What is Salt Therapy or Halotherapy, its benefits, side effects and forms

“Salt water is the cure for everything”. This is one of the most known saying which reflects the wondrous effects of salt or saline solution. There are various ways salt is used to treat various health conditions, especially those of respiratory system and also improve the functioning of immune system. Use of salt or salt vapour in a therapy that is beneficial for healing various health conditions like respiratory problems, skin irritation etc, naturally; is known as Salt therapy. This salt therapy is also known as Halotherapy. In this current article we will talk about salt therapy or Halotherapy, its various forms and various benefits.

What is Salt Therapy or Halotherapy

What is Salt Therapy or Halotherapy?

Salt therapy is also known as halotherapy, which originates from the Greek work Halo, meaning “Salt”. This is a wonderful therapy which makes use of the salt for treating various health conditions and healing wounds. Salt being anti-inflammatory aids in reducing the inflammation of the respiratory system and also enhances our immune system. Being a natural alternative therapy, Salt therapy or Halotherapy is safe, non-invasive and is also very much relaxing. This therapy is used in medical field and also in the spa industry all over the world.

What Makes Salt Therapy or Halotherapy A Wonderful Healing Therapy?

It is known that the negative ions have tremendous health benefits. They are known to balance the effect on our autonomic nervous system, thus leading us to relax and stay calm. Apart from this, the negative ions are also beneficial in increasing the oxygen flow in the blood, purify the blood and strengthen the immune system in the body, aids in improved digestion, and also helps in cell rejuvenation.

Now, Salt therapy or Halotherapy makes use of the dry negatively ionized salt and the precious minerals along with the relaxing and comfortable experiences. Thus, salt therapy or Halotherapy is known to be a wonderful healing therapy, especially beneficial in reducing the symptoms of respiratory problems, digestive system and also helps in improving the immunity.

Various Forms of Salt Therapy or Halotherapy:

Below are some of the most important forms of salt therapy or Halotherapy:

  1. Saline Solution Inhalations:

    There are saline solutions inhalations (Wet inhalation) where the salt aerosol can be administered in inhalation with the help of nebulizers in case it is used as an individual therapy or can be used in an open space in the coastal areas and in the vicinity of graduation towers.

  2. Dry Salt Aerosol Inhalations:

    In case of dry salt aerosol inhalations, the aerosol is the active therapeutic substance which is originated from the atomising of dry substances with the help of a dry salt aerosol generator or the halogenerator. While an effective treatment via inhalation treatment; breathing sessions are conducted so as to assist the aerosol to make its way successfully to the desired parts of the respiratory system. Studies tell that such a form of salt therapy can be an effective natural treatment for asthma, allergies, sinusitis and few other respiratory problems.

  3. Irrigation and Lavage:

    • Irrigation and Lavage in Treating Diseases of Oral Cavity: Treatments via irrigation and lavage for curing diseases of the oral cavity is done with the use of saline water. Here, the salt water contains a salinity of between 2% and 3% and is used at a temperature of 37 degree Celsius. The treatment of inflammatory processes is supported by the irrigation and lavage of peridontium; which help in eradication of pathological secretions and reduce the number of microbes, and also work in order to reduce bleeding and swellings.
    • Gargling: Salt Therapy or Halotherapy is also used in gargling where you need to take a mouthful of the saline solution, tilt your head back and pronounce the vowel sound of “A”. By doing this, the air passing through the larynx distributes the salt water around the entire throat and the laryngeal vestibule. This help in treating throat infection, swelling and tonsillitis etc.
    • Gynaecological Irrigation and Lavage: Saline irrigation and lavage treatment procedures are most frequently used in treating chronic inflammatory conditions of gynaecological diseases. A concentration between 3% to 4% and a temperature of 37 degree Celsius is administered for vaginal irrigation and lavage.
    • Respiratory System Irrigation and Lavage: Such a salt therapy treatment eradicates all the debris and bacteria from inside the nose and sinuses. Here in this case, a warm isotonic solution at a concentration of 0.9% is used which help in softening and dislodging internal deposits; and cleansing every recess thoroughly becomes possible with the help of gravitational force.
    • Colonic Irrigation and Lavage: Colonic irrigation and lavage using salt water has a direct impact on a diseased organ. During this process of salt treatment, water at a temperature of between 39 and 44 degrees Celsius is introduced in to the rectum and the large intestine in measures of 500 ml to 1000 ml. This in turn makes the residual contents from the large intestine flush away and thus the mucus membrane is cleansed. As there is a use of warm salt water in the treatment procedure, the warming action puts an alleviating effect on spasmodic conditions. Around 5 to 15 litres of water is used during one session of treatment via colonic irrigation and lavage employing salt water.
  4. Saline and Brine Bath:

    Saline and brine bath is one more form of the salt therapy or Halotherapy which makes use of salt water and brines and the treatment involves bathing. It must be noted that briny waters are used in case of the young children, older people, and the people who are usually ill or unfit and also during the start of a course of the therapy. There are weak baths and strong baths in this saline and brine bath of salt therapy. A 0.5% to 1.5% concentration of sodium chloride water is known to be a weak bath while a strong bath contains above 1.5% concentration of the sodium chloride water. The temperature is kept at between 34 to 37 degree Celsius in weak bath; while the strong or hot bath uses a temperature of about 38 to 40 degrees Celsius.

  5. Crenotherapy (Taking the saline water):

    Crenotherapy is a treatment where the treatment is in the form of drinking therapeutic waters. In case of the crenotherapy treatment with the sodium chloride water, a 0.3 to 1.5% concentration is used. Depending on the concentration of sodium chloride, the water act in different ways on the body. The prime aim of Crenotherapy form of salt therapy is to induce local activity in the Urinary tracts or in the gastrointestinal tracts and general activity in the form of providing both water and mineral content to the body.

Benefits of Salt Therapy or Halotherapy:

“A ring of salt will protect you!” Ever came across this quote? Many of us must have been familiar to this from our grandma. Well, salt therapy or Halotherapy and its benefits are beyond mere traditional beliefs. There are some real health benefits from salt therapy or Halotherapy which we will be discussing in this current section of our article.

There are various health conditions and diseases in humans which can be treated with salt therapy or Halotherapy. Some of the diseases which can make use of this therapy for their treatment include the following.

Now, below are some of the most effective health benefits of salt therapy or Halotherapy mentioned in a sequence.

  1. Salt therapy or Halotherapy Benefits for the Respiratory System: Salt therapy greatly helps in treating various diseased conditions of the respiratory system. The dry salt particles act as the “Bronchial brush” which help in clearing the micro-organisms from the bronchi. The sodium ions being anti inflammatory in habit, help in clearing various inflammation and diseased conditions of the respiratory system including asthma, chronic bronchitis, frequent cold, seasonal and dust allergies, sinus problems etc.
  2. Benefits of salt therapy or Halotherapy to the skin: Salt therapy is also known to be beneficial for the skin health. There are various skin conditions which can be treated with salt therapy or halotherapy. Some of the skin conditions which can be treated with this therapy include psoriasis, acne, eczema, dermatisis, edema etc. Apart from this, salt therapy or Halotherapy can also enhance your skin beauty. You can find soft and clear skin after a salt therapy treatment session.
  3. Benefits of Salt Therapy or Halotherapy on Mental Health: Salt therapy is beneficial in improving the mental health in human beings. Salt naturally produces negative ions, which are known to have “Clarity effect”. Thus, salt therapy helps in treating various issues like stress, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, lethargy and also depression issues. Apart from all these, salt therapy in spas or the halotherapy spas actually make you feel totally relaxed, make you feel good about self and allow you a chance to appreciate your beauty and well being.
  4. Beneficial Effects of Salt therapy or Halotherapy on Lungs: Salt therapy wonderfully assist the healing of lungs in the smokers who have quit smoking. Apart from this, the therapy also helps the lungs functioning, improves the stamina and lung capacity in athletes and sports personalities. Thus, salt therapy can be beneficial in enhancing your sports performance and endurance. It is also known that salt therapy helps in treating cystic fibrosis and clearing the lungs.
  5. Benefits of Salt Therapy or Halotherapy on Immune System: Immune system functioning can be improved with the help of salt therapy.
  6. Benefits of Salt Therapy or Halotherapy on Digestive System: It is known that salt therapy can effectively improve the digestive system.

Side Effects of Salt Therapy or Halotherapy:

There are some side effects of salt therapy. Below are some of them.

  • In some people, there may be an increase in coughing after the salt therapy or halotherapy treatment.
  • In very rare cases, individuals might experience eye irritation or conjunctivitis.

NOTE: Kindly do not undergo salt therapy or take proper advice from your healthcare provider, in case you are suffering from health conditions like Hyperthyroidism, acute stage of respiratory disease, lung cancer, recent heart attack, pulmonary tuberculosis, pulmonary mycosis, serious hypertension, fever, any contagious diseases, intoxication including drug and alcohol.

A Brief Note on Salt Spas:

Salt spas or the halotherapy spas or the modern spas with salt caves are the spas which make use of salt therapy for offering you the best of relaxation, where you can relax comfortably in a lounge chair in an extremely peaceful room with soothing music soft play, cool dry and still air with slightly salty tinge. The room in the salt caves is entirely made of salt where there is a deep underground real salt mine undergoing salt therapy. However, there are various salt spas which make use of machines that grind up salt into fine particles and waft it in to the air. Resting in such an environment and breathing the dry cool salty air gets tremendous health benefits and relax you to the best.

A Final Note:

“Relaxation is the best health medicines for well being!” You can get the best of relaxation from this most natural, non-invasive and alternative treatment which make use of salt or salt water for healing and good health. Why not make out some time for self and reach a halotherapy spa or a salt therapy room and spend some time for your relaxation and well being?

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 29, 2019

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