Article from Cannizzaro Integrative Pediatric Center
It seems too simple to be true. Halotherapy (salt therapy) can be used for myriad conditions such as asthma, allergies, colds, eczema, flu and stress. Yet salt has been used therapeutically for thousands of years and appears in ancient texts including the Bible. Even Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, used salt to treat his patients.
The first modern inquiry into salt therapy came in the 1840’s when a Polish physician documented the low rate of respiratory illness in salt mine workers. He attributed their better health to the daily inhalation of salt particles in the mines. Because of his work, speleotherapy (salt cave therapy) became a form of treatment in Europe. Now, one can forego the spelunking because salt therapy can be administered in a controlled environment that simulates the natural, therapeutic microclimate of a salt cave.
Salt therapy is performed in a special spa-like room with salt-coated walls and floor, called a halochamber. This is why salt therapy is also called halotherapy. During a halotherapy session, pharmaceutical-grade salt is pulverized into microscopic particles and propelled into the room. Salt therapy involves lounging in this cozy room and passively breathing in the particles while listening to soothing music, reading or just relaxing in a zero-gravity chair. The use of halotherapy has spread throughout Europe and Canada and is gaining popularity in the United States.
Why Is Salt Therapy Healing for So Many Conditions?
Did you know your immune system controls your body’s defenses against both infections and inflammatory diseases? We run into trouble when inflammation becomes “runaway”—this is when chronic inflammatory conditions begin. These conditions include asthma, allergies, chronic ear infections, sinusitis and other chronic infections. All infections are inflammatory to the body. Salt therapy helps support the immune system on two levels; it is physically anti-inflammatory and is also calming to the central nervous system.
Salt particles have negatively charged ions which enhance our overall health. They are hypertonic, which means they pull fluid and toxins out of the cells. The salt particles enter the lungs and nasal passages, accelerating mucus clearance and improving lung function while killing harmful bacteria and soothing the respiratory system. This decreases the inflammation in the lungs and opens the airways, increasing oxygen exchange. This 100% drug-free treatment is effective, has no side effects and may lessen the need for prescription antihistamines, inhalers and nasal sprays. In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study in 2006 that found salt inhalation is an effective complementary treatment for cystic fibrosis.
Halotherapy Improves Allergy and Asthma Symptoms
The mucus-clearing, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial effects of halotherapy have been shown to relieve symptoms of allergies and asthma. Salt therapy neutralizes pollutants like smoke, dander, dust, pollen and other allergens present in the airways. Open airways calm breathing and reduce wheezing and coughing, making life more comfortable and asthma more manageable. This also prevents overuse of inhalers, a practice that can cause new bronchospasms and increase asthma severity. Cleansing the airways and decreasing inflammation helps medications work more effectively and reduces the need for them.
Halotherapy is completely safe, inexpensive and helps reduce the risk of common comorbid conditions such as ear and sinus infections. It helps prevent asthma attacks, especially if a therapy session is undertaken during peak allergy season and after exposure to allergens (like a visit to a relative who smokes).
Halotherapy Heals Eczema Beyond Skin Deep
For those suffering from eczema, salt therapy works by activating multiple physiological processes in the body. On the outside of the body, the salt particles kill bacteria and fungi, reduce inflammation on the skin, and improve circulation on the skin surface. Salt calms the itchy rash and heals cracks, which restores the skin’s barrier against infections and allergens.
How Salt Therapy Provides Relief for Eczema
Fortifies the skin’s protective barrier
Reduces inflammation, redness and irritation
Has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects
Reduces IgE levels
Helps normalize the skin’s pH balance
Promotes healthy tissue regeneration
Facilitates deeper penetration of skin care products
Increases skin elasticity
Cleans impacted follicles
Promotes gentle exfoliation (cell turnover)
Halotherapy for Stress
If you’ve ever wondered why an oceanside resort is so relaxing, the salt in the air may provide a clue. Salt ions have a relaxing effect on the nervous system. In addition, the salt room itself provides therapy. Soft music, dimmed lights, zero-gravity chairs and the absence of electronic devices for a solid 45 minutes lend to its spa-like atmosphere and is just as relaxing.
For someone struggling with a skin condition like eczema or respiratory condition like asthma, stress can cause flare-ups. Stress increases cortisol, an overabundance of which can cause an inflammatory response in the body. The fact that halotherapy reduces stress and promotes an overall feeling of wellbeing may explain how it helps decrease the inflammatory response of the body and the flare-ups of respiratory and skin conditions.
Salt Therapy is a True Multipurpose Healer!
Salt therapy is a clinically proven, safe and beneficial method of treatment for every age group.
It offers drug-free, effective assistance to those who suffer from a multitude of disorders and provides a natural way to address conditions at their root cause. Sometimes, simple solutions are the best solutions.
Salt Therapy Provides Relief from Symptoms of These Conditions:
Multi-Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome
Farmacy on Main has a variety of Salt Memberships and Packages available: