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Pass the salt? We’re normally told too much salt is bad for us, but not in this case. If the thought of sitting in a salty igloo surrounded by the soothing sound of waves is something that tickles your fancy, then Salt Therapy is for you. Salt Therapy (or Halotherapy - “halos” means salt in Greek) is a treatment which is said to treat allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions.

'''How it works'''

Halotherapy is a drug-free, completely natural way to help many conditions, including asthma, pneumonia, hay fever, bronchitis, sinusitis, cystic fibrosis, eczema, and psoriasis. The therapeutic value of salt for respiratory conditions has been recognised as having natural healing powers, with the ability to reach bacteria and mucus in the lungs when it is breathed in. The ‘caves’ recreate conditions found in natural salt mines, with salt drifts everywhere, underfoot and lining the walls. This is for decorative purposes as well as to keep the room hygienic and bacteria-free, as the medical benefit comes from the milled salt in the air which is generated into the cave.

When the particles of dry rock salt are ground up and circulated around the ‘cave,’ they penetrate deep into the respiratory system. As the potassium, magnesium and other minerals are breathed in, the theory is that it cleans out the mucus blocking the airways and helps reduce inflammation, as salt has natural anti-inflammatory properties as well as anti-bacterial uses.

'''Is it for me?'''

The therapy is used to reduce stress, combat sleeping disorders, improve general well-being, and enhance sports performance for athletes. Professional rugby players, marathon runners and bankers have all sought refuge in these salty sanctuaries. These ‘caves’ are all the rage in their native Eastern Europe and across Russia, offering salt therapy to asthma and allergy sufferers as part of their medical care.

Parents will be pleased to know that salt therapy is effective for children, so if your little one suffers from asthma it could well be the natural way to help them breathe. Whether you are prone to allergies or have blocked sinuses, salt therapy is a natural alternative to lotions and potions to help you feel better.

'''Good to Know'''

Salt inhalation has been around since the Greeks, when Hippocrates recommended it for respiratory problems. Some say it is a complementary therapy which helps to control conditions rather than cure, yet a 1999 Lithuanian study of 250 children and 500 adults found that salt therapy for an hour a day for two weeks improved respiratory results in nine out of 10 cases.

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