By Dr. Jonn Matsen, ND
A thousand or so years ago the Romans invaded Romania to take over their salt mines because salt was worth its weight in gold as vegetable foods are inherently high in potassium and the body must maintain an ideal salinity of .09%. Unfortunately for the Romanians, they became the workers in the salt mines. Perhaps unfortunate isn’t the right word, as many of the workers felt they got healthier working down in the salt mine.
At some point the Romans left and the Romanians reclaimed their salt mines and converted them into places where the ailing could sit in the mines and somehow the salt mine air, which is perhaps 1,000 times more concentrated than seashore air, would give healing to the unwell. The benefits have been so consistent that simulated salt caves have been built worldwide so people can get similar benefits. Several tons of salt are put into a ventilated building and should be replaced every three years or so as the salt vapours decrease. While the original salt bed source would have been from the drying of the Mediterranean Sea eons ago, the trend now is to use Himalayan Salt due it being cheaper and it adds an attractive pink hue. Whether the pink hue adds anything to the treatment is debatable.
The customers may sit in lounge chairs for 30 to 60 minutes per session, one to seven times per week. The day after my first visit of 45 minutes I had snot running out of my nose for over three days. The next week I did a second visit followed by similar results. After my third visit the snot reduced and my lung capacity was noticeably improved. My best guess is my lungs were cleaned of smoking residue that I had put in there over 40 years ago.
While the salt therapy is usually recommended for respiratory membranes problems such as asthma and sinusitis, it is clear that systemic detoxification takes place as I’ve seen people with acne and eczema get better. Since detoxification is systemic, caution must be used or one could get an overwhelming detox reaction. If things start breaking out, back off!
While the mechanisms as to how the healing takes place may not be fully understood, it is clear that the salt vapours pass from the lungs into the blood stream where one of the likely benefits is that the high salinity causes the demise of microorganisms detrimental to the human body. Another possibility is that the salt acts as a chelator, removing heavy metals from the body.
I’ve seen Autistic children playing in the salt like children would play on the beach. Their parents say that it has a calming effect on them. This could be due to chelating effects as well as inhibition of microorganisms. One of the concerns of these parents is the cost can be hard to afford when the problem runs so deep and will take much time to heal.
A cheaper and perhaps faster way to do salt therapy is with salt inhaler devices. These are breathing tube devices that have salt inserted inside with small holes above and below so as you breathe through the tube the air picks up the salt vapour and carries it into the lungs and thus into the blood. I’ve used a ceramic and a plastic version and the plastic one, called Salitaire, is clearly better as it is easier to breathe through and picks up more salt vapours than the other. One of the beneficial side effects of using this device is if you wake up groggy, usually ten minutes use will bring up your oxygen levels to normal and clear your mind.
It’s best not to use the Saliatire more than 10 minutes one or two times per day as too much oxygen can reduce memory as I found by trying 45 to 90 minutes per day. Fortunately my memory has greatly recovered with the use of MCT oil. Salitaire comes with a three month supply of salt and costs around $40. If the device is used regularly then the salt should be replaced monthly.