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Q: What is Halotherapy/Salt room therapy?
Salt therapy, also known as Halotherapy is a drug free, non invasive treatment that alleviates the health problems associated with asthma, sinusitis, allergies, and a host of other respiratory illnesses.
In 1843, a Polish doctor, F. Botchkovsky was the first to discover that the environment inside salt mines had a therapeutic effect on respiratory diseases. Many salt mines in Eastern Europe were used as medical resorts for patients with lung diseases. Speleotherapy, as it came to be known, became a conventional, effective, and drug free method of treatment for respiratory illness in Eastern Europe and Russia. In the 1980’s, artificial salt caves were developed by lining rooms with salt bricks or blocks. Research carried out in these rooms did not replicate the curative atmosphere of the salt mines or caves. Scientists came to the conclusion that the main therapeutic factor of the salt cave micro climate was dry aerosol of salt in combination with stable humidity and air temperature. With this knowledge, in the early 1990’s, Halo generators were developed in St. Petersburg Russia. Halo generators blow dry aerosol of salt into enclosed rooms that replicates the micro climate of natural salt mines and caves.
Q. How does salt therapy work?
The primary mechanism of action in Halotherapy is the dry aerosol of salt, that has a particle size of 1-5 microns, and a negative electrical charge. The dry salt aerosol is blown into the salt room. In addition, the walls and the floor of the salt room are covered with salt. The salt room provides a negative ion environment (like the seashore), which contributes to a feeling of well being and promotes stress reduction. The particles of salt are inhaled and travel into the deepest parts of the lungs and sinuses. The inhalation of the salt particles helps to reduce inflammation in the airways, opens constricted airways, and increases the clearance of mucous.
Q. What conditions are improved by salt therapy?
Following are the common respiratory illnesses that are greatly improved by salt therapy: asthma, sinusitis, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, chronic ear infections, allergies to dust, pollen, pets, and chemicals, hay fever, smokers cough, chronic cough, sore throat, nasal congestion or runny nose, snoring, recovery after acute pneumonia, and chronic rhinitis and tonsillitis. It may also help sleep apnea depending on the cause.
In addition to helping with respiratory illnesses, it can also help many common skin diseases including: eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Salt therapy also promotes stress reduction, which can lower blood pressure, and help with insomnia. Salt therapy can help prevent respiratory viruses, including the common cold and flu. Children and adults who experience chronic or multiple colds throughout the year due to day cares, schools, or poor ventilation in the work environment can benefit greatly from Halotherapy.
Q. Are there any side effects?
Halotherapy is 100% natural, safe, and drug free, providing effective long-term relief. It can be used as a complementary treatment to prescribed medications or as a sole treatment. When Halotherapy is used as a complementary treatment, it can increase the effectiveness of prescribed medications and decrease the amount prescribed. Halotherapy works exceedingly well for children.
Q. What can I expect?
A typical salt therapy session last 30 to 45 minutes. The therapy involves sitting in the salt room in a zero gravity lounge chair. The lights are dim and you will hear relaxing music. Most people close their eyes, meditate or fall asleep.
Salt therapy may produce a slight skin irritation in some individuals that will disappear after a few sessions. Some people will experience a mild salt taste on their lips, similar to being by the ocean. Others may experience a mild throat tickle, which can be easily treated by sipping warm water after the session. Most people will experience increased mucous production. This will present itself in the form of a runny nose or a productive cough after the session. This is the body’s natural mechanism for elimination of toxins, pollens, and viruses. If you have ever smoked in the past, you may experience a period of cough and mucous production as your body naturally clears the lungs of residual toxins. Most asthmatics will also experience an initial period of increased mucous production and cough as the body decreases inflammation, opens airways, and expels the stagnant mucous.
Q. How many treatments will I need?
Every experience is different, and it depends on the type and severity of your condition. Based on the research, we would recommend a course of 12-15 treatments, preferably within 4-8 weeks. You may feel some improvement after a single session, but a series of treatments is required to achieve long-term results. For mild conditions, 6-8 treatments may be enough. Some people use treatments as a preventative measure to avoid the common cold, and other respiratory viruses.
Q. When should salt treatment be avoided?
Treatment should be avoided during the acute phase of any illness, including the following: infections accompanied by fever, acute active tuberculosis, cardiac insufficiency, COPD in the third stage, bleeding, spitting of blood, alcohol or drug intoxication, unstable or uncontrolled hypertension, and acute stages of respiratory diseases.
Q. Is there research to support Halotherapy?
Yes, Halotherapy has been well researched in Russia and Eastern Europe. Most of the research has been conducted by Dr. A. V. Chervinskaya, the head of Clinical Research Respiratory Center in St. Petersburg Russia. She works in the field of pulmonology and rehabilitation medicine and has published more than two hundred articles on this topic. Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article on the efficacy of saline salt therapy in cystic fybrosis. They found that long term saline salt treatment had a positive impact on lung function and reduced pulmonary exacerbations. In addition, they found no negative side effects associated with the therapy. Please go to our research page for more information.