Find more about different salt therapy methods of treatment, distinguish between them and be able to take an informed decision for your respiratory health condition.
Salt therapy has been used for a long time and 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 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 at home. Here is a comparison analysis of the existing salt therapy methods:
1. Artificial Salt Rooms – or Salt Room Therapy
Salt room therapy usually uses 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 are recommended for lasting results. Being exposed for only 45 minutes – 1 hour at a time, the salt aerosol concentration is relatively high and it is controlled by the 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. Here, the concentration of salt aerosol is usually lower than in halogenerator operated rooms. Exposure and cost are the same. Therapeutic effect is lower than in a halogenerator salt room due to the fact that the length of exposure and 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
This is a small device that uses ultrasonic technology to create microscopic salt particles. These 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 night sleep, to offer 7-8 hours exposure; this 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 comfortable at home, no active user involvement, no side effects and effective
– 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 animal pets
– Can be used from prevention to chronic respiratory diseases
– Offers long term exposure, at least 7-8 hours during the night sleep, essential 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, maximizing exposure
– Upkeep. Needs to be cleaned occasionally and refilled once a week
– less portable than salt inhaler but can travel with it
3. Salt Inhalers
These 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.
– Sodium sensitive people should avoid shaking the salt inhaler every time they breathe through or 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 salt therapy exposure in chronic respiratory diseases;
4. Salt Lamps
Salt lamps are 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 release 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.
– 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
– In chronic respiratory conditions salt lamps can be used in connection with Saltair device to extend the length of salt therapy during the day
– Used alone, not 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 and 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 it run through nasal cavities, using gravity and along with head positioning, 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. A small amount of baking soda is used sometimes.
– 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
– cleaning is limited to nasal passages and not able to reach small airways as dry salt aerosol does
– anti-inflammatory effect of salt is reached with long exposure, that saline irrigation cannot offer