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For anyone who is suffering from irritated skin or a respiratory ailment, salt therapy may be an unusual beauty and health breakthrough. Surprisingly, this form of therapy does not involve devouring that entire bag of sodium-packed chips! Instead, it focuses on creating a calm, therapeutic environment using natural salts in an area known as a salt room or cave. During a session, micro particles of salt are released into the air. The treatments can involve Himalayan rock salt, used in salt lamps and thought to offer anti-inflammatory skin benefits.
Also known as halotherapy, salt therapy has historically been used as a treatment for respiratory illnesses like asthma and bronchitis. For those who suffer from skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis, this form of relief claims to ease inflamed, dry skin. As well, halotherapy is believed to soothe cold or flu symptoms and provide stress relief. It takes place in sessions, which are typically anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes.
Halotherapy was traditionally used in Eastern Europe during the 19th century, but this alternative remedy has recently made a splash at North American salt therapy centres. According to OC Salt Therapy, a California-based centre which specializes in the treatment, halotherapy is defined as “the use of salt mines or salt caves or other forms of salt exposure in the belief that this confers a health benefit.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, Leonard Bielory from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology’s integrative-medicine committee says that salt therapy may only offer a short term health benefit. While it may sound soothing to escape into a rock salt cave and emerge with flawless skin, more scientific evidence is needed to support the powers of halotherapy.