Scientific Evidence for Salt Therapy
See what science has to say about Salt Therapy!
History of Salt Therapy
Let’s begin with discussing the history of salt therapy and how it came about. Dry salt therapy has its origins from the salt mines and caves in Europe and Russia. As the workers were chiseling and hammering at the salt, micro-sized salt particles were released into the air. Additionally, there were ideal conditions below the Earth’s surface for air pressure and circulation, and humidity and temperature. In this environment, miners were receiving many natural health benefits by breathing in the salt particles. Considering that mining jobs were usually recognized as dangerous to life and health, salt miners seemed surprisingly healthy.
Since this time, physicians have been studying the effects of salt therapy, starting in the 1800s and continuing into modern day. What would become known as the world's first Halotherapy facility was created in 1964 by Professor Mieczyslaw Skulimowski, called the "Kinga" Health Resort Hospital, built actually in the "Wieliczka" Salt Mine in Poland. Professor Skulimowski focused on helping people with mostly respiratory conditions and explored other overall health benefits. In 1985 in Odessa, Russia, the Institute of Balneology (study of therapeutic bathing and medicinal springs), in collaboration with the salt cavers from Uzhgorod, developed the first Halotherapy device. This was a device designed to replicate the crushing and grinding in salt caves of salt that would disperse the particles into the air.
What Does Science Say About Salt?
Salt and the use of saline solutions are not new medical practices. Doctors have been using saline in mainstream medicine for years. Although wet salt therapy has benefits, the overall effectiveness is limited as the wet droplets may have more difficulty reaching the distal airways and deep into the sinuses. Additionally, since the goal is often to to eliminate the excess moisture, this reduces the salt’s therapeutic benefit. There have been numerous European studies dating back to the early seventies demonstrating that dry sodium chloride (salt) aerosol is more effective than wet salt (saline) inhalation. Halotherapy has been recognized in Europe for over 50 years for the treatment of breathing and skin conditions and is commonly used today throughout the world with documented and consistently positive results. It’s also interesting to note that in many countries in Europe, dry salt therapy is not only recognized as a safe treatment, but there are specific protocols around dosing and frequency which are covered by their state and/or country health care program.
While hundreds and thousands of people visit salt therapy facilities every day all over the world and report anecdotal accounts of its benefits, this modality is just taking hold in the United States. The majority of published studies noting the effectiveness of salt therapy are from researchers in Europe. The links below contain a multitude of studies evaluating the benefits of salt therapy, published all over the world.
Salt Therapy Skeptics
Like many complementary and alternative medicine modalities (also called CAM), traditional medical professionals are often skeptical of the effectiveness. Whenever a new modality hits the market, as Salt Therapy has in the U.S., scrutiny always follows. We want you to hear it straight from Leo M. Tonkin, the Founder of the U.S. Salt Therapy Association. Click here to read his article about Salt Therapy skeptics, and his break-down of the misconceptions surrounding the field.