The origins of modern salt therapy trace back to Eastern Europe in the 19th century, where a Polish doctor noted that employees of the nearby salt mines did not suffer common respiratory problems at the same rate as the general population. This doctor hypothesised that as the miners worked, they were inhaling microscopic particles of salt, which helped them with a number of potential health problems.
How does halotherapy work?
Salt therapy is a natural form of treatment that involves the inhalation of salt-rich air, and is seen as an effective treatment for respiratory problems, skin conditions, mood regulation, hay fever, sinusitis and even assistance with anxiety, stress and sleep problems. Research suggests that the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory nature of salt inhalation is a natural form of treatment for common illnesses, and is a valuable form of alternative treatment.
Salt room benefits can be unlocked with either a dry or wet method. The former, sitting in either a salt therapy room or something akin to a dry salt cave, allows the user to inhale salt-rich air that is broken down by a halogenerator. These salt caves are usually around 20°C, and have zero humidity, where the user sits inside for around thirty-to-forty minutes.
The wet form of salt therapy or halotherapy involves either partially ingesting or bathing in salt-rich water, that allows our bodies to soak up the benefits. This includes either gargling salt-rich water or ingesting a small amount of salt mixed with water, or more typically, bathing in a large volume of water that is rich in salt. Float tanks are one of the more common examples of wet salt therapy in action, as well as nasal sprays used by individuals with sinusitis or hayfever.
What are the benefits of halotherapy?
The primary health benefits of salt room therapy can be found in the claims of respiratory improvements, particularly for individuals suffering from asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis and hay fever. These health benefits are said to be the result of salt-rich air targeting impurities, toxins and pathogens inside our respiratory system, which allows our body to more easily expel them and clean out our airways. This is also said to tackle snoring while we’re asleep.
The anti-inflammatory health benefits of salt room therapy are said to extend to skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, while the antibacterial effects of salt therapy are said to increase our immune system and reduce the chance of catching a cold or a flu.
As we mentioned earlier, advocates of salt therapy say that negative ions inside salt-rich air accelerate the rate in which our body produces serotonin, the powerful regulator of our mood and happiness levels. Peer-reviewed research backing up these claims, however, is limited.
Research suggests that as the salty air is inhaled, this air is able to target allergens and toxins lurking inside our respiratory system. A 2007 study published in Pneumologia found that salt therapy was effective for individuals suffering chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), who reported having fewer related symptoms after being treated with halotherapy.
Some even claim that the health benefits of salt therapy extend to reducing inflammation in our bodies and can even absorb a number of bacteria that cause skin conditions like eczema, acne and psoriasis. These anti-inflammatory claims have been backed up by 2014 research that found salt therapy represented an effective anti-inflammatory and anti-allergen treatment for those with either asthma or bronchitis.
In terms of regulating our sleep cycles and our mood, advocates say that the health benefits of salt therapy extend to its ability to increase serotonin levels; the chemical responsible for our positive emotions. They say that due to the fact that salt produces negative ions, this exchange, in theory, results in our body releasing more serotonin.
“patients with bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive bronchopneumopathy, after a specific halotherapy treatment, indicates the triggering of an anti-inflammatory (including anti-allergic mechanisms) mechanism and a decreasing trend of the inflammatory process.”
It’s said that the health benefits of salt therapy can be unlocked in a single session. Depending if you’re opting for the wet or dry method of salt therapy, you may notice improvements in your respiratory system, skin quality or even mood in the immediate period after a visit to a salt therapy room or clinic. It’s recommended that you stagger your salt therapy treatments into small, but regular treatments, to minimise the chance of an adverse reaction from a salt overload.
In terms of salt therapy being harmful, the only real consideration is that it should not be recognised as a primary form of treatment. It’s essential to remember that salt therapy is a form of complementary treatment that should not replace any medication you’re taking, or constitute a primary form of treatment for respiratory conditions or mood disparities.
It is not recommended that pregnant women inhale salt-rich air for a prolonged period of time, largely due to the fact that most salt rooms vary in their concentration of salt-rich air. Remember to always hydrate your body before spending time in a salt room or sitting in a salt bath, and remember to monitor your body for any adverse reactions while you’re inside.
If you would like to get a salt therapy device you can use in the comfort of your own home, please contact us for more information on our HaloOne™ device.