Not many things can compare to a spa experience in Israel. You’ll know it as soon as you rise relaxed and rejuvenated from your hot-stone treatment or aromatherapy massage, or float away refreshed with inner peace after an Ayurveda treatment. You’ll realize it as you luxuriate in your wooden hot-tub, gazing out at the green expanses of Galilee, or from a pool full of healing mineral water, viewing a serene, minimalist desertscape. You’ll find out that the same thing that makes Israel uniquely great––variety and originality––also bestow its great spa experiences. And perhaps best of all: Israel is home to the greatest natural spa on the planet: the Dead Sea, where life’s basic elements––earth, air, sunshine and water, come together in healing harmony.
Israel’s multiculturalism and its alternative-healing specialists’ curiosity for the best that other cultures have to offer make an amazing array of treatments possible. Massages and baths with a selection of aromatic oils from all over the world are only the beginning. Some spas offer Malaysian massage with bamboo sticks to bid tension goodbye. The hot-stone massage originates in Native American and Asian cultures, where rocks are known to have both healing and spiritual significance, From India, a favorite destination for Israeli twenty-something young people exploring the world (and increasingly, their parents, too!) comes Ayurveda. This is a school of treatment whose results will reveal to you why the word means “wisdom for living.” And the selection goes on and on––treatments from Hawaii, China, and more––depending on the specialties of the highly trained teams at your service at each spa.
You’ll discover that the Dead Sea is actually alive––with possibilities for healing and rejuvenation. With some 21 different minerals, this unique body of water features the highest and most varied mineral content of any body of water on earth. These minerals, including magnesium, potassium calcium and zinc, are famed for nourishing skin and hair, treating psoriasis and easing joint pain. At some 1,300 feet below sea level––the lowest place on earth––even the air is special: It’s oxygen-rich and full of microscopic droplets of soothing bromide to revitalize body and soul. And you only think you know what a mud-pack can do until you’ve experienced a Dead Sea mud treatment, where the minerals draw the toxins, the fatigue and the tensions out of you like magic.
The Dead Sea’s many luxury hotels combine quality accommodations with a variety of spa packages. So do spa destinations elsewhere in Israel, like the Carmel Forest Resort which, in addition to its rich array of spa treatments, offers a holistic experience including workshops in meditation and other wellness pursuits in gorgeous natural surroundings, or Mitzpeh Hayamim where the Galilee air seems perfumed with aromatic herbs. There are also a number of small, specialty spas like Kibbutz Lotan’s Watsu (water massage) therapy center in the Arava near Eilat, where, like other desert spas, the air is warm and inviting year-round and charming bed-and-breakfast accommodations are never far away.
North of Dead Sea, where the Jordan Valley meets the Sea of Galilee in Tiberias, the earth continues to bless spa-lovers with its healing bounty. The warm mineral springs that emerge here from the depths of the earth, famous since Roman times, are still a magnet for visitors from all over the world. The spa here makes a wonderful place to take a break while touring the scenic north.
Because of the beautiful surroundings of all of Israel’s spas, you can combine your spa time with other experiences that remind you of the essential pleasures of life and travel. Enjoy a relaxing stroll through the gardens at Mitzpeh Hayamim overlooking the emerald Hulah Valley in the north, along wooded walks at the Carmel Forest Resort or the shore of the Sea of Galilee or the Dead Sea. Active pursuits are all within minutes of your spa experience, too: hiking, cycling, rappelling and other challenging sports await in spectacular landscapes, as do exploring historical sites. Wherever you chose to pamper yourself––beginning, ending or interspersing your Israel visit with a spa experience is an unforgettable retreat, and treat, for body and soul.