Find out more about different salt therapy treatments, distinguish between them and be able to make an informed decision for your respiratory health condition.
Salt therapy has been used for a long time. It was first documented in the 19th century when a Polish physician noticed the health effects on rock salt miners. Many salt sanatoriums were settled in salt mines all over Eastern 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 at home. Here is a comparison analysis of the existing salt therapy methods:
1. Artificial Salt Rooms – Salt Room Therapy
Salt room therapy usually uses a halo-generator to create very fine rock salt particles that are dispersed into a room. The salt room’s walls and floors are covered in rock salt. A session lasts for about 1 hour. Multiple people can relax or exercise in a salt room at the same time, while breathing the salt aerosol. The cost of a session can be anywhere from $30-$60. For lasting results, at least 6 consecutive sessions are recommended. Being exposed for only 45 minutes – 1 hour at a time, the salt aerosol concentration is relatively high and it is controlled by the halo-generator.
There are artificial salt rooms that do not have a halo-generator. The salt aerosol is created by brushing a salt brick with a steel brush. As a result, the concentration of salt aerosol is usually lower than halo-generator operated rooms. Exposure time and cost are the same, but therapeutic effects are lower compared to halo-generator salt rooms. This is because the length of exposure and the aerosol concentration are not correlated.
– easy to use – just breathe and relax
– Short but intense therapy
– Controlled environment
– some may have physical exercise sessions that are beneficial for getting the salt particles deep into the lungs and accelerating the clearing process
– 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, possibly sick;
2. Saltair – Home Salt Therapy device
Saltair line of products are small devices that use ultrasonic technology to create microscopic salt particles. These salt particles are released into the indoor air for long-term breathing. The salt aerosol is created from saline solution and it is similar with the seashore aerosol or the salt mine aerosol. It is recommended to use the device during the sleep hours. 7-8 hours exposure is absolutely necessary in chronic respiratory diseases for lasting results. The concentration of salt aerosol is correlated with the length of exposure in home use. There are no salt deposits on furniture and no bad effects on electronics. It can be used safely by people on low sodium diet or salt-free diet plan, as the salt particles deposit on the respiratory mucosa and are eliminated with the mucus.
– Can be used easily and comfortably at home
– No active user involvement, effective, and no side effects
– Inexpensive – Saltair device comes with 1 year warranty; lifetime span is about 2 years, with good care 3-4 years.
– Can be used safely and effectively by all family members, including infants, elders and pets
– Can be used for respiratory disease prevention to chronic problems
– Offers long term exposure, at least 7-8 hours during the night sleep is recommended in chronic respiratory diseases
– Constant concentration of salt aerosol every night, ensuring constant results
– All people in a bedroom can benefit from a single device
– Can be used in an office setting during work to maximize exposure (SaltAir UV mini)
– It is also a salt therapy air purifier by clearing the indoor air from odours and pathogens
– Upkeep. It needs to be cleaned occasionally and refilled once a week
– Less portable than salt inhaler but can travel with it; the SaltAir UV mini is the office / travel unit
3. Salt Inhalers
These are small, hand-held devices made from plastic or ceramic that are filled with rock salt. The rock salt inside generates micro particles of salt by rubbing against each other and the inhaler walls. You have to breathe through your mouth and exhale through your nose. Start with 15 minutes a day and increase to 1-2 hours a day.
– Sodium sensitive people should avoid shaking ceramic salt inhalers every time they breathe through it and avoid use for extended periods of time
– They are not suitable for small children, under the age of 5, because it needs active user involvement
– Does not offer enough salt therapy exposure in chronic respiratory diseases
4. Salt Lamps
Salt lamps are made from different varieties of rock salt; they come in many colours and shapes. They have an aesthetic look and provide nice, smooth light that looks good in a living room or bedroom. It is claimed that, once they get heated by the light bulb inside, they release an increased number of negative salt ions. It is also well-known that rock salt emits negative ions of sodium chloride naturally.
– 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
– Use salt lamps in connection with Saltair device to extend the therapy in chronic respiratory conditions
– Used alone, they do not provide enough salt ions to make a difference in chronic respiratory diseases
5. Neti Pots
Neti pots are usually made of ceramic, glass, metal or plastic, have a spout near the bottom and a handle on the opposite side. They use saline solution to clean the nasal passages and sinuses. Using the neti pot, the saline solution is introduced into one nostril and let run through the nasal cavity. Using gravity, and along with head positioning, the saline solution goes through the nasal cavity, while the mouth is open for breathing. The application of saline nasal spray is another technique but is relatively inefficient in washing mucus in the entire nasal cavity. Some people also use a small amount of baking soda in the saline solution.
– Easy to use and inexpensive
– Help in cleaning the nasal mucus
– Can be useful in clearing the massive mucus production from nasal passages in sinus infections
– Not comfortable for many people; some may find it quite unpleasant
– Unable to reach small airways as dry salt aerosol does;
– Unable to offer the anti-inflammatory effect of salt therapy that is reached only with long exposure