The growing popularity of salt therapy caves has more and more families experiencing — and enjoying — a fun form of holistic treatment.
“Salty Hair, We Don’t Care!” That’s what a mom posted on Instagram after leaving a recent salt therapy session in Orange County, along with a picture of her young son looking like he had greyed way too young. Her son is prone to respiratory issues that become aggravated by colds, weather changes, swimming pools, and so on. She found out about salt therapy through a holistic families’ Facebook group; she tried it and noticed that the 45-minute session helped lessen the degree of his attacks. And, if she catches it quick enough, can sometimes nip it before it sends him into breathing treatments.
Overall, this cold and flu season has been especially hard on families. OC Salt Therapy in Irvine reports having families coming in with lingering coughs from colds they thought they had gotten over months ago, to infants with severe congestion. Many of the families said their colds started back in December and the cough or throat tickle just wouldn’t fully go away. Numerous local families have turned to salt therapy as a holistic option to soothe and potentially reduce or heal flus and colds.
For getting over these lingering coughs, one to three sessions is said to be doing the trick for most. If actively working through a cold, three to four sessions in one week is recommended to keep the mucus thinning (which is part of what the salt does) and which helps aid in expelling it. After week one, many follow-up with one to three more sessions to make sure their lungs are free and clear.
Although salt therapy may sound new to those who have never happened upon it before, it has a very long and interesting history. Salt itself has been used in medicine throughout human history going back to Egyptian times and perhaps even further. In a 1936 article in “The New England Journal of Medicine” about sodium chloride therapy, research doctor, Allen S. Johnson, M.D., noted that practicing physicians of his time were overlooking the importance of “sodium chloride balance in various disease processes” and further reminded readers that “there is considerable evidence that the migration of some primitive people, like those of various animals, have been determined by the quest for salt deposits as well as for food and water.”
More recent studies on another type of salt therapy have been conducted in Australia after surfers reported to their doctors that their airways were clearer after surfing. The medical team was “aware of some evidence that in cystic fibrosis, salt is depleted from the liquid that lines the airways.” They conducted studies on a sterile saltwater and found it to be a useful “low tech” treatment for this disease. We now know that salt binds with water in our bodies and thins mucus so that we can more easily expel it. Even Hippocrates used to recommend the inhalation of salt for respiratory ailments.
Where dry salt therapy, or halotherapy, came into play, goes back to 1843 Poland, when physician Felix Boczkowski, noticed salt miners were free of respiratory ailments. He published his findings and opened a health resort in the Wieliczka Salt Mine. Throughout the 1950s, Halotherapy grew throughout Eastern Europe and Russia with small studies illustrating it’s effectiveness. Salt therapy is widely utilized across Europe, Canada, parts of the Middle East, and Russia. Its popularity is now growing in the United States.
So what to expect when you attend a salt therapy session? You’ll enter a room covered in salt from floor to ceiling, creating the micro-environment of a salt cave—full of beneficial negative ions. A machine called a Halogenerator will grind natural salt into microscopic particles and disperse a dry mist into the room. The microparticles can reach deepest regions of your lungs while you relax in a zero gravity chair or play in the salt with your children.
Salt is antimicrobial and antibacterial, thus helping reduce the spread of germs. The rooms are generally exhausted of the salt-laden air for 10 – 15 minutes in between sessions. Most kids completely love salt therapy and cannot wait to go back. Some parents refer to it as going to the “salt park” and many of the children love making “salt angels.” Families can have fun and get salty together.
For more info on OC Salt Therapy in Irvine, visit www.ocsalttherapy.com
By Cindy Gallant