It seems surreal to go into a salt cave for a halotherapy session in the middle of the city, with beneficial health effects aimed at improving respiratory diseases, dermatological, and allergies.
We have it in the sea and the kitchen. It was present in Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Middle Ages medicine… and now also in the form of halotherapy.
Halotherapy: Breathing salt has never brought so much well-being
Halotherapy (salt cave) it’s a natural therapy aimed at improving allergies, chronic respiratory problems (asthma, bronchitis, hay fever, and cystic fibrosis), and dermatological conditions (acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, cellulite).
Also, it helps prevent and treat the common cold, cleaning the airways from harmful particles caused by smoking and toxic environments.
Some “salt cave” centers in Europe bring tons of salt from Austria to offer this therapy. To learn more about it and, depending on where you live, browse the web for locations near you.
Halotherapy is “clinically recognized as a natural complementary therapy, effective and drug-free for respiratory and dermatological diseases,” explains Josh Redford, a certified therapist at The Salt Cave in the UK.
Salt cave: 50 minutes breathing salt
The salt gets impregnated in the skin and the bottom of the lungs; it is noticed. It is 50 minutes in a hammock surrounded by salt on the ceiling, wall, and floor, like beach sand.
Faint lights that change color complete the aesthetics of a relaxing environment.
You can sleep, you can read (with small reading lights), you can close your eyes and picture yourself in any corner of the world.
But, is it just salt piled up? How do you manage to breathe the right amount? How is it kept in the air?
It’s a technique “based on environment breathing saturated with micro-particles of 100% natural rock salt of mineral origin,” says Redford.
This environment is achieved thanks to a “combination of temperature, environmental humidity, and concentration of microscopic salt particles capable of reaching the pulmonary alveoli and being deposited deeply in the epidermis.”
This is especially beneficial to the lungs compared with other therapies in which the “conductor” is not air but water because it cannot reach the bottom of the lungs.
Salt cave therapy: Remarkable benefits
According to the specialist, salt cave therapy has “remarkable benefits in the purification of the airways, strengthening the immune system and improving certain skin blemishes by delaying their aging.”
How are these micro-particles obtained?
Thanks to the halogenerator, a state-of-the-art device that produces and releases sodium chloride particles is needed to create the salt mines’ environment.
Thus, clean and dry air saturated with micro-particles is obtained with a granularity index that is ideal for penetrating the lungs’ deepest cavities and the superficial layers of the skin.
Besides, this halogenerator has a microprocessor that controls the level of sodium chloride concentration in the room, which, together with specific humidity and temperature measurements, increases the treatment’s effectiveness, as explained by the interviewee.
Three different types of chambers can be entered: the first is conditioned for children (with toys and space for parents and 40-minute sessions), the second is for individual use to treat skin problems in underwear, and the third and most spacious is for shared use.
Also, each room has a ventilation system for air circulation.
Salt has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce irritation and tissue swelling, allowing the airways to clear.
Additionally, in chronic cases in which the respiratory tract is compressed due to irritation and mucus in which bacteria develop, salt contributes to mucus expulsion and the killing of present bacteria.
Furthermore, it provides natural and effective relief from the symptoms of certain diseases such as:
- Respiratory diseases
- Skin diseases
- Chronic bronchitis
- Smoker’s cough
- Dry cough
- Common cold and flu
- Sinusitis (sinus inflammation)
- Respiratory infections
- Ear infections
- Atopic dermatitis
You can reduce the use of medications by improving your breathing after only a few sessions because:
- It will improve lung function
- It reduces the number of hospitalizations
- Relieves sneezing, coughing, and breath shortness
- Removes mucus and sticky phlegm from the lungs
- Increases resistance to airway diseases
- Strengthens your immune system
- Prolongs remission times
- Improves general health and life quality
- Produces a state of deep well-being and relaxation
- The effectiveness of the treatment is estimated at 75-98% depending on the conditions
How does salt work on the skin?
By osmosis. That is to say, “the micro-particles of salt are deposited on the superficial layers of the skin, attracting water molecules to the pores and thus achieving a balance in skin hydration since dryness is one of the main manifestations of dermatitis,” says the expert.
Also, being a natural antiseptic and antibacterial, it deposits and acts on all pathogens on the skin’s surface.
On the other hand, its natural anti-inflammatory capacity acts on the itching, redness, and skin inflammation.
Halotherapy (salt cave) vs thalassotherapy: What’s the difference?
A different therapy with large salt doses is slowly opening a gap and making its way into society.
Thalassotherapy is a therapeutic method that uses seawater, mud, algae, and sea breeze as necessary agents for physical and mental balance and even contain anti-tumor or antibacterial characteristics beneficial to all human beings.
Thalassotherapy comes from the Greek thalasso (sea) and therapeia (therapy).
One of the main characteristics of thalassotherapy is that its techniques can be both natural and artificial, but, as a whole, all of them aim to take advantage of the elements of the entire marine environment to treat all types of injuries or ailments.
- More than 80 elements are important for proper body functioning, which acquires balance through an osmotic process
- Water fluids with low salt concentration are combined with other fluids with high amounts of nutrients
The ideal temperature required for this technique fluctuates between 95 and 98 ºF. The body needs to absorb the ozone and iodine present in the air, in addition to sodium.
These components are filtered through the pores, helping your skin to regenerate faster.
It is a technique with the greatest relaxing power to promote the body’s defenses along with thermotherapy.
Thalassotherapy can be taken as a medical complement in a specialized center or direct contact with nature.
Interestingly, you can also enjoy a natural “wave massage” by the ocean’s movement.
As we know, thalassotherapy can be used for the treatment or prevention of diseases; however, some restrictions should be taken into account before accessing this therapeutic alternative.
In chronic processes or various problems in the locomotive system (rheumatism, osteoporosis) is a highly recommended technique.
It is also useful in the post-operative stage or in respiratory (asthma, pharyngitis) or neurological conditions.
Thalassotherapy controls the process of dermal diseases such as psoriasis, improves vitality, and is an excellent way to get rid of stress, insomnia, or depression.
Even women in the menopause stage can reduce the symptoms of their condition.
In people with allergies, infectious or cardiorespiratory diseases, it is contraindicated, also in those with severe hypertension, acute fever, or cancer.
It is essential to know if you will start the treatment with basic hygiene measures and if its personnel is competent for this function.
Once your doctor approves to start the therapy, he or she will be the one who will indicate an adequate technique for you.
Thalassotherapy, additional benefits
Thalassotherapy is a treatment that seeks to cure the body of various ailments through seawater.
The therapeutic method consists of seawater properties, such as sea salts, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chlorine, carbonates, sulfates, and phosphates, to relax different body parts.
And if required, the therapy is complemented by seaweed applications, sand, mud, and silt from the sea bed.
Muscular problems, such as tendinitis and low back pain; circulatory problems, such as bruises, varicose veins, and nosebleeds, have been overcome thanks to thalassotherapy.
Also, in some particular cases related to muscle tissues, under medical acceptance, this type of therapy can be combined with hydrokinesitherapy. It helps work directly on the nervous system. Try it out!
The techniques used here are applied according to the indications given by the treating physician.
According to the person, the possibility of combining all its elements or only restricted seawater use is evaluated.
The results are seen when the treatment is maintained for a consecutive week whose application can include baths, showers, or hot jets.
Peloid therapy uses peloids (a mixture of organic and inorganic substances with mineral, marine, or salt lake water) and psammotherapy (hot baths with sand) to provide heat to the affected area in search of articular or muscular relief.
Algotherapy uses dried or fresh seaweed placed in hot water or poultices (medicine covered in wrappers). It is recommended for patients with glandular insufficiency or skin conditions.
Hydrokinesitherapy. In it, therapeutic exercises are developed inside the water, in a prepared pool.
Hydromassage is the best known of the 4 techniques. It gives a sensation of muscular relaxation and helps to improve blood circulation.
Thalassotherapy has been used since ancient times for therapeutic purposes, but it was not until the 20th century that its incredible usefulness was proven.
The key is undoubtedly found within the chemical elements of the marine environment.
Let’s see which are its components and why they are so beneficial to our organism:
Seawater, the basic element to start the treatment, has substances similar to those seen in blood plasma.
We find a higher amount of sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, potassium chloride, and other elements in a lower marine liquid percentage.
Due to this similarity in composition, it is possible to absorb sea substances into the body (osmosis) to maintain balance.
Furthermore, seaweeds have a positive effect on the body. With such a consistent content of vitamins, proteins, and minerals, the body is protected against bacteria attacks, viruses, or tumor development.
They are also used to treat diseases such as anemia or kidney infections.
Sea mud (sludge) has a similar effect to algae because it contains among its components the same substances as the latter.
The mud has natural minerals that it collects from water and soil (iron, magnesium, sulfur, copper) and geological minerals such as quartz.
With sea breeze, we find an additional thalassotherapy benefit.
The application is smeared on the body, covering it with special papers or fabrics that help preserve the heat.
The whirlpool bath
A whirlpool bath has similar characteristics to a jacuzzi. Nevertheless, it has certain particularities that we must take into account.
The whirlpool bath has different nozzles, with the purpose of turning the water internally.
This process is possible employing a motor that is the essence of the hydromassage.
It must also be equipped with a modern lighting system, which is useful to perform chromotherapy sessions.
Interestingly, some spas seem to add flowers or fine fragrances in the water as aromatherapy.
Nowadays, most spas use filtration systems in their baths, thus, avoiding changing the water daily.
Fragrances or other additives used in hot tubs must be 100 percent water-soluble to avoid filters, pump, or heater damage.