Breathe in the Benefits: Salt Therapy Cures
Discussions about salt from a health perspective usually revolve around the fact that Americans tend too consume too much of it. But one form of therapy actually recommends getting more salt in — into your lungs, that is. Salt therapy, or halotherapy, is the act of breathing in salt particles as a means of healing respiratory issues like allergies and asthma.
Relief from Sneezing and Runny Noses
Salt therapy is a relatively new phenomenon in the U.S., but its history dates back at least hundreds of years ago. A Polish doctor named Felix Bochkowsky gave credence to sea salt therapy after he published a book in 1843 about the health benefits of the air in salt mines. He believed that the salt particles specifically could help people with respiratory issues. As popularity of the treatment increased throughout Eastern Europe, it spread to the U.S. and beyond.
Angela Kassai and her daughter, Klaudia, opened a respiratory wellness center called Sea Salt Therapy in California’s Silicon Valley, where she says one of out five people have asthma. “I was inspired to open Sea Salt Therapy because of my own struggle with severe allergies, sinusitis, and asthma,” she shared. “Even with a great dose of medication, my days were miserable; the constant sneezing, coughing, runny nose…” After her own respiratory issues were cured with treatments, she wanted to help others with similar ailments.
Clearing the Lungs
Clients who undergo salt therapy simply stay in a salt cave or salt-filled room for around 45 minutes or so. You can read, watch TV, chat with others, or otherwise relax. Just breathing normally in the room supposedly allows for the specially ground salt to move into your lungs and help expel the harmful stuff in there, like bacteria and mucous.
Salt therapy targets people with respiratory conditions like asthma, cystic fibrosis, and allergies, as well as people with skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Fans say that they can see results in as little as three or four sessions.
Various studies on the effects of salt therapy also suggest that it may be effective against these ailments. For example, a 2006 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine showed that patients with cystic fibrosis who breathed in “hypertonic saline” (concentrated salt water) had noticeable improvement in mucous clearance.*
Salt Therapy at Home
If you can’t make it to Angela’s Sea Salt Therapy or one of the other salt spas around the country, there might be ways to achieve the same therapeutic benefits at home. These are Angela’s tips for at-home salt therapy, depending on your ailments.
♦ Using salt lamps (for respiratory conditions)
♦ Salt water steaming (respiratory conditions)
♦ Salt baths (skin conditions)
♦ Salt body scrub (skin conditions)
♦ Foot detox with salt soak
*Scott H et al. “Mucus Clearance and Lung Function in Cystic Fibrosis with Hypertonic Saline”
Inset photos courtesy of Sea Salt Therapy