Until recently, I too, had no idea what salt therapy was or why I would even care about it. A few good google scholar searches later and we are talking about it quit a bit in our household. Let’s take a look at some history to begin.
Today’s salt caves or rooms have their origins with salt miners in caves in Europe and Russia. While mining they created micro-sized particles of salt, which similar to coal miners, they had no choice but in inhale. The odd difference? Salt miners were healthier, had better skin and rarely had any respiratory issues. Pretty sure coal miners are not that lucky.
Dr. Feliks Boczkowski founded the first resort type facility offering salt cave experiences in 1839. He offered salt baths using the salt brine from underground and mentions in his book that the underground climate of a salt cave could have benefits for asthma. Big claim here, but it is 1839.
In 1949, German physician, Dr. K.H. Spannahel, who had observed during WWII people who hide in salt caves for safety had some health benefits that he could not ignore. He created the Klyutert cave as an inpatient department to begin research on climate conditions and medical effectiveness of the cave environment. The results of these studies laid the foundation of modern Speleotherapy, which is a modality utilizing the environmental benefits occurring underground. Including humidity and temperature.
In 1958 a new therapy, subterraneotherapy was developed by Professor Skulimowski. He began regular treatments of patients in the salt chambers and was known as the Skulimowski method.
A little later in 1964 the first Allergy Treatment Spa, “Kinga” was created in Poland’s salt mines. Professor Skulimonwski became the director of “Kinga” and focused on helping people with respiratory conditions, but also started to explore the possibility of other health benefits of the salt caves. His methods became a success and began to spread to other salt caves in Europe and into Russia.
In the early 1970’s the medical community was taking notice of these therapies, but access to a salt cave was difficult for many. There was a need for a more accessible place to conduct specific research and studies. By 1985 the first Halotherapy device was developed in Russia at the Institute of Balneolgy. The device mimicked the crushing, grinding effects that occur in the salt mines. Pulverizing the salt particles into a micro-sized dry aerosol. This is the birth of modern day Halotherapy or salt therapy.
To be clear on definitions, Speleoptherapy is a therapy that is provided below the Earth’s surface utilizing the climate conditions and salt air found in natural occurring caves and is not exclusive to salt mines and caves. Halotherapy is dry salt aerosol in a man made environment using a special machine called a Halogenerator to disperse the fine salt particulars in the air.
Just knowing this type of “therapy” has been around since well before good documented science makes me wonder there has to be something to its benefits. I will do some digging into that later, but for now, salt therapy has a long history.
I just can’t seem to get that feeling of laying by the ocean in a Caribbean resort, breathing in the fresh salt air…. yep, please tell me that is what Halotherapy will be like!
Stay tuned for more on potential benefits of Halotherapy. If you just can’t wait check out www.salttherapyassociation.org