Spending a spa-like afternoon in a salt cave can provide a relaxing retreat. In addition to lowering your stress level for a few hours, dry salt therapy offers some amazing health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at exactly what salt therapy—or halotherapy—is and what it can do for you.
A look at salt therapy
Basically, salt therapy is an alternative medicine technique that involves spending time in a salt cave, salt room, or salt grotto that has a high concentration of salt in the air. These environments can be either active—wherein a halogenerator is used to grind up dry salt and disperse it as an aerosol into the room—or passive, wherein a salt cave is replicated by filling a room with large slabs of salt.
According to the Salt Therapy Association, this type of therapy has a long history. Its origins date back to mid-19th century Eastern Europe, where salt miners in Poland were found to have achieved health benefits. In particular, the salt-infused air underground appeared to help their respiratory system and improve the appearance of their skin. Subsequently, salt therapy was introduced, and salt caves spread quickly throughout Europe.
As a natural medicinal alternative, salt therapy has been shown to have many health benefits. Certainly, some people are drawn to salt caves as a way to relieve the symptoms of various ailments. For others, it’s preventative medicine and part of a regular health regimen. The following are some of the primary therapeutic benefits of salt therapy.
Salt is extremely absorbent and has both anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. When you breathe in salt, it can help to reduce congestion and break down mucus, making breathing that much easier. The airways are cleansed of unwelcome bacteria and toxins. By absorbing such foreign substances, lung function is improved, as is the overall health of your respiratory system. You may find that you’re not as short of breath, have fewer coughing spasms, and become less likely to reach for your inhaler to open up your airways.
It’s not difficult to see that regularly spending time in a salt room can prove therapeutic for common conditions that impact breathing such as asthma, allergies, and bronchitis. Salt therapy can even provide relief for people with more severe illnesses such as cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Plus, if you’re simply experiencing the effects of a cold or flu, you may breathe easier after a salt cave session and recover just a little faster, as the air clears out some of the bad bacteria in your respiratory tract.
Helps to improve oxygen intake
Increased lung capacity can result in improved oxygen intake. The body requires a proper exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide for optimal functioning. Every breath you take is necessary to support mental clarity and improved muscle function, as well as a healthy digestive system. In addition, oxygen is essential in order for your cells to absorb nutrients from food.
More oxygen flow throughout the body helps to raise your energy levels, enabling you to feel better in general, and encourages a more active lifestyle. Moreover, the antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory attributes of salt can help you to fight off illness and boost your immune system.
Alleviates skin conditions
Skin conditions, including acne, eczema, and psoriasis, can be improved by incorporating salt therapy into your health routine. Since salt is an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, it can help to alleviate these conditions. Moreover, the salt used in salt caves contains magnesium, which is known to have therapeutic benefits for your skin.
However, salt has many more helpful minerals. In fact, it has over 84 of them. These are absorbed by the skin and provide nourishment and healing, as they moisturize, strengthen cells, and improve the skin’s microcirculation. Furthermore, salt therapy restores the skin’s normal pH balance, aiding healthy skin growth. When skin problems slowly clear up, you’ll enjoy less itchiness and discomfort, and discover that you may not need to rely on pharmaceuticals.
In addition to improving the condition of your skin, time spent in a salt cave can help to enhance your mood. You may find it beneficial to relax in a pleasant space surrounded by healing salt with soothing music playing in the background. Making a trip to a salt room as part of a weekly or monthly self-care routine can also have some long-term positive effects on your mental health.
You might notice that you achieve more restful sleep and have more energy during the day. When you feel healthier physically, it stands to reason that you’ll achieve better mental health, too. In short, more people are discovering how salt caves can support your overall well-being. These days, you don’t have to look far to find this complementary therapy.