History of Salt Therapy

“Why do we call it ‘Alternative Medicine’ when it is the ‘Original Medicine’ that humans have used for thousands of years?

‘Modern Medicine’ was only discovered 100 years ago!”

– Unknown

Mine over Matter: The Soligorsk clinic is 420 meters (1,378 feet) below the Earth’s surface. The mine’s healing powers are attributed to the absence of microorganisms and the positive effects of the salt-saturated air. Patients undergo treatment for asthma and other respiratory diseases (Photo: Yuri Ivanov) Source: https://www.worldpress.org/Europe/722.cfm

Modern salt therapy has its origins in the salt mines of Eastern Europe & Russia

“Halos” and Ancient History

Halotherapy comes from the Greek word, “halos” which means “salt”. Halotherapy is a natural wellness treatment around the world today that mimics the microclimate of a salt cave.

Centuries ago, European monks found that their patients with respiratory issues healed better when in the environment of a natural salt cave. They then produced salt dust by grinding rocks together which their patients inhaled.

1843: Speleotherapy & the Birth of Modern Dry Salt Therapy

Modern dry salt therapy also known as “Halotherapy” has its origins dated back to the salt mines in Europe and Russia. There, the respiratory therapy called Speleotherapy was performed, which involves the breathing of salt-infused air in a micro-climate of a salt mine. It was first officially recognised as a therapy in 1843 by Polish physician Dr. Feliks Boczkowski, who noticed that the salt mine workers rarely suffered from respiratory issues.

Salt miners who chiseled, grounded and hammered the salt would incidentally inhale the micro-sized produced particles that were dispersed into the air. In addition, being underground, the air pressure, air circulation, humidity and temperature, combined with a lack of airborne pollutants such as radon or pollen provided a conducive environment to enjoy the incidental natural health benefits from inhaling in the salt particles.

Convincd by the positive health benefits he witnessed in the salt mines which he attributed this to the salt aerosols being inhaled by the miners in the underground environment, Dr. Boczkowski founded and opened the first health resort facility at the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland. Throughout Eastern Europe such as Poland, Russia, Belarus, Romania, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Slovakia and Ukraine, this started the trend of others using hollowed-out areas of salt mines, which were referred to as “caves”, as underground health resorts and sanatoriums for therapeutic purposes.

1939-1945: World War II– Klutert Salt Caves, Ennepetal, Germany

During World War II, the Klutert salt caves in the German town of Ennepetal were used as shelter against heavy bombing. People remained in the caves for prolonged periods, breathing in the salt dust. They hid underground from Soviet aircraft attacks. It was later discovered that the underground environment not only saved them from the bombs but also, in an astonishing way, cured many bronchial-asthma sufferers. This fact did not go unnoticed by doctors, many Belarusan ones included.

German physician Dr. K.H. Spannahel noticed that those who had taken shelter in the salt mines appeared to have experienced relief from their respiratory problems.

1973: European Clinical Studies on Salt Therapy

European studies dating back to 1973 demonstrate that dry salt aerosol is more effective due to enhance bactericidal, muco-kinetic and anti-inflammatory properties in its ability to reach the smallest airways. However, in the United States, there have been many studies mainly done on “wet salt” aerosols and its positive effects on respiratory function.

European clinical research and testimonials suggest that a significant number have successfully improved their breathing and achieved natural symptom relief. But realising that most people didn’t have the time to spend in a salt mine or “cave”, nor the financial resources to travel to these caves, the Russians started to investigate developing the technology of how to recreate the microclimate of these micro-sized particles for inhalation.

1976: The Birth of Halotherapy

In 1976, doctors and scientists at the Odessa Science Research Institute in Ukraine created the first halogenerator. It replicated the conditions of underground salt mines, with the grinding and crushing of salt and dispersion of the air-born salt particles. It became the above-ground alternative for Speleotherapy. Thus, the modern-day Salt Therapy, known as “Halotherapy” was born.

1991: The Rise of Halotherapy outside of Europe

After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Halotherapy began emerging outside Eastern Europe. With air pollution and respiratory health identified as one of the major wellness trends, Halotherapy is now gaining popularity quickly across the Western countries and developed nations. It is now used as a complementary natural therapy to aid respiratory and skin conditions, athletic performance and general health and wellbeing.

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