Water resources in Oman vary according to the characteristics of the geographical, climatic and geological environment of different governorates. The Sultanate is unique with its water springs and falaj, which were built in the traditional way thousands of years ago, and is famous for its wadis that flow throughout the year. These water resources are considered as an essential pillar in the life of Omanis in different parts of the Sultanate.
Sulfur springs are among the rare water resources in the Sultanate, and their sites are of great importance to the Omanis. Ain Al Hen is one of those sites that attract a number of tourists every day. It is located in the Wilayat of Bidbid, near the border with the Wilayat of Samayil.
To get to know about this site, a local guide is required who has sufficient knowledge of the entrances and exits of Al Hen Village. This ‘sulfur spring’ is hidden between the mountain and steppe rock paths, and can only be seen easily after tracing the source of its flow.
The site's water is characterised by its turquoise colour, which appears to the visitor as if it were frozen water. Locals of this village told the Observer that “people are keen on visiting this unique site and they meet many of them who have come from cities hundreds of kilometres away”.
The goal of their visits is not limited to entertainment and enjoying the beauty of the azure and clear water, but there are many of them who seek healing from some skin and neurological diseases, they added. Many of them also enjoy the ‘Foot Spa’ since there are hundreds of small fish that eat the dead cells on people’s feet.
Scientific reports emphasize that ‘Sulfur Water’ has many benefits as an outdoor shower treatment. “The powerful role of hydrogen sulfide in many biochemical reactions of the body has recently been known, and new data have begun to reveal new therapeutic applications for this water. And hydrogen sulfide gas can be absorbed by several methods, and it is able to penetrate the skin and mucous membrane and thus it can work at the cellular level, whether in the skin or in the internal organs of the body”.
Scientific studies indicate that “sulfur is necessary in the process of forming the insulin hormone. Sulfur also helps treat arthritis. Sulfur is a component of glutathione, and it is one of the most important antioxidants in the body. Sulfur is also important in collagen formation. It is involved in the production of some types of amino acids”.
Although tourists realise the importance of the tourist and medical site, they do not care about the cleanliness of the place after visiting it. “We are tired of organising cleaning-up campaigns for this unique site. Without a doubt we depend on its water in our daily life. Signs have be1en erected to guide tourists to adhere to the cleanliness of the place after visiting, but to no avail”, locals complained.