Why is Salt Therapy Becoming Increasingly Popular?
Most of us add salt to our food. Sometimes we use too much of it that our doctors keep reminding us to lessen our salt intake. But that’s not the only use of salt.
Reader’s Digest listed 60 ways to use salt, and that’s barely scratching the surface. In fact, the Salt Institute says there are more than 14,000 uses for it.
Recently, there is a “new” use for it which is increasingly popular, and it’s called salt therapy.
What is Salt Therapy?
Also known as halotherapy, it is a new trend in spas. It’s a logical extension of all the healthy treatments you’ve tried over the years.
Perhaps you’ve tried saline nebulization before, or you’ve been told to go to the beach and breathe in the salty air. Or maybe you rinsed your mouth with salt water when you had a mouth sore.
This time, the effect is much more intense.
What Happens During a Salt Therapy Session?
You will be in an enclosed room with the walls and ceiling lined with Himalayan salt crystals. The floor is also lined 6 inches deep in salt.
The use of Himalayan salt is intentional, because among all natural salts it is the purest and is free from pollutants and contaminants. And unlike processed salt, it does not contain any synthetic additives and it retains its trace mineral contents that processing eliminates.
A halogenerator is also used. As it pumps microscopic particles of medicinal-grade sodium chloride into the air, it also emits a rather relaxing hum. The salt room is softly lit to create a relaxing atmosphere.
You just need to lay back and relax with your feet elevated while you breathe in the air. Sometimes the chair is even special, using a “zero-gravity” chair that provides a feeling of weightlessness while it also reduces the stress on the spine.
While you relax, you can read a nice book, listen to soothing music, meditate, or take a nap. Sometimes kids are offered games or movies to keep them occupied, and they can even play with the salt much like playing with snow or sand on the beach.
Salt Therapy Benefits
According to many of those who have tried it, they felt so much better right away. Many of the patrons suffer from seasonal allergies, respiratory ailments such as asthma, and skin conditions such as eczema and majority of them report significant improvements in their conditions.
The first salt therapy clinic opened in Chicago in 2006, and by now more than 125 of these spas have opened up all over the country.
They can also be found in Canada, Israel, in various countries in Eastern Europe, and in Australia. A couple of Norwegian cruise ships even have these facilities.
Ancient Roots of Salt Therapy
These spas often resemble a salt cave because that’s the tradition that they’re following. In many places in Europe, there’s a folk tradition of going into salt caves to help with a wide variety of treatments.
Hippocrates of ancient Greece recommended inhaling salt water steam for people with respiratory conditions.
European monks in medieval times often treated their patients in salt caves.
People went to the Dead Sea for their health.
And Polish doctor during the 1800s did notice that salt miners had an unusually low rate of respiratory illnesses.
In 1985, a machine was invented that crushed and dispersed salt particles in Russia, where it was used by doctors to treat breathing ailments. This invention was also crucial for salt therapy spas.
Today, numerous customers of halotherapy spas are reporting various improvements in their well-being:
- Dianne Duvall, a dentist who suffers from allergies reported that her nose dries up so she doesn’t have a runny nose.
- Nancy Stone, a retired speech pathologist who suffers from cystic fibrosis, says that she can take deeper breaths and the salt air helps her to cough.
- Kristine Osborne, whose 4-year old daughter had recurrent ear infections, said that her daughter doesn’t get sick anymore.
- Mercedes Costa suffered from sinus allergies and asthma for years, and her visits to halotherapy spas had resulted in a reduced use of decongestants and a corticosteroid inhaler. She was suffering from “terrible allergies (and) a real bad headache, but at the end of the salt treatment, the congestion and pressure had almost dissipated.”
- John Cummings suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but he had built up a tolerance for the various antibiotics he has taken over the years. Now with halotherapy and an antibiotic, the infection was cleared and he continues his spa visits as a preventive measure.
- Ethan Le, a middle-school student suffered sinus congestion that kept him up at nights. He reported being able to finally sleep through the night after two weeks of spa visits, and his mother who accompanied him to the spa coincidentally had her facial rosacea cleared.
- Rupal Thakkar, a dentist, has a daughter who as a toddler suffered from eczema. She then took her daughter to a salt therapy spa despite her pediatrician’s skepticism, and her daughter’s symptoms improved and became more manageable. Thakkar was so impressed with the results she opened her own salt therapy spa.
Even modern medicine in the 21st century is starting to find evidence for the numerous salt therapy benefits reported. As 2006 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine involving 24 patients with cystic fibrosis revealed that when they inhaled vapor infused with salt it improved their breathing.
Another study published in the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that after a few weeks of regular halotherapy treatments asthma patients reported improvements in their breathing.
Salt Therapy at Home
At the spa, the cost of a visit is around $25 for children and $35 to $45 for adults. Some offer packages of $149 to $199 for unlimited visits in a 1 month period, while others may offer yearly packages costing $1,000 or more.
While the ability to breathe more normally can be worth far more than the expense, for those on a budget these rates may be a bit exorbitant.
The GOOD NEWS is that there are a variety of affordable home products that you can use for salt therapy at home.
For example, there are salt inhalers that you can breathe in salt air from a mouthpiece.
There are also salt lamps and salt humidifiers that infuse the home air with salt particles and helps purify the air by releasing negative ions.
With these simple and affordable devices, you can enjoy the benefits of salt therapy in your own home. It can help you breathe more easily and may even help to reduce headaches and alleviate various skin conditions.