La Salière

Halotherapy: what is it?

The halotherapy or salt therapy ("halos" means salt in Greek) is natural, non- medical, non- invasive, safe and convenient for everyone to treat respiratory and skin diseases. Halotherapy is done in an environment with controlled concentration of salt particle; in a medium which reproduces the natural microclimate of salt mines or salt caves.

Chervinskaya A., Alexandrov A., Zilber N., Stepanova N. Effect of halotherapy in patients with bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis (abstract). XV International Congress of allergology and clinical immunology, Sweden, 1994. - P. 175.

Halotherapy (HT) - is mode of treatment in a controlled air medium which simulates a natural salt cave microclimate. The main curative factor is dry sodium chloride aerosol with particles of 2 to 5 mkm in size. Particles density (0.5-7 mg/m3) varies with the type of the disease. Other factors are comfortable temperature- humidity regime, the hypo bacterial and allergen- free air environment saturated with aero ions.

106 patients (pts) (59 - with allergic, 27 - with nonallergic bronchial asthma (BA) and 20 - with allergic rhinitis) were treated by HT. 15 pts of the control group were given placebo. Each patient received daily one hour sessions across 10-20 days. The clinical state of 85% pts with BA and 90% - with allergic rhinitis improved after HT. The results of HT did not depend on BA type. The positive dynamics of flow-volume loop parameters and decrease of bronchial and nasal resistance measured by bodyplethysmography were observed. FVC and FEV1 initial values and the values of their changes during HT showed a significantly negative correlation - the more marked was bronchial obstruction, the better were the results of therapy. The changes in control group parameters after HT were not statistically significant. The results of HT application demonstrated its efficacy.

Clinical studies results:

After 3-5 sessions of halotherapy 70-80% of the patients (according to nosology) presented some improvements: expectoration of good amount of sputum- it was less tenacious and easier to discharge, better auscultator pattern of the lungs, less frequent occurrence of cough attacks or respiratory discomfort. Some patients with severe and moderate bronchial asthma (BA) (35 patients - 27% of the total number) experienced difficulty in brining up the phlegm and worsening of cough during 3-4 days after 3-4 sessions. These manifestations seem to be due to the temporal bad bronchial drainage resulting from hyper secretion of mucus and discharge of old clots of secretion from bronchi of smaller diameter. Expiratory dyspnea appeared or became more pronounced in 18 patients (15% or cases) at different periods of halotherapy. Those were mainly the patients with exercise-induced asthma and aspirin-induced asthma. None of the patients complained of bad condition during the halotherapy procedures.

By the end of the course of halotherapy all the patients felt better they slept well, had no fatigue or weakness, and their nervous system stabilized. Clinical symptoms analysis demonstrated that the number of asthma attacks and respiratory discomfort cases decreased significantly as compared to the initial ones (81% and 52%, respectively, p < 0.001). The number of asthma attacks controlled by combined medication also decreased (32% and 2%, respectively, p < 0.001).

The cases of cough occurred more rarely (95% and 70%, respectively, p < 0.001), cough became easier and more productive, the amount of sputum reduced, it became mucousal. The number of the patients with signs of vasomotor rhinitis decreased (61% and 24%, respectively p < 0.001).

Corticosteroids were discontinued in 50 % (11 patients) of the patients with corticosteroid therapy (22 patients). Those were the cases when inhaled corticosteroids were prescribed as anti-inflammatory agents. In 7 patients it was possible to reduce the dose, 41 patients (60% of patients who inhaled beta- agonists) were able to discontinue beta-agonists or reduce the dose.

Reduction (or cancellation) in bronchodilator and inhaled corticosteroid consumption was an indicator of clinical benefit. The clinical state of 85% of the pts with mild and moderate BA, 75 % with severe BA, 98%- with chronic bronchitis, bronchiectasis and cystic fibrosis improved after halotherapy. The patients were examined 6 and 12 months after the first halotherapy course. No aggravations of the disease were seen from the 3d to the12th month. The average duration of the remission was 7.6-0.9 m. Most of the patients (60%) used no medication and sought no medical advice.

Halotherapy for Treatment of Respiratory Diseases

The main agent of halotherapy is dry aerosol of sodium chloride, which relieves bronchial inflammation, eliminates pathogens (pollen) and accelerates the transport of mucus, while strengthening the immune system.
Who is it recommended for?

The salt therapy is recommended to people suffering from:

  • Bronchial asthma
  • Allergy
  • Cough (for smokers)
  • Chronic stress and fatigue
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Otitis
  • Sinusitis
  • Tonsillitis
  • Cough
  • Chronic Diseases ENT
  • Pharyngitis
  • Dermatitis
  • Eczema

A little history

Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, was the first to recommend exposure to aerosols of sodium chloride for the treatment of respiratory diseases. Asthma, allergies and other respiratory ailments were treated by inhalation of vapors of salt and water, inhaling the salty air at the seashores and oceans, and inhalation of vapors in salt mines.

Speleotherapy (therapy in salt mines) has been used for a while now, and is based on the beneficial effects of dry aerosol of sodium chloride, as well as the favorable medium from the point of view of temperature, humidity, reduced microbial load and lack of allergens in the environment.

Described in 1843 by F.Bochkovski, this therapeutic method is difficult to apply because of the limited number of places in the salt mines, but also because of the need to move to that environment. That is why in several Eastern-European countries (like Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, the Baltic States) and in Scandinavia, Austria and Germany , artificial salt caves have been developed to allow people to enjoy the benefits of this technique.