Updated: Dec 17, 2022
We all know that people flock from the world over to Egypt to see the Pyramids, explore ancient temples and tombs and even swim in some of the best beaches in the world. But did you know that thousands of people come yearly for what’s known as therapeutic tourism?
Yup, found in Egypt’s remote deserts and thriving coasts are a host of natural treatments and therapy for a huge range of ailments, whether physical or psychological. The climate alone in various places in Egypt can help certain conditions more than modern medicine can, to the extent that people have been moving to Egypt for this purpose alone for more than a century.
If you have something ailing you and want to try your hand at natural healing, Egypt shines when it comes to the following kinds of natural therapy.
1. Black Sand Treatment in Safaga
Treats: acute and chronic arthritis, skin inflammation and psoriasis, joint edema and joint effusion
Safaga, a small coastal town on Egypt’s mainland Red Sea Riviera, is quickly skyrocketing in popularity when it comes to natural and climatic therapy. Their black sand beaches were found to have three non-toxic, low-dose radioactive elements that were proven effective in rheumatoid and joint therapy; uranium, thorium, and potassium. The sand is also rich in other healing salts and minerals, including gold salt.
2. Hot Mineral Springs in Siwa and Sinai
Treats: chronic digestive diseases, gout, diabetes, rheumatism, high blood pressure, skin conditions and arthritis
Egypt is home to over 1,300 natural springs, but the ones making a name for themselves when it comes to natural therapy are Siwa’s hot mineral springs in the Western Desert and Ayoun Moussa, Hammam Moussa and Hammam Pharaon in Sinai. Balneology (treatment of diseases by bathing in water full of minerals) isn’t a proven science but studies have found it to lead to measurable improvements in a host of different ailments.
3. Mud Baths in Wadi Assal
Treats: arthritis, joint pain, inflammatory skin conditions, muscular pain
Found in Ras Sudr on the Sinai peninsula, Wadi Assal is a natural hot spring known for its mineral-rich mud. Locals cover themselves in the mud from the spring (known for its anti-inflammatory properties), then soak in the hot spring for at least 20 to 30 minutes afterwards, with the water’s temperature reaching above 50 degrees celsius.
4. Red Sea Thalassotherapy
Treats: back and muscular pain, arthritis, psoriasis, eczema, hypertension, asthma, bronchitis and some people even say weight loss and cellulite
Thalassotherapy is the use of seawater for treatment of medical issues; and not just the seawater itself, but also sea mud, seaweed, sand and any other natural, pure material that comes from the sea. It’s extremely popular in the Dead Sea and has started to rise in popularity on Egypt’s Red Sea coast, with luxury hotels like Cascades in Soma Bay offering a wide range of thalasso-spa treatments.
5. Hot Sand Baths in Aswan and Siwa
Treats: rheumatism, arthritis, joint pain, infertility and impotence
What may sound like torture to some people is actually treatment of choice for others. During summer, with soaring temperatures, people in search of all sorts of pain relief (and even infertility) do 3 to 5 days of hot sand baths and therapy led by experienced health workers in Siwa and Aswan. Patients are buried neck-deep in hot sand for 10 to 15 minutes, followed by warm drinks and rest in a tent. No cold showers, cold drinks or AC are allowed throughout the 3-5 days.
6. Kemetic Yoga in Luxor
Treats: stress, low energy levels, sluggish circulation and increases strength, mobility, flexibility and clarity of mind
While technically kemetic yoga can be done anywhere, regular practitioners of kemetic yoga swear by the elevated spiritual experience of practicing it near the Ancient Egyptian temples and ancient holy grounds of Luxor (formerly Thebes), and its positive effects on both the body and the mind. Kemetic yoga is the Ancient Egyptian system of movement, breathing and meditation as depicted by the ancient art that’s still found today on the walls of Egypt’s most famous tombs and temples. Kemet is the Ancient Egyptian word for ‘Egypt’, which translates to ‘the Black Land’.
7. Climatic and Herbal Treatments in Nubia
Treats: respiratory diseases, rheumatism, digestive issues, kidney problems, renal problems
Nubia in southern Egypt is known for the healing properties of its weather -- the dry air, year-round sunshine and clean air have been pulling in patients with respiratory problems and rheumatism from damper climates for over a century now. Add to that the herbal treatments that have been passed down generation to generation in Nubian families, and you have the perfect spot for those looking for natural cures. Different local herbs used and prepared by Nubians include halfa burr, which is a natural medication for the common cold and flu, hargal for stomach and digestive problems, and dammsesa for kidney issues.