Halotherapy: This is Where Salt is Good for You

Halotherapy: This is Where Salt is Good for You

Salt can catch up with us. When sodium is overly consumed various related health risks could occur such as high blood pressure, inflammation, and joint pain. Now you may be thinking that you don’t really use salt much on your food so there’s no need to worry. Yet, so many products have high amounts already in them you could be overly consuming salt and not even knowing it.  

As you navigate your sodium intake there is another salt consumption that may be good for you. It is called halotherapy and it has been used since medieval times resulting in many observational studies that showed beneficial results. Now, modern science is involved and current laboratory studies are confirming the healthy application of this ancient practice.

Breathing Salt

Halotherapy is described as a treatment that involves breathing in salty air. It may sound farfetched but this type of salt delivery to the body has been linked to a long list of health benefits. It should really be no surprise as salt is a highly potent mineral capable of killing just about any living thing. Hence the name of the Dead Sea found in Israel which is a body of water that contains high amounts of natural salts and very little life other than some algae,  microorganisms, and humans floating in the highly buoyant water. 

Halotherapy is administered two ways: dry or wet.

One study of halotherapy published in the journal, ‘Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine’ concluded that,

“HT [halotherapy] has been found to have a positive effect on patients suffering from chronic respiratory diseases, improving mucociliary [respiratory mucous] elimination and lung function in common chronic respiratory diseases and also HRQoL [health-related quality of life].”

Dry HT

Dry halotherapy is administered by sitting in a room or “cave” that is lined with salt or uses what is called a halo-generator. The halo-generator breaks down salt particles to microscopic levels and then emits them into the air where a client safely inhales them. Each session lasts approximately 30-45 minutes and is recommended to be applied one to two times per week. 

Once inhaled, these salt particles are believed to: 

  • Absorb irritants, allergens and toxins from the respiratory system. 
  • Break up mucus 
  • Reduces lung inflammation
  • Clear airways
  • Absorb skin bacteria
  • Reduce skin conditions
  • Produce negative ions believed to increase serotonin (good mood hormone) production

Many of these salt rooms or caves can be found throughout holistic health circles. It can get pricey so be sure you try a few sessions before you commit to any packages. This will ensure your are comfortable with the therapy and know what you can afford. 

Most holistic therapies take time to treat years of accumulated health compromises so it is important to understand that halotherapy is not a one visit treatment. It can take several weeks to even a few months before you feel the full healing breadth of this modality however many report feeling some beginning positive effects shortly after just one to two sessions. 

If dry HT doesn’t sound like it is a match for you, try wet HT which has its advantages as well  

Wet HT

Wet halotherapy consists of incorporating salt inhalation through means of the following as posted by Healthline,

  • Gargling salt water
  • Drinking salt water (this must be done under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner)
  • Bathing in salt water (Epsom salts can transdermally reduce inflammation and soothe muscles)
  • Using salt water for nasal irrigation
  • Flotation tanks filled with salt water

With the exception of obtaining a flotation tank, wet HT can be done at home, is affordable, and may help mitigate or, in some cases, slowly reverse specific health compromises. Halotherapy may be especially helpful when struggling with a respiratory compromise. 

Research work done in Budapest was published as a review titled, ‘Theoretical basis and clinical benefits of dry salt inhalation therapy’ which stated that, 

“Due to the greater osmotic [a process by which molecules of a solvent tend to pass through a semipermeable membrane ] pressure the inhaled salt diminishes the edema [excess fluid] of the bronchial mucosa, decreases its inflammation, dissolves the mucus, and makes expectoration [cough up phlegm] easier and faster (expectoration of air pollution and allergens will be faster, too). It inhibits the growth of bacteria and, in some case, kills them. Phagocyte [cell cleaning] activity is also increased.”

Give halotherapy a try to see if simply inhaling salt air can improve your health. If observational studies and current science research are validating halotherapy, it may just be that missing link you’re looking for.