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Salt Therapy for Better Breathing

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to teach a meditation class in a salt cave. Well, not really a cave but it feels like one. The Just Breathe Salt Spa on Main Street in Hyannis is right across the street from the JFK Museum and adjacent to Kilwins ice cream shop (a couple other Cape Cod must see spots if you're visiting).

What I love about Just Breathe is that as soon as you walk in the door, its like crossing a threshold from the hustle bustle of tourist traffic and into a magic lair of serenity and calm.

Owner Syd Milliken created this hidden gem to provide an oasis and healing atmosphere for people managing the stress of everyday life to those living with breathing issues like asthma.

You might be wondering: but salt.. how does it work and why not just go to the beach, which is plentiful here on the island?

Salt therapy has its origins from the salt mines and caves in Europe and Russia. As the workers were mining the salt, micro-sized salt particles were being disbursed into the air. Considering that mining jobs were usually recognized as dangerous to life and health, salt miners seemed to thrive on good health. They rarely had any respiratory issues and also looked younger due to great skin appearance.

Upon studying the effects of this phenomena, Dr. Feliks Boczkowski founded and opened the first health resort facility at the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland in 1839. In 1949, German physician, Dr. K.H. Spannahel observed during WWII that the people who were hiding in salt mines and caves from the bombs had respiratory health benefits.

In 1985 in Odessa, Russia, the Institute of Balneology developed the first Halotherapy device (Halo means salt in Greek). This was a device that was replicating the grinding and crushing of salt that would disperse the particles into the air. One could say that Halotherapy was “born” in the medical environment, in former Soviet Union. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the knowledge of the halotechnology and established Halotherapy protocols became accessible to the rest of the world. Soon Halotherapy claimed its place in more commercial and wellness settings outside of the USSR in Eastern and Western Europe, Canada, Australia and finally the United States.

Halotherapy is provided by sitting in an environment where 99.99% pure grade sodium chloride is ground by a device called a halogenerator into micron-sized particles. These particles are dispersed into the salt room as dry salt aerosol for inhalation and penetration into the respiratory system and surface layers of the skin.

While salt therapy is antibacterial, it is worth noting that studies have not been conducted yet to show whether or not halotherapy will prevent or relieve COVD-19.

Being proactive to take care of your respiratory system is becoming more important than ever.

In addition to the pandemic concerns, air pollution is at an all time high.

Salt therapy is even beneficial for young children! It is a highly recommended natural treatment because there are no harmful side effects. Even babies as young as a month old can respond to salt therapy. The salt helps to boost the immune system and can significantly help to:

  • Reduce the need for inhalers and antibiotics

  • Make breathing easier after a few sessions

  • Improve lung function

  • Alleviate sneezing, coughing, and shortness of breath

  • Clear mucus from the lungs

  • Improve sleep patterns

The salt dissipates mucus from airways to remove airflow obstruction and maintain clear airways. This enhanced lung capacity leads to increased levels of oxygen and red blood cells which positively affect healing in the body. The sodium chloride provides anti inflammatory and bactericidal effects int he whole respiratory tract and helps clear unwanted, inhaled particles from the respiratory tract.

I would love to hear from you in the comments! Have you ever tried halotherapy and if not, are you thinking about it now?

Salt Therapy Association. (2018). History & background. Salt Therapy Association.

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