Apr 30, 2013 02:10PM
● By Yvette Lynn
The benefits of spending time within the unique microclimate found in salt rooms, salt mines or salt caves are largely unrecognized by most Americans. However, they are well known to Europeans, whose physicians and therapists routinely prescribe salt therapy to improve symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, insomnia and chronic ear-nose-throat conditions such as allergies and sinusitis.
Written records dating back to early Roman and Medieval times report that miners noticed improved breathing while working in salt mines. The concept of salt therapy, also known as halotherapy and speleotherapy, was rediscovered in Eastern Europe during the 19th century, when a Polish physician observed that salt miners seldom suffered from respiratory diseases.
Several modern clinical studies have also confirmed salt therapy’s healing effects, including one published in the Journal of Aerosol Medicine that noted a salt mine microclimate proved helpful in the treatment of patients with various forms of chronic, nonspecific pulmonary diseases.
Today, the antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal qualities of salt therapy can be experienced at approximately 20 halotherapy centers throughout the U.S. and Canada. These benefits can also be experienced at home by using a salt inhaler and Himalayan salt mined from the second-largest salt mine in the world, in Pakistan, about 300 kilometers from the Himalayan Mountains. Prized for its purity, Himalayan salt can be enjoyed as a crystal lamp, which also serves as a healthy work of art; as bath salt; or as edible crystal salt.
While it is believed that Himalayan salt lamps emit measurable amounts of negative ions, which are thought to be healthful, no scientific studies have confirmed this. There is, however, proof of the salt’s macromineral and trace mineral content, particularly calcium chloride, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium, all of which were deposited millions of years ago by ancient seas.
Resources: Salt Cave, 4962 Tamiami Trail N., Naples. 239-403-9170; SaltCave.us. Silver Eagle Gallery, 651 5th Ave. S., Naples. 239-403-3033; SilverEagleGallery.com.