Halotherapy is the breathing of salty air. It is an alternative treatment that has been used since medieval times. In Eastern and Central Europe, underground halo salt caves have long been claimed to provide numerous health benefits.
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Going into salt caves for therapeutic purposes is known as speleotherapy (speleo being the Greek word for cave). Halotherapy involves inhaling salt microparticles above ground to mimic the microclimate of salt caves. Even Hippocrates is said to have known about the benefits of salt caves.
There are two types of halotherapy, dry and wet methods. The dry method of halotherapy is free of humidity and uses dry salt microcrystals, whereas wet halotherapy uses a mixture of salt and water in the air. A typical salt room delivers 5 mg of dry salt aerosol (with particles ranging from 0.1 to 5 microns) into the air during a 1-hour session.
The usual halotherapy plan entails 14 1-hour sessions over 2 months with a 48-hour break in between sessions, with an initial course of 4 sessions being recommended to check for a beneficial effect. A brief worsening of symptoms may occur prior to improvement, which has been termed “speleo-reaction.” This may be due to the breaking up of mucus and its subsequent draining increasing cough.