A Very Brief History of Halotherapy…
So you might be asking yourself how come you haven’t heard about dry salt inhalation therapy, or halotherapy, before reading this page. Well, the reasons are complicated, but I can assure you that this therapy has been used for decades in Russia and other developed European countries. In fact, modern-day halotherapy technology was developed in Russia back in the 1970’s as a way to reproduce the unique microclimate of naturally-occurring salt caves.
Beginning in the 1800’s, some European physicians began to take note of the overall good respiratory health of salt cave miners versus other miners. This observation led them to believe that the fine salt dust that circulated in the air throughout the mines offered positive health benefits. During World War II, survivors hiding within the salt caves of Poland and Germany had notably good respiratory health.
Modern-day halotherapy utilizes a device called a halogenerator. It’s designed to crush the 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. The halogenerator precisely controls the size, as well as temperature and humidity levels, of the salt inhalation. It is what reproduces the microclimate of salt caves. If halotherapy is hard to explain, just tell people you’re going “salting.”
So, What’s the Big Deal About Salt?
For starters, a good majority of salt is sodium chloride, a composition of two critical electrolytes necessary for life. Any imbalances with either element your body won’t feel so great. In current medical facilities, a mixture of sodium chloride and water is used to infuse intravenously for 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 then be easier to remove by coughing. Salt is also great for the skin. It’s been used as far back as Egyptian times for treatment in skin wounds. The Greeks recommended salt water baths for the relief of skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
In our American 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 the stuff. You will not be receiving anything close to the levels you get through dietary ingestion. If you have any concerns, please consult with your physician before starting salt therapy.