How salt therapy can treat respiratory problems and skin disorders
Posted On: 02/14/2016 - Viewed: 30583
Although salt therapy clinics are a fairly new trend in Australia, the use of salt as a health remedy has been around since the Greeks, when Hippocrates recommended salt inhalation as a respiratory treatment.
We all appreciate that sense of feeling recharged after swimming in or walking near the ocean. Now it seems that exposure to salty air, in the form of treatment rooms packed with blocks of the stuff, is proving popular with those seeking a natural treatment for health conditions such as respiratory conditions and skin disorders.
Salt therapy, or 'halotherapy', is a pain-free alternative treatment that uses dry sodium chloride to help relieve respiratory problems such as sinusitis, hay fever, asthma and bronchitis and skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis and allergies. For those in general good health, it's also thought to help improve one's sense of wellbeing and boost immunity.
During the 1800s, a Polish physician also discovered that men working in salt mines suffered fewer respiratory problems than the general population. The doctor's successor went on to set up a therapeutic spa based on these observations.
Although until fairly recently treatments required visiting natural salt caves or mines, therapy has now become more accessible with the emergence of special clinics equipped with sauna-like rooms. Designed to replicate the environment of the salt caves, these chambers are filled with salt drifts lining the walls and floor with a low concentrate dry salt aerosol piped into the room. A single treatment lasts about 45 minutes, and patients simply sit in the chamber and inhale microscopic particles of salt, the theory being that by breathing in this air, mucus in the respiratory tract is loosened and coughed up.
The treatment claims to reduce the basis of inflammation by destroying bacteria and strengthening the immune system. It's also believed that the high mineral content of salt improves skin health.
What the skeptics say
Although salt therapy is now recognized by the International Institute of Complementary Therapy, many medical experts say that anecdotal evidence is insufficient to prove claimed health benefits and that and more scientific studies are need to show what the therapy works for, whom it doesn't work for, and whom is may be dangerous for.
In addition, those who decide to pursue salt therapy should continue to use any prescribed medication and should seek their doctor's advice before undertaking any complementary therapy.
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