Let's face it... most of us hate the idea of putting medicine, a man-made chemical substance, into our bodies. Plus the fact that medicine costs money. And when you have a chronic illness like allergies and/or asthma, having to take medicine for the rest of your life can definitely be a burden, at least on some level.
But we also like to feel good and be able to carry on with our day to day lives, don't we? So not doing anything to manage our allergy symptoms isn't really the best option either. As a result, many people go in search of a more "natural" solution.
One of the so-called natural therapies becoming more and more popular for treating allergies, sinusitis, eczema, asthma and other respiratory infections and conditions is salt therapy. It's been used for decades in Europe, but has just caught on in the United States the last few years.
Types of Salt Therapy
Salt therapy began in Europe with salt caves, underground caverns with a high percentage of a particular kind of salt crystals, left behind as glaciers retreated centuries ago. Believers reported that spending two or three hours underground in these caverns each day produced relief of respiratory symptoms. In fact, this all started in the late 1800s when it was discovered that Siberian salt mine workers had a surprisingly small number of respiratory problems compared to their contemporaries.
Salt caves or simulated salt cave rooms are now found all over Europe and even in a few places in the U.S. This therapy is called speleotherapy or halotherapy, which means "dry salt aerosol inhalation therapy".
To duplicate that environment of dry salt inhalation, companies, have created medical devices called salt pipe inhalers. These hand-held devices contain special dry salt crystals and have a mouthpiece you inhale through (exhaling through your nose). You can also buy salt crystal lamps that supposedly emit salt ions into the air in a room when turned on.
Other forms of salt therapy include salt solutions that you drink, made with special forms of salt crystals (not just everyday table salt) and saline nebulizers, where a saline solution is turned into a fine mist that you breathe in through a tube from an ultrasonic salinizer device.
All of these devices have their rabid supporters and wild claims of cures and symptom relief.
But Does Salt Therapy Really Work?
If you search the Web for testimonials about salt therapy, whether it's salt caves, salt pipes, salt solutions you drink, salt lamps or salt nebulizers, you are going to find hundreds, or even thousands, of stories from people who have thrown away their pill bottles, inhalers and had complete relief from all of their symptoms. It's really quite exciting to read.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, who has appeared on the Oprah TV show and now has his own popular TV show, is reported to have said the salt pipe is one of his most anticipated alternative treatments to try, but I couldn't find any endorsement or mention of it on his Web site, so I don't know how accurate that report is.
Russia has apparently approved halotherapy, while the UK's National Health Service and Asthma UK have not endorsed it. The U.S. FDA has approved the Himalayan salt pipe as a medical device, but that's not the same thing as saying it actually works.
The New England Journal of Medicine published a study in 2006 suggesting that saline nebulizer therapy was a safe and effective additional treatment for cystic fibrosis patients who had used it for 48 weeks.
So, Who Do You Believe?
Most experts are in agreement that salt therapy is safe and won't harm you. If you're looking for a natural therapy, this seems a good one to try. However, they also say that you should consider it a complementary -- or added -- therapy, not an alternative one (not a substitute for traditional medicine-based treatment).
Search for salt therapy center near you and give it a try.
There are so many beneficial uses for salt. When used as a bath soak, salt does everything from help heal psoriasis and eczema, to help in regulating the activity of more than 300 enzymes, flush toxins, relive stress and revive you. Bathing in Epsom salt helps raise sulfate levels in the body, which can get the detoxification pathway flowing again.
When used as a scrub salt gently cleanses pores and exfoliates (sloughs off dead skin cells to both promote skin renewal as well as reveal the softer, more youthful looking and healthier skin underneath). Exfoliating is imperative for healthy, youthful, glowing skin. Dead skin cells not only clog pores, they also make your skin look dull and lackluster and can make your appearance age. When you exfoliate, you remove the outer layers of dead epidermis (skin) cells, which also speeds up the skin renewal process, allowing smoother, healthier skin cells and reduced wrinkles.
Economical, powerful and readily available, salt is a perfect at-home spa treatment you can both afford and use to make potent products yourself. This cost-effective beauty wonder will not only save your skin and wallet but also eliminate waste from packaging and manufacturing when you buy in bulk and make your own.
Age defying facial scrub:
• 1 teaspoon honey • ¼ teaspoon salt (Finely milled. If you cannot find fine-milled you can put it in a food processer for a few whirls)
• ½ teaspoon strongly brewed coffee, white, green, black or red tea • ½ teaspoon soymilk or cream
Directions: Place all ingredients in a food processer or blender and pulse till combined.
Stress relieving bath soak:
• 1 ½ cups of Epsom salt • 1/8 cup of well ground oatmeal (Try to get as close to a powder as you can with the tools you have at home) • ¼ cup of milk (Fresh or powdered. Powdered is more concentrated)
• 2 drops of lavender essential oil • 3 drops of carrot oil • 2 drops of vitamin E • 2 tablespoons of orange juice
Note: If you use powdered milk you can mix the main ingredients in advance and keep in a sealed container, and add the optional ingredients directly into bath.
Muscle relief soak:
• 2 cups Epson salts • 2 cups dead sea salts • 1/8 cup powdered mustard • ¼ cup sea salt
• 2 drops eucalyptus essential oil • 1/8 a teaspoon fresh ginger • 2 tablespoons of strongly brewed tea of chamomile, licorice, valerian, devils claw or cramp bark
Note: You can mix the main ingredients in advance and keep in a sealed container, and add the optional ingredients directly into bath.
10 Salt Tips And Tricks
1. Removing dead skin cells -- In the shower or bath after soaping gently massage your entire body with salt. It both exfoliates and aids the circulation.
2. Reviving tired, swollen achy feet -- Soak feet in a bowl or basin with a combination of equal parts baking soda, Epsom salts, and sea salts.
3. Mouth wash -- Mix equal parts of salt and baking soda for a mouthwash that freshens breath. Add 1 teaspoon of salt mixture to ¼ cup water.
4. Mosquito bites, poison ivy -- Soak in salt water to relieve itch and irritation
5. Clean your shower or tub -- If you use any type of moisturizer when bathing it can make surfaces slippery. Sprinkle equal amounts of baking soda and fine milled salt on shower floor or bathtub after bathing, and scrub away when finished to prevent oil build up.
6. To detoxify -- Use a combination of 1 cup Epsom salt, ½ cup sea salt and 1 tablespoon of kaolin clay for a detoxifying bath soak.
7. Beach waves -- Mix sea salt, coconut oil and water and put in a spray bottle. Use on wet hair to create the beach wave look when dried. How much salt you use depends on the level of curl you want and coconut oil on dryness of hair.
8. Facial toner for acne prone skin -- Mix 1 teaspoon of sea salt with 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and put in spray bottle. Spray on face (keep out of eyes). Make sure to moisturize your skin as well.
9. For dry calloused feet -- Mix equal parts sea salt with cornmeal and baking powder for a perfect feet treat. Soak feet first to soften, then scrub and moisturize.
10. Brighten your nails -- Forget the fancy pricy nail whiteners; make your own. Mix 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1-teaspoon sea salt and soak nails for reduced yellowing and to remove dirt.