Salt Therapy for Breathing Health
Read on to discover how salt therapy could benefit you this Summer!
It is no secret that salt therapy, or halotherapy as it is also known, has many benefits for our health, especially for those of use with respiratory conditions or allergy issues. I remember first hearing about its benefits for Cystic Fibrosis in the 90s when salt therapy rooms/caves were first becoming a thing in Ireland. But as I was in my teens and quite healthy with my lung disease, I didn't look any further into it.
As usual, it is generally not until we are on our knees in desperation that we seek help from alternative therapies, especially those that have stood the test of time. Salt therapy is one of those therapies as it has been around for centuries in several different cultures. It was then re-established for therapeutic purposes in the 1840s. Shortly after this discovery, the world of salt rooms and mineral spas was born.
So How Does it Work?
Salt has many healing properties, some of which are;
Balances fluids and electrolytes in the body
Mucolytic effects: loosens excessive mucus
Speeds up mucociliary transport (the clearance of mucus and substances trapped within the mucus)
Removes pathogen agents (e.g. airborne pollen)
Repair skin cells
Who Should Use Salt Therapy?
Basically, anyone that breathes!
But if you have any kind of respiratory condition, skin issue, or allergy, then I'm sure you've come across the benefits of salt therapy by now, but let me refresh your memory. Remembering how this therapy works from the above list.
It is clear that everyone can benefit from engaging in salt therapy but there are a few of us who may benefit even more than the average person, such as those who suffer from;
COVID-19 or 'Long-COVID'
Other respiratory conditions e.g., COPD or Bronchitis
Throat infection or pharyngitis
Acne and rosacea
Fungal infections, e.g. Onychomycosis
Salt therapy can also help with snoring, enhance the performance of athletes, and can even help with anti-aging and wrinkles!
How to Incorporate Salt Therapy into Your Every-Day Life
1. Salt Rooms
Manufactured salt rooms imitate natural salt caves. They are the modern alternative, a convenient way to access the very same benefits that the salt caves offer.
The best salt rooms ship salt from caves in Poland, Romania, etc. The halogenerator then blows pharmaceutical salt and Himalayan salt inside the room during the session.
Mineral salt particles are inhaled and accelerate mucus clearance to help detox the lungs and reduce bronchial inflammation.
There are no microbes or allergens in the salt rooms, allowing the immune system to rest during the session. The salt particles convert positive ions into negative ions. This is vital in increasing our body's immunity.
Salt rooms usually hold 6- 10 people per 45-minute session. I was lucky enough to have the room to myself for my session though :) I just cozied up on the sun lounger with a blanket (the rooms mimic the temperature of natural salt caves so they're a bit chilly!) and read my book. I think I also may have had a quick snooze! You could also do a meditation either as the ambiance is so calming.
Some salt rooms offer children's sessions where kids can access toys or the TV might be on. This is ideal for younger kids as they probably won't even realise that they are having therapy as they entertain themselves!
The price per session is usually approx. €30 and in my opinion is very reasonable and worthwhile.
2. Salt Lamps
Himalayan salt lamps are also a lovely alternative way to incorporate salt therapy into your home or workspace, to preserve the quality of air. They are also extremely calming to be around with their low lighting.
Salt lamps don't have the same strong benefits as salt rooms or other salt therapy options as the salt doesn't circulate around the room, but they are a lovely addition to a space. I have three in different rooms in my home. They cost about €20 and need a small bulb at 15W.
3. Salin Plus Device
This is a new edition in my life since a pollen-filled Summer has hit Ireland, and I've recently been diagnosed with ezcema. The Salin Plus Machine is a quiet salt therapy machine for your home.
The Salin Plus Salt Therapy Device releases dry salt aerosol made from natural rock salt so you can inhale microscopic salt particles all day or night, depending on how you choose to use your machine. The device produces dry salt that is negatively charged. This negatively charged salt is attracted to positively charged surfaces, such as our inner airways.
These devices last for many years, once you change their filters. I did my research before splurging on the €180 device. I asked my community of chronic lung condition sufferers via Instagram if they had used the machine and found it beneficial. I was inundated with positive feedback on the Salin Plus, so decided to bite the bullet and make the purchase.
4. Sea Swimming
Who doesn't love a free therapy?! Sea swimming offers exactly that. It offers similar benefits to the salin plus device and salt rooms. The salty water helps to clear any mucus stuck in the respiratory tract to shift and clear. This is especially beneficial as you exercise your body while swimming.
Sea swimming is also great for skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. The water is also full of magnesium which is great for any muscle or joint issues.
I've recently moved to the coastal county of Wexford, and am now just a 10-minute drive from the sea. I find it therapeutic in so many ways. There's something just so healing about the sea, watching the waves come in and out. It reminds me just how tiny my woes are, watching this natural phenomenon take place.
I love to find a quiet spot among the rocks to do some breathwork or airway clearance if needed. Seaside towns and communities also often organise beach yoga or meditation groups which are an amazingly cheap way to kick start your day off to a healthier state.
5. Salt Sachets
The next time you're at McDonald's or a diner with free salt sachets, pick up a couple of extra packets and put them in your gym bag! Salt is a great pre and post-workout for anyone.
I was working out for years but suffering from terrible headaches and muscle pains after a workout. I started to add salt to my water bottle, and on summer days I would even down a whole sachet or two! Okay yes, it's gross, but it works!
Feel free to connect with me on Instagram and let me know if you try any of these methods out! 💛