Recent years have seen an increase in the use of ' salt therapy ' (halotherapy / speleopathy), an alternative form of treatment that appears to improve respiratory health.
'Salt Therapy' refers to a range of techniques in which salt ions are inhaled with the purpose of enhancing symptoms of lung disease.
This could be by relaxation in salt caves, or artificial salt spaces, which are salt-coated and have salt particles pumped into the air for inhalation by travelers. Certain systems use salt tubing, inhalers, or other tools.
It is claimed that salt therapy recovers patients from a range of conditions, from cystic fibrosis to asthma, eczema and even bronchiectasis and COPD.
There is some historical and anecdotal evidence (word-of-mouth) to support the idea that salt caves are beneficial to the respiratory health of the people. Though, there is no scientific evidence that salt therapy exerts this curative property. Moreover, those who promote salt therapy do not always agree on the type or quantity of salt to use, the method, or the benefits. Their arguments are not founded on reliable scientific evidence or existing recommendations for the treatment. Associate Professor David Serisier has suggested, however, that the concept of inhaling salty water (hypertonic saline) is a useful therapy suitable to some.
Salt therapy is a clinically tested DRUG-FREE treatment that replicates the soothing microclimate inside a natural salt cellar.
This is achieved with the use of high dispersion, diffused saline air. To alleviate health problems such as respiratory and skin conditions, the warm, diffused salty air is breathed in.
Although modern pharmaceutical products offer successful chronic disease relief, there are severe side effects associated with frequent or extended use. Continuous drug therapy is associated with the potential development of allergic or toxic reactions, development of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms, spreading dysbiosis and compromising the long-term immune system.
Lund Foundation: Australia
Asthma Australa 2012, Salt Therapy http://www.asthmaaustralia.org.au/onAIR/Salt_Rooms.aspx?terms=salt%20therapy Accessed 19/03/2014
Asthma Australa 2012. Asthma and Salt Therapy – treatment or consequence? http://www.asthmaaustralia.org.au/QLD/Asthma_and_Salt_Therapy.aspx?terms=salt%20therapy, Accessed 19/03/2014
Lung Foundation Australia 2012, LungNet News, November 2012, Q&A www.lungfoundation.com.au Accessed 19/03/14
Asthma Australia, ibid.
v Elkins M. et al. January 19, 2006, A Controlled Trial of Long-Term Inhaled Hypertonic Saline in Patients with Cystic Fibrosis
N Engl J Medicine, http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa043900 or DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa043900.
Lung Foundation Australia, ibid
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