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By Ashley Tortu (bio below)
What is Salt Therapy?
Halotherapy, or Salt Therapy, is a natural, relaxing method of relieving the irritating symptoms associated with skin and lung conditions. With origins in 1800s Poland, Halotherapy was first created by Dr. Feliks Boczkowski who witnessed that salt mine workers didn’t suffer from common respiratory ailments of the time like tuberculosis. Noticing a correlation between the salt and lung function, they decided to build sanitariums in the natural caves, creating the first salt cave. Russia developed the technology to form a microclimate based on the salt cave in the 1980s and the technology made its way to North America in the ‘90s.
Today, salt rooms usually contain thousands of pounds of salt on the floor and/or walls. A halogenerator grinds pharmaceutical grade salt (99.99% pure Sodium Chloride/NaCl) into a fine, dry mist and a fan blows it into the air. The salt acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial. As you breathe, it opens your airways, kills bacteria which boosts your immune system, and loosens trapped mucus for easier expulsion. This makes it a great natural treatment for asthma. The salt that is not inhaled lands on exposed, irritated skin, reducing redness and irritation making it a great natural remedy for eczema. It is important to keep in mind that salt therapy will not cure a condition, it simply helps ease symptoms and acts as a compliment to already established medical treatments.
Why pharmaceutical grade salt?
This type of salt contains no binders, fillers, excipients (natural or synthetic substances formulated alongside the active ingredient of a medication), or dyes. The sodium chloride is kept warm and dry and, since it is free of impurities and moisture, it can be ground properly to do its job. Other salts, like Himalayan or Dead Sea, are dense with moisture, as well as minerals and metals that are great for your digestive system and skin, but will not dissolve in your lungs.
Is the salt safe?
A common question people ask is about the link between salt and high blood pressure. With Halotherapy, you inhale a majority of the salt into your respiratory tract which dissolves and is expelled with trapped mucus. The salt you digest from your lips and the air during a session is said to be comparable to a bite of a sandwich. Still, we ask those with uncontrolled hypertension, or a severe heart or lung condition, to avoid the therapy until it can be discussed with your physician.
Salt rooms and eczema
With skin conditions, you should expose the affected areas so the salt can land on the skin. Private session are recommended for anyone who needs to expose the majority of their body to the air. When using a salt room as a natural eczema remedy, the skin usually lightens from red to pink and itching decreases after the first couple of sessions. It usually takes about 2-3 sessions in the first week to get rid of acute symptoms and then it’s a matter of maintenance. Sessions can be tapered down over time to once a month or so. Remember, every body is different, so results vary with each person. Some use a sea salt soak, with an unprocessed sea salt like Himalayan or Celtic, in a bath or on a washcloth to help ease itching between sessions.
Bio: About the Salt Vault
Ashley Tortu is manager of The Salt Vault, located in Parkesburg, PA. It features 5,000 lbs of Himalayan Pink Salt on a heated floor, two 130 lb lamps, and 5 pink salt encrusted panels, rendering it virtually allergen free. We use the S.A.L.T. F.X. Halogenerator, which grinds pharmaceutical grade salt to .3 microns. Our salt room is a comfortable 73-75 degrees F and 40% humidity, making it a comfortable environment for sufferers of respiratory conditions, like asthma. In the last year, we have seen salt therapy provide relief from eczema, psoriasis, ear infections, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, and more!
Read what our customers say:
“When I came to The Salt Vault I had been suffering from chronic, irritating scalp eczema for years. After the first session, I felt some relief, though I still had slight itching; this got better after the second session. After the third session, my itching really subsided! Now, I do weekly sessions at the Salt Vault and Himalayan sea salt rinses to help keep on top of the occasional itching on my scalp and neck.”
–Ruth, Parkesburg, PA
“My 4-year-old grandson said, ‘How can anything this much fun be good for you?’ He used to suffer from ear infections every two months. Since the end of April, he has completed four sessions. On his last trip to the doctor for illness, which would usually cause an infection, he said his ears were perfect! I have asthma and a lot of allergies; couldn’t make it this year without The Salt Vault. When I arrive, I exhale with a wheeze. When I leave, I have no wheeze and am able to walk around without losing my breath. It’s comfortable and reasonably priced. It works and it’s amazing.”
–Joyce, Quarryville, PA
Disclaimer: PLEASE DO NOT STOP ANY CURRENT TREATMENTS WITHOUT FIRST CONSULTING YOUR PRIMARY PHYSICIAN.
More research has been done on speleotherapy, which is essentially salt therapy in a natural or manmade cave without a halogenerator.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7846884 – [The efficacy of speleotherapy in atopic dermatitis in children].
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8266663 – [The efficacy of speleotherapy in salt mines in children with bronchial asthma based on the data from immediate and late observations].
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16629791 – The effect of salt chamber treatment on bronchial hyperresponsiveness in asthmatics