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Cystic Fibrosis And The Salt Aerosol From Surfing

Medical studies started to look to the sea aerosol for cystic fibrosis treatment, and they discovered that the inhaled salt aerosol from saline solution works better than drugs.

Surfers suffering from cystic fibrosis gave medical researchers a clue about the benefits of salt aerosol, says an article on MEDPageToday by CNN.

surfing and cystic fibrosis

Two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine report that cystic fibrosis patients who inhaled a nebulised saltwater solution (salt aerosol) at least twice a day had significantly improved their ability to clear mucus from the lungs and a significant decrease in the number of hospitalizations for lung problems.

"The patients who received just the hypertonic saline got all the benefit, while the patients who underwent pre-treatment with amiloride (a diuretic drug used to boost the hydration effect of the saltwater) had no improvement. We were blown away by this finding, and it sent us scurrying back to the lab where we discovered a novel property of amiloride: It blocked water transport from the blood."

The normal transport of sodium in cystic fibrosis is disturbed due to a gene defect that causes the lung airways surface to be dry and non-hydrated. The mucus is thick and sticky and build up in the lungs. Coughing is not enough, in cystic fibrosis sufferers, to eliminate the thick and sticky mucus. It needs to be fluidized by the salt aerosol to be able to clear it. 

The CNN article concluded "In the Australian study, patients getting the saltwater through a nebulizer had significant improvement in lung function and — perhaps most significantly — they had 56 percent fewer lung exacerbations." The treatment was done using a face mask nebulizer for 15 minutes at a time and the doctor said:

Saltair salt therapy

"If the saline cannot be adapted for a more patient-friendly delivery method, we may be able to use something other than salt to achieve the same effect."

Through home salt therapy the saline solution is transformed in microscopic particles of salt and released into the indoor air to breath them during the night. No mask on the face, no mouth piece, no inconvenience – just free breathing, as being at seashore. It is very easy to use, natural and efficient.

Read the CNN article here: http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/conditions/01/18/cf.saltwater/index.html

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Salt therapy methods of treatment

Find more about different salt therapy methods of treatment, distinguish between them and be able to take an informed decision for your respiratory condition.

Salt therapy has been used long ago and was first documented in the 19th century when a Polish physician at a salt mine noticed the health effects on miners. Many salt sanatoriums were settled in old salt mines all over East European countries… more here “Salt Therapy – from History to Modern Approaches

Since travelling is costly, other salt therapy avenues were developed to fulfill the need for inexpensive, convenient and effective salt therapy. Here is a comparison analysis of the existing salt therapy methods:

1. Artificial Salt Rooms

Usually they use a halogenerator to create very fine rock salt particles that are dispersed into the salt room for breathing. The walls and floors of the salt room are also covered in rock salt. A session is about 1 hour in length and 2-3 or more people are relaxing or exercising in a room while breathing the salt aerosol. The cost of a session can be anywhere between $30-$60 and at least 6 sessions would be recommended to have results. Being exposed for 45 minutes – 1 hour at a time the salt aerosol concentration is relatively high but controlled by halogenerator.

There are artificial salt rooms that do not have a halogenerator. The salt aerosol is created by brushing a salt brick with a steel brush to generate fine particles of salt. The concentration of salt aerosol here is usually lower than in halogenerator operated rooms. Exposure and cost are the same. Therapeutic effect is lower here than in a halogenerator salt room due to the fact that length of exposure and aerosol concentration is not correlated here.

Pros:
– easy to use – just breathe and relax
– Short but intense therapy
– Controlled environment
– some may have physical exercise that is beneficial for getting the salt particles deep into the lungs

Cons:
– Expensive $30-$60 per one hour visit and minimum 6-12 visits needed for lasting results
– Travel to site
– No privacy! Most salt rooms are small and have to be shared with other persons, mostly being sick;

2. Saltair, home salt therapy device

Is a small device that uses ultrasonic technology to create and release microscopic salt particles into the indoor air for breathing. The salt aerosol is created from a saline solution and is similar with seashore aerosol or salt mine aerosol. It is recommended to be used during the night sleep, offering 7-8 hours exposure, absolutely necessary in chronic respiratory system diseases, for lasting results. The concentration of salt aerosol is correlated with the length of exposure and home use. No salt deposits will be noticed on room furniture and no bad effects on electronics. Sodium sensitive people are not to be concerned because there is no significant apport of salt in the body.

Pros:
– Use in comfort of home, easy to use, no active involvement of the user, no side effects and effective
– Inexpensive –  $99.99 a Saltair device that will last at least during 1 year warranty; lifetime span is 2 years.
– Can be used safely and effectively by all family including infants, elderly and animals
– Can be used from prevention to chronic respiratory diseases
– Offers long term exposure, at least 7-8 hours during night sleep, essential in chronic respiratory diseases
– Constant concentration of salt aerosol every night, similar with the seashore aerosol, very safe in all cases
– All people in a room/ bedroom can benefit from a single device

Cons:
– Upkeep. Needs to be cleaned occasionally and refilled once a week
– less portable than salt inhaler but can travel with it

3. Salt Inhalers

Are small hand-held devices made from plastic or ceramic, filled with rock salt. The rock salt inside generates micro particles of salt by rubbing against each other and inhaler walls. You have to breathe through mouth and exhale through nose, starting from 15 minutes a day and increase to 1-2 hours a day.

Pros:
– Small and portable; fits in a pocket
– inexpensive $35-$38
Cons:
– Sodium sensitive people should avoid shaking the salt inhaler every time they breathe through and use it for extended periods of time, especially in ceramic salt inhalers where more salt particles will be generated by shaking.
– They are not suitable for small children, under the age of 5 because it needs active involvement of the user – hold it and breathe through it in a specific way.
– Difficult for children over 5 and even for some adults
– Does not offer enough exposure in chronic respiratory diseases

4. Salt Lamps

Made from different rock salt, they come in many colours and shapes. They have an aesthetic look and provide nice, smooth light, looking good in a living room or bedroom. It is claimed that they releases negative ions of salt once they get heated by the light bulb inside. However, it is known that natural rock salt naturally emit negative ions of sodium chloride.

Pros:
– Have an aesthetic look and provide relaxing, smooth light at night
– Have amazing visual impact on people
– Use natural rock salt known to have beneficial relaxing effects

Cons:
– Not enough salt ions to make a difference in respiratory diseases