Halotherapy, derived from the Greek alas, 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. The first mention of spa resorts were in Poland in records dating from the twelfth century. They relate to bathing in mineral waters.
Spa owners sometimes attribute detoxifying properties and a wide range of health benefits to halotherapy. However, 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. Salt's well known drying effect may also help to clean up bronchial secretions. Beyond short-term relief associated with dry environment for those trying to excrete sputum, Norman Edelman of the American Lung Association suspects reported improvement in the health condition of patients might simply be due to the placebo effect.
There are several forms of halotherapy:
- Saline solution inhalations
- Dry salt aerosol inhalations
- Irrigation and lavage
- Saline and brine baths
- Taking the waters (crenotherapy)
- Balneotherapy, the medical use of bathing
- Thalassotherapy, the medical use of seawater
- Kamińska, Katarzyna (2014). Halotherapy. Sulejówek: Salsano Haloterapia Polska. p. Transl. Caryl Swift. ISBN 978-83-937819-1-1.
- Novella, Steven (June 13, 2018). "Halotherapy – The Latest Spa Pseudoscience". Science-based Medicine. Archived from the original on June 17, 2018. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
- Shah, R.,; Greenberger, P. (2012). "Unproved and controversial methods and theories in allergy-immunology". Allergy and Asthma Proceedings. 33 (Supplement 1): 100–102. doi:10.2500/aap.2012.33.3562. PMID 22794702.
- 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.
- "Promising or Placebo? Halo Salt Therapy: Resurgence of a Salt Cave Spa Treatment". American Lung Association. June 9, 2016. Archived from the original on June 17, 2018. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
- 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.
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- 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.