Halotherapy is a new technique in the UK inspired by the use of salt to treat respiratory system problems. It’s based on Speleotherapy, which is a treatment done in the atmosphere of salt caves.
According to some ancient facts, this therapy was initiated by medieval monks that led their patients to salt caves and let them breathe salt particles from crushed stalactites.
However, the use of salt for medicinal purposes dates back even further. The ancient Greeks knew the value of herbal remedies based on salt and discovered its expectorant powers. Healing methods of Hippocrates (460 BC) made frequent use of salt and specifically mentions inhalation of steam from salt water for relief of respiratory symptoms.
Already in 1843, the benefits of salt therapy were noted in a book published by the Polish doctor Felix Boczkowski who worked in the salt mine of Wieliczka. He observed a remarkable low incidence of respiratory diseases in salt miners and formulated that the presence of salt saturated air in the salt mine had a healing effect on those suffering from respiratory and lung discomfort. His successor created a spa based on those observations.
During World War II, Dr. Karl Hermann Spannagel noted health improvements in patients who hid in the Kluterthöhle karst salt cave in Germany to escape heavy bombing. He noted that during the presence in the cave his patients cough had diminished and people with respiratory distress breathed easier. Since then, the Kluterthöhle karst salt cave continued to be used for medical treatment of respiratory diseases.
Underground salt caverns were the only method available until 1987 at which point a new technique was developed in Russia. The first salt rooms were built with rock salt mined from underground and carved into blocks. These salt rooms recreated the microclimate of a salt cave in a clinic above ground.
Most recently, salt pipes have become popular as a great method of bringing the benefits of salt therapy to the comfort of your home by reproducing the microclimate found in natural salt caves and mines.
Halotherapy in the UK
With most therapeutic salt mines being situated in Eastern Europe, to do Halotherapy in the UK you only have two methods available: SPAs or salt pipes.
I personally find salt pipes to be the best method since it has no limitations of when and where you can do it, costs way less than visit a SPA or thermal bath and has exactly the same benefits of a salt mine with just 15 minutes of use a day.
There are a couple of manufacturers who sell salt pipes in the UK but the one I recommend is Salitair, which is the brand that was showcased on the “This Morning” show of ITV. You can get your Salitair salt pipe for just £19.95 and start enjoying the benefits in the next day with their 24-48h delivery possibilities.