chronic sinusitis, chronic bronchitis and bronchial asthma, skin diseases such as scabies, eczema, acne and psoriasis, bone fracture union, joint stiffness, peripheral circulatory disturbances, and other diseases.
Oyoun Mossa and Hammam Pharaon in Sinai
Oyoun Mossa (Moses springs) and Hammam Pharaon (Pharaoh's bath) are some of the most important sites for therapeutic tourism in the Sinai. This area with its sulfuric properties drew the attention of the early French expeditions. It has the highest rate of sulfuric water known to the world.
In addition, it enjoys dry weather and warm sands. Hammam Pharaon is a group of hot sulfuric water springs extending l km along the Suez Gulf. It is suitable for treatment of rheumatism. On top of these springs, there lies a carved rocky cave that natives use as a hot bathe, created by utilizing the high temperature caused by hot sulfuric water below the cave.
The Oyoun Mossa area comprises twelve springs, situated in the extreme north of the eastern side of the Suez Gulf. Here, visitors are often overwhelmed by a sense of spiritual comfort.
Few people today realize the significance of Egypt's therapeutic past. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Egypt was almost as important to European travelers as a health destination as it was for classical antiquity tours. They still come, and they are still cured of many ailments by Egypt's hot, dry climate and numerous natural hot springs.
Last Updated: August 21st, 2011