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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
SW: Feature Report Channel
Reported March 9, 2010

Salt: Natural Remedy For Breathing Problems?

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- For centuries, many eastern Europeans have believed salt caves are one of the best natural remedies for breathing problems. Salt rooms, spas and caves are now popping up all over the U.S., but does it really work?

They call it the ultimate sand box, but it's more of a salt box. It's about 32,000 pounds of Caribbean sea salt from ceiling to floor. These kids aren't just here to play. They're here for their health.

"The salt air stops you from having a really runny nose and it just makes you feel much better," Mackenzie Radcliffe, a salt room visitor, told Ivanhoe.

It's called halotherapy; breathing in microscopic salt particles to relieve respiratory problems.

"My son suffers from a lot of upper respiratory issues and the days he comes to the salt room are the evenings he goes without coughing at night," Jill Hartman said.

A generator blows the particles into the air while people relax in 45 minute, $45 sessions.

"My allergies seem better," salt room visitor Kay Rosenfelt said. "I haven't taken any allergy medicine in two weeks and I'm not coughing as badly."

"I think people are looking for alternatives," Marines Hoppes, director of The Salt Room in Orlando, Fla., said. "They're looking for some other things to do when their medications don't work anymore, or they're just tired of that."

People in the salt room are looking for relief from mild asthma, allergies and colds. A New England Journal of Medicine study found it was an effective and safe additional therapy for cystic fibrosis patients. Doctors say just don't replace a salt cave for your prescribed meds.

"Nobody should use this as a primary therapy," Kirk Voelker, M.D., F.C.C.P., a pulmonologist at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Fla., explained. "I don't have a problem with it as a long as their asthma is under control and they're doing the right thing, then they can try alternative things."

Robert Gallardo was having trouble breathing at night. It forced his wife to find a new place to sleep. After six salt room sessions…

"I no longer cough at night," Gallardo said. "I don't have phlegm coming up, and she actually moved back into the bedroom, so it's good."

These patients are breathing in the salt air, and hoping to feel better when they return to reality.

Salt spa owners say it takes between four and 12 sessions in the salt cave for most people to see an improvement in their respiratory problems. Doctors say the principle behind the therapy is similar to a lot of nasal sprays that use salt to help with decongestion.

If you would like more information, please contact:

Marines Hoppes
(407) 965-3065 

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