Halotherapy, derived from the Greek halos, meaning "salt", is a form of alternative medicine which makes use of salt. Numerous forms of halotherapy have been known of and used for millennia. One finds the first mentions of spa resorts in Poland in records dating from the twelfth century. They relate to bathing in mineral waters. Locations exist in the United States and Canada that attempt to reproduce the atmospheric salt concentrations found in Polish halotherapy spas. It is also possible to acquire devices that can be used in the home to diffuse dry salt.
Some medical health experts have concluded that halotherapy is an unproven treatment that lacks scientific credibility. Methodological limitations call into question studies that showed improvement in symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease following halotherapy.
However, the American Lung Association points out empirical evidence observed in 1843 by a Polish physician by the name of Feliks Boczkowski, as well as by German Dr. Karl Hermann Spannagel in the mid-twentieth century, indicated actual improvement in respiration by being in the vicinity of salt air.
Inhalation of hypertonic saline can stimulate bronchoconstriction, which may be used in the diagnosis or evaluation of asthma symptoms. Salt's well known drying affect may also help to clean up bronchial secretions.
There are several forms of halotherapy:
- Saline solution inhalations
- Dry salt aerosol inhalations
- Irrigation and lavage
- Saline and brine baths
- Taking the waters (crenotherapy)
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- Alternative medicine
- Balneotherapy, the medical use of bathing
- Nasal irrigation
- Thalassotherapy, the medical use of seawater
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- Melnick, Meredith. "Halotherapy: Is Salt Treatment for Real". TIME.
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- Rashleigh, Rachel; Smith, Sheree (February 21, 2014). "A review of halotherapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease". International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. doi:10.2147/COPD.S57511.
- Editorial Staff (2016). "Promising or Placebo? Halo Salt Therapy: Resurgence of a Salt Cave Spa Treatment". EACH Breath (June 9, 2016).
- Borges, MC; Ferraz, E. "Protective effect of bronchial challenge with hypertonic saline on nocturnal asthma". Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research. doi:10.1590/S0100-879X2008000300006.
- Salt therapy is finding new fans, but doctors remain skeptical – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
- Dunning, Brian (2013-08-13). "Skeptoid #376: Salt Therapies". Skeptoid. Retrieved 2017-06-15.