19 Oct Learn about Halotherapy
Halotherapy and Respiration
Halotherapy, also known as salt therapy, has been around for centuries, where people clocked natural salt caves to ease symptoms of bronchitis, colds, sinus infections, and asthma. Currently, there is a surge in modern halotherapy, with designed climate-controlled rooms in spas. While there are continuing studies on the effectiveness of halotherapy yet, several studies have shown positive effects of this method of easing breathing difficulties.
Apart from improving the respiratory system, salt therapy is also believed to boost the immune system and improve skin appearance and functioning. That said, weekly visits to salt therapy facilities for healthy individuals are encouraged to enhance lung capacity, reduce stress, enhance immunity, and better sleep.
How Halotherapy Works
Proponents of salt therapy claim that it cleanses the respiratory system by increasing the rate of elimination of toxins. Salt is believed to have the following properties;
- Removes airborne pollen and pathogens
- Lowers sensitivity of the immune system
- Loosens excess mucus and speeds mucociliary transport
Once inhaled, salt particles penetrate the lungs, treating any damaged tissue. With proper treatment, respiratory symptoms can subside for 10 to 12 months after salt therapy.
Depending on the mode of administering salt, halotherapy can be dry or wet.
Dry halotherapy is done in salt caves free from humidity. Temperatures in the rooms are lowered to 20°C, with sessions lasting between 30 and 45 minutes. Practitioners use a halogenerator, a device that grinds salt into microscopic particles before releasing them into the air. Occupants inhale the small salt particles in the room, which absorb respiratory irritants, such as allergens and toxins in the respiratory system.
As the name suggests, wet methods involve the use of salt and water mixture. They include;
- Drinking saltwater
- Nasal irrigation
- Bathing with saltwater
- Gargling saltwater
- Use of flotation tanks with saltwater
Respiratory Conditions That Are Improved
Despite the ongoing research, proponents believe that the following conditions can subside with halotherapy.
- Asthma – a study done in rats, found that those with asthma can improve with halotherapy. The therapy benefited up to 85 percent of patients with mild to moderate asthma and 75 percent of patients with severe cases.
- COPD – patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease also benefit from salt therapy. A study on 35 COPD patients concluded that the patients improved after halotherapy and showed an improved quality of life.
- Bronchiectasis – salt therapy also has positive effects on patients with bronchiectasis. While it doesn’t improve the symptoms, it promotes relaxation and overall well-being.
- Adenotonsillar syndrome – patients with this condition showed significant improvement in symptoms after recurrent salt therapy sessions.
Other respiratory conditions that improve with halotherapy include;
- Cystic fibrosis
- Common cold
- Smokers cough
- Ear infections
Risks of Halotherapy
Halotherapy is considered a safe mode of treatment for patients with respiratory conditions. However, the few studies on its effectiveness have limited its adoption as a mainstream treatment modality for various conditions. That aside, all treatment options have varying side effects. With halotherapy, some patients report of coughs and minimal constriction of airways after the therapy. Generally, there are no serious side effects associated with this all-natural treatment modality for respiratory conditions.
The Bottom Line
Salt therapy is a relaxing spa or wellness clinic therapy, with continuing studies on its effectiveness. Apart from respiratory conditions, halotherapy also has significant effects on the skin. As such, you should use halotherapy as a complementary treatment method to boost your medication’s effect. Additionally, before beginning your sessions, inform your physician, and don’t stop taking the conventional medications without consulting your doctor.