A BRIEF HISTORY OF HALOTHERAPY
Halotherapy has been used in Russia and other developed European countries for decades with positive results. In fact, modern-day halotherapy technology was developed in Russia back in the 1970s as a way to reproduce the unique microclimate of naturally-occurring salt caves. Several European countries utilize salt therapy in hospitals for the treatment of various respiratory conditions.
Beginning in the 1800s, a Polish physician began to notice the overall good respiratory health of salt cave miners versus other miners. He concluded that the salt circulating in the air throughout the mines offered positive respiratory benefits. During World War II, survivors hiding within the salt caves of Poland and Germany had notably good respiratory health, as well.
Modern-day halotherapy utilizes a device called a halogenerator, that reproduces the microclimate of salt caves. It is designed to crush sodium chloride into tiny particles, mostly in the 1-5 micron size, and then disperse those particles into the air that the client breathes. It’s important for the salt particles to be very small, in order to penetrate into the deepest parts of the respiratory tract.
SO, WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT SALT?
The majority of salt found in the earth is composed of sodium and chloride, two critical electrolytes necessary for life. Any imbalances with either element and your body won’t feel so great. In current medical facilities, sodium chloride is used as an IV solution for the treatment of a variety of health conditions. The revered Greek physician Hippocrates, hailed as the “Father of Medicine”, was known to recommend “wet” salt inhalation from salted water to improve respiratory conditions.
Sodium chloride has natural, absorbent qualities that attract water and pathogens. In the respiratory passages, this helps thin mucus, which can be easier to remove by coughing. Salt is also beneficial for the skin. It’s been used as far back as Egyptian times for the treatment of skin wounds. The Greeks recommended saltwater baths for the relief of skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
In the US healthcare system, the word salt has developed a bad reputation. It’s important to differentiate dietary salt versus the small amount of salt you inhale during a session. For good reason, doctors recommend limiting the amount of dietary sodium chloride, as our American diets tend to have massive amounts of salt. You will not receive anything close to the levels of salt that you get through dietary ingestion. If you have any concerns, please consult with your physician before starting salt therapy.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q – Can salt therapy be harmful?
A – Have you ever gone to the ocean and spent some time there? Did you have any harmful effects from breathing in the salted ocean air? This is the same type of salt inhalation effect you will have, except that our salt has no humidity. Many people find it more tolerable as it doesn’t have such denseness to the air quality. You will be breathing pure sodium chloride without additives or caking agents.
Q – Is salt therapy appropriate for young children?
A – Yes. This is a non-invasive, drug-free therapy that children of all ages respond to well. In fact, thousands of children with cystic fibrosis (CF) worldwide have benefited from salting. One of the main benefits of sodium chloride is its ability to absorb moisture and pathogens. This allows the heavy mucus in cystic fibrosis suffers to be thinned out and more easily cleared from their respiratory passages. The clearing of secretions is a primary treatment in CF health maintenance. The use of “wet” salt therapy has been used for decades in the medical establishment in the form of saline breathing treatments. Some studies suggest that CF suffers tolerate dry salt therapy better than wet salt therapy.
Q – Will my doctor prescribe salt therapy for my respiratory conditions?
A – Unfortunately, halotherapy hasn’t been formally studied in the US healthcare system, and therefore is not FDA-approved for the treatment or cure of any diseases or conditions. It is not covered by insurance. Outside of the US, many European countries, some of which have the highest-rated healthcare systems in the world, have adopted halotherapy as a medically-approved treatment.
Q – How many salting sessions do I need to feel any benefits?
A – You may feel relief even after just one session. The number of sessions an individual chooses is largely based on the intensity of symptoms and how quickly they want to experience relief. During periods of exacerbation, especially for sufferers of allergies, asthma, and bronchitis, the person may benefit the most from several sessions within a short time frame. Salt therapy is most effective for acute conditions when it is used at least 2-3 times per week. Again, it is ultimately up to the individual to decide what suits them best. Listen to your body and you can’t go wrong.
Q – Are there certain health conditions that are contraindicated for salting?
A – Yes. We can’t allow any person with an active, contagious disease in our salt booths or rooms. This includes: TB, influenza, COVID, resistant viral/bacterial pneumonia, recent fever, or hemorrhagic infections. Any person with advanced respiratory disease (requiring continuous oxygen) or advanced heart disease (uncontrolled high blood pressure, congestive heart failure) should also refrain from salting. Individuals who are pregnant or have cancer should definitely consult with their physician before starting salt therapy.
Q – Where can I find out more about the history and medical studies done on halotherapy?
A – You can find a great deal of information on the web by searching. Remember, this therapy has been around in Europe for decades. Not to mention, salt was used as far back as ancient Egypt and Greece as a treatment for wounds and respiratory conditions. Hippocrates, known as The Father of Medicine, was a great advocate for salt inhalation. The Salt Therapy Association is a great resource for the medical studies done by some European countries.
Q – What should I wear during a salt session?
A – You should dress in comfortable clothing, so you feel totally relaxed during the session. You will have a light dusting of salt on your clothing and hair afterward, but it will not damage them in any way. We provide privacy curtains if you choose to expose certain affected skin areas. However, please no nudity.
Q – Can I bring electronic devices into the salt booths or rooms?
A – Electronics should be left in your vehicle or in the plastic container provided in your salt booth. Salt loves to corrode metals. If you don’t believe us, just look under any car that’s survived a few Chicago winters.
Q – What can I bring into the salt booth?
A – Mostly yourself. However, there is a built-in reading light inside the booth if you want to read something inspirational or jot down your literary masterpiece.
Q – What does the dry salt inhalation feel like?
A – Well, it doesn’t hurt – let’s start there. There is nothing invasive at all about the session, and it is 100% drug-free. You may feel a whole range of emotions and sensations. People report excitement, euphoria, deep relaxation, ease of breathing, a slight saltiness on the lips, a clearing of the sinuses, and a spark of energy – just to name a few.
Q - My doctor has recommended I eat a low-salt diet. Will halotherapy sessions cause any significant increase in my body’s sodium levels?
A - The amount of salt you absorb during halotherapy is trivial compared to the amount in the foods you eat. Think about the size of the granules of salt you sprinkle over your food. The size of the particles you are inhaling or absorbing through the skin during halotherapy is microscopic in comparison – finer than a hair.
Q - How can your halotherapy session be only 10-minutes versus the standard 30-60 minutes for other salt rooms and caves?
A - The reason our sessions are only 10-minutes is that you are inside one of our private booths and you start breathing the salted air right away. Typically, halotherapy is done as a group session in a larger room where it takes more time for the salted air to circulate around and provide enough salt concentration to be beneficial. At Salted Desert – you get your own perfectly salted air!