Speleotherapy and Asthma, Allergy and Other Respiratory Diseases
Speleotherapy or underground climatotherapy is an alternative or complementary method of therapy for asthma and other respiratory diseases that is used in Eastern and Central Europe for many, many years.
This involve spending 2-4 hours a day underground, in salt caves or mines for over 2-3 months period, but the results are impressive. The salt micro particles, salt dust, reach the lung alveoli, bronchi, bronchioles and clear all the airway passages, in upper and lower respiratory tract. Due to the fact that the inhaled saline has mucokinetic, bactericide, hydrophilic and anti inflammatory properties, will help to reduce inflammation leading to widening of the airway passages, kill bacteria and restore the normal transport of the mucus and unclog the blockages.
Although not known in North America, salt therapy is an old and very popular method of therapy in the Balkans, Europe. There are many salt sanatoriums in the heart of the salt mountain and doctors are involved in clinical researches, in some countries the treatment being covered by the health minister.
An old study describes a speleotherapy course which was 4 hours a day for 6-8 weeks, with 100 COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and asthma patients and reported improvement which lasted 6 months to 7 years (Skulimowski, 1965). Similar studies are published in Pub Med (MEDLINE) from Poland,Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Russia.
Recent clinical study at Pulmonary Clinic, Ambulatory Section, Timisoara, Romania, on a lot of 30 patients (19 Asthma, 11 Chronic Bronchitis) revealed that use of a speleotherapy device (also called Halotherapy device) for a time period of one year significantly reduced the sore throat, nasal obstruction, snoring, cough, sputum secretion, associated rhinitis, annual hospitalization and the symptomatic medication intake. Also have shown significant improvement of sputum elimination, olfactory sense recovery (smell, taste), sleep at night, morning condition and clinical state.
Another clinical study at Cystic Fibrosis Center, Timisoara,Romania, on a lot of 18 patients with Cystic Fibrosis using the same device showed a significant reduction of sputum secretion and crackles at auscultation and improvement of respiratory functional syndrome, sputum elimination and general clinical state.
Allergic rhinopathy study, 22 patients poly-allergic with house dust as main allergen – it shown significantly reduction of nasal obstruction, sneezing, headache, cough and significant improvement in quality of sleep, serous-mucus rhinorea, sputum consistence and elimination, general clinical state.
A clinical study on a lot of 63 patients with Otitis Media in children – ear infection – for more then one year shown significant reduction of moderate and severe clinical symptoms, drug intake, serous-mucus secretion after tympanotomy. Significant improvement in easy breathing, effort capacity, intellectual capacity, tube tympanic drainage and general clinical state.
Speleotherapy could be an alternative method of therapy as well as a complementary method of therapy. “Alternative” should imply “instead of” western medical procedures, conventional treatments and “complementary” should be “in addition to”, in both cases, with very good results leading to a reduction of antibiotics and corticoids intake and decreasing the rate of annual hospitalization and asthma attacks.
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