Healing with Halotherapy
Halotherapy, also known as salt therapy, has a long and formidable history. There are reports going as far back as 5,000 years ago to the great Egyptian builder and doctor Imhotep who recommended salt as a treatment for an infected chest wound. Salt has been prescribed historically for healing infections of all kinds as well conditions from callous skin to reducing bleeding after a wound occurs to an eye ointment and even as a suppository to aid in childbirth. (The papyrus Ebers, 1600 B.C.)
The ancient Greek healer and philosopher, Hippocrates (460 BC), made frequent use of salt and he suggested that, among other things, the inhalation of steam from salt-water has anti-inflammatory effects for the respiratory system.
Wars have been fought for centuries over this seemingly innocuous chemical that is so vital to life itself. It is thought that many of the roads in the developing United States first came about as animal paths where deer, buffalo, etc. created paths from one salt lick to another. Even the history of a famous city in New York State owes its name to a primitive salt lick that the buffalo used for centuries, Buffalo, New York.
Salt is an important ionic substance that helps the body function properly and even heal.
- The earliest modern studies of salt to heal begin with in 1843. A Polish physician named Dr. Felix Bochkowsky, the state authority for occupational health in Poland, noticed that Polish salt miners never seemed to suffer from lung diseases. He published a book about the beneficial effects that salt cave environments had on respiratory health.
- A study by Saint George Hospital in the United Kingdom found that for COPD patients, the use of a salt inhaler significantly improved the patients six-minute walk test and quality of life. http://www.thoracic.org/members/assemblies/assemblies/srn/questionaires/sgrq.php (click here for the questionnaire - http://www.healthstatus.sgul.ac.uk/)
- The European Journal published a study demonstrating the benefits of salt therapy in reducing inflammation and improving breath quality in both asthmatic and non-asthmatic patients. http://saltcave.co.uk/Saline_Mucus_Asthma_trial.pdf
- An abstract published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that salt therapy could be helpful in treating people with cystic fibrosis. They concluded that, “Hypertonic saline preceded by a bronchodilator is an inexpensive, safe, and effective additional therapy for patients with cystic fibrosis. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00271310.)” http://saltcave.co.uk/Saline_Inhalation_Trial.pdf
- Salt therapy can surprisingly even help with depression and SAD or seasonal affective disorder. As a therapist specializing in helping people work through depression I was super excited to learn that Halotherapy can even help with depression. This study by Department of Psychology at Wesleyan University found a 50% improvement rate by those who underwent Halotherapy.
- Salt therapy can even help with dermatological conditions as well. A study found that 65-75% of patients with atopic dermatitis had a significant improvement in their conditions. In patients with Steptoderma after 2-3 procedures elements of skin eruption were disappearing and by the end of the treatment almost complete remission was achieved. Topically, the salt improved the skins protective properties, reduced inflammation, and stimulated growth and improvement of the skin. http://saltcave.co.uk/halotherapy_in_dermatology.pdf
- All salt is not created equally. There is a huge difference between highly processed table salt, think Mortons, and naturally occurring salts. Naturally occurring salts, like what was mined in Poland and other Eastern European countries for years and the popular Himalayan or pink salt are far better for you. For instance, Himalayan salt typically has 84 different enzymes in it. This might be the reason why modern science has conflicting studies on the benefits or problems associated with salt. As people began to use salt that was cultured, like typical table salt, and not natural salts the occurrence of certain disease has increased. It is my belief that the quality of salt greatly influences the individual’s health.
- Fortunes were made, wars were fought, and entire civilizations were birthed and destroyed because of salt. In fact, even in modern history, we can look back at Ghandi and see the influence of salt. The British occupiers of India tried to force the Indian people to buy imported salt from Cheshire, England. To protest this, Ghandi marched in 1930 to a coastal salt “pan” and filled his pockets with salt crystals in defiance of the British military occupation. From that moment on, the Indian people started to create their own salt in defiance of the British Empire.
“Salt: A History”
Salt Therapy for COPD – The Lung Institute
The Salt Studio – My favorite Halotherapy Studio
Halotherapy Reduces Depression