You may have seen salt rooms popping up around the Geelong and surrounding region and have wondered what on earth that kind of therapy may be used for? Salt therapy or ‘halotherapy’ has been used traditionally for centuries; the use of ‘salt rooms’ has become increasingly popular for its use in bronchitis, common cough, and skin conditions. I have had chronic asthma for most of my life and had recently heard that this type of therapy is useful for respiratory ailments. While there is no direct scientific evidence to support the benefit of this therapy and no medical guidelines have been developed, I decided to take things into my own hands and give it a shot!
These rooms are designed to replicate salt caves where salt drifts line the walls and floor as well as there being a low concentrate dry salt aerosol piped into the room. Throughout your session, you slowly breathe in sodium chloride crystals that are artificially exhaled into the air of comfortable room temperature (1).
It is thought that over one session microscopic salt particles are inhaled to produce the following benefits (1):
• Decrease inflammation
• Improves expectoration
• Loosen up mucus in the respiratory airways
• Works to inhibit the growth of bacteria and potentially kill them
• Increase phagocyte activity
• Overall improved well-being and relaxation on the central nervous system
I was shocked by the benefits after trying this therapy at two different clinics in Geelong. Both encounters involved sitting in a room with multiple massage chairs, all filled with people. The first time I forgot to bring a book, so I got a little bored towards the end. Immediately after coming out of the room, I was confused that I initially felt worse off than before I went in. However, the receptionist told me that this would subside after a couple of hours (which it did). Going to bed that night I slept like a baby. The following day I was so surprised that I woke without being wheezy for the first time in a while. This relief lasted most of the day and well into the next. I still required my preventative medication the night after and for the remainder of the week, but my symptoms were a lot less severe. My skin also felt and looked great. Win-win.
As a student, I don’t think I could afford to spend $40 on a weekly trip to the salt rooms. Because the effects lasted actually for about 5 days, I would definitely use the salt rooms an again for some relief if I ever develop an acute cold/flu or have a bad reaction to my allergies. For this reason I would recommend utilizing these rooms for the same relief or if you or your children have a chronic respiratory condition too, why not give it a shot and see how it works for you?
1. Endre, L., 2015. Theoretical basis and clinical benefits of dry salt inhalation therapy. Orvosi hetilap, 156(41), pp.1643-1652.
Jade is a final year naturopathy Student at Southern School of Natural Therapies. She is currently seeing patients from the student clinic at their Fitzroy campus.