Salt therapy, also called halo-therapy, is all the rage these days. Spas across the country and throughout the city now offer this form of holistic healing, which aims to deliver the benefits of pure Himalayan salt in alleviating upper respiratory conditions such as sinus infections, allergies, hay fever, and asthmatic attacks.
One of my daughter’s classmates perpetually has a snotty nose. It got to the point where, this past winter, she had a chronic ear infection that prevented her from attending school. Her parents took her to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist and learned that she has enlarged adenoids. The doctor recommended a surgery to “shave away” her adenoids. Nervous to give their young daughter surgery, the parents decided to get a second opinion. The second doctor recommended that they try some natural solutions, including halo-therapy. So 2 to 3 times a week, they have been taking their daughter to various salt rooms around the city to receive halo-therapy. Low and behold, after several weeks, they reported a drastic reduction in her runny nose and an improvement in the quality of her sleep.
I also have a fertility patient who has been struggling with asthma. Trying to reduce usage of asthma medications, she’s eliminated dairy completely from her diet and also adopted halo-therapy into her lifestyle with great success.
Intrigued by these stories, I decided to further investigate the scientific benefits of halotherapy and give it a try myself as I personally suffer from seasonal allergies as well (sneezing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes).
What is halo-therapy? What are the benefits and how does it work? Halo-therapy is a holistic treatment in which a room imitates the natural microclimate of a salt cave by circulating a high concentration of saline aerosol in a salt-layer lined room. However, halo-therapy is a treatment in which the description does the experience no justice. The salt room is beyond cozy and serene. The first thing you’ll notice upon entering the room is the purity of the air quality. The walls are typically lined with pink Himalayan salt, which can be backlit to emit a rosy glow. There will be a machine in one corner, called a halo-generator, which emits particles of pure Himalayan salt into the air. You relax into a zero gravity chair and bask in the salt infused air for 30 minutes.
Himalayan salt reduces negative ions in the air, therefore purifying it. Research shows that patients with bronchial asthma and allergic respiratory conditions who receive salt therapy experience lowered inflammation (Lazarescu et. al., 2014). Studies also show that salt therapy for asthmatic children has promising benefits (Bar-Yoseph et. al, 2017).
After a half hour of salt therapy, I found that my sinuses were more clear and my eyes less itchy. I don’t expect drastic results with one exposure, but I’ll definitely be returning a couple more times this week in addition to getting regular acupuncture during this allergy season to help manage my symptoms. You should give it a try, too!
Bar‐Yoseph, R., Kugelman, N., Livnat, G., Gur, M., Hakim, F., Nir, V., & Bentur, L. (2017). Halotherapy as asthma treatment in children: A randomized, controlled, prospective pilot study. Pediatric pulmonology, 52(5), 580-587.
Lazarescu, H., Simionca, I., Hoteteu, M., Munteanu, A., Rizea, I., Iliuta, A., Dumitrascu, D., & Dumitrescu, E. (2014). Surveys on therapeutic effects of “halotherapy chamber with artificial salt-mine environment” on patients with certain chronic allergenic respiratory pathologies and infectious-inflammatory pathologies. Journal of medicine and life, 7(Spec Iss 2), 83.