If your child suffers from respiratory or skin conditions such as asthma, eczema, hay fever, sinusitis, psoriasis or other issues, you have probably tried lots of treatments to help relieve or prevent their symptoms. Drug treatments are often the first course of action that come to mind and that doctors often recommend, but there are also natural therapies that may be quick and effective in tackling such conditions.
Salt therapy in various forms has been practised for thousands of years. It is an alternative medicine that uses salt to treat health issues. In Australia, salt rooms that deliver salt therapy are growing in popularity. This article will take a look at what salt therapy is, the benefits of salt rooms for kids, any concerns about using this therapy, and where you can find salt rooms in Brisbane.
What is a Salt Therapy?
Modern salt therapy (or halotherapy) usually involves inhaling dry salt particles. It is based on the discovery in the 1700s that workers in salt mines in Europe and Russia were often healthy, less likely to develop respiratory conditions and had good skin. It is believed that breathing in the tiny particles of salt while mining in the caves gave the workers natural health benefits. The conditions inside the caves, such as the temperature, air pressure and humidity levels, are also believed to have helped.
Nowadays, salt rooms are set up to try to replicate the conditions of natural salt caves. The rooms often contain piles of salt on the ground, and may also feature salt-lined walls. However, the main part of the salt therapy comes from a halogenerator — a device that disperses micro-sized particles of salt (pure sodium chloride) into the air. People then spend a set amount of time in the salt rooms in order to breathe in and expose their skin to the salt particles.
The Benefits of Salt Rooms for Kids
Salt has three main properties that make salt therapy effective — it is absorbent, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. According to the Salt Therapy Association, when breathed into the respiratory system, the salt particles can absorb allergens and toxins, and clear the airways. They can reduce inflammation caused by allergies and other issues and open up airways. They can also help prevent bacteria and other viruses. When landing on the skin, the salt can absorb toxins and bacteria, and can accelerate skin rejuvenation.
Due to these properties, salt therapy can have benefits for conditions such as:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- cystic fibrosis
- hay fever
- and more!
Concerns about Salt Therapy
While there is evidence of salt caves giving health benefits, there is some debate over the benefits of using salt rooms. Asthma Australia also raises the concern that dry salt therapy could tighten the airways, which could be dangerous to those with respiratory conditions.
According to the Salt Therapy Association: ‘The climate conditions in a dry salt room therefore must maintain certain temperature and humidity levels and proper ventilation to ensure the efficacy of the salt therapy and provide a ‘clean-air’ environment for the consumer.’
Before Using Salt Rooms
Getting advice from your doctor, paediatrician or respiratory specialist is vital BEFORE trying any new treatment. A medical professional can advise whether therapy is beneficial or potentially harmful.
You should also thoroughly research any alternative therapies you intend to try, especially in relation to real clinical trials and scientific evidence rather than anecdotal accounts. It is also important to find out everything you can about the salt room you intend to visit. For example, what method of salt therapy they use, what type of salt and how much salt they use, what conditions are maintained inside of the room, how they manage hygiene in the room, what medical guidelines they follow, and so on.
You can learn more about salt therapy and its benefits from the Salt Therapy Association at salttherapyassociation.org.
You can visit Asthma Australia for information on their view of complementary therapies at asthmaaustralia.org.au.
The Lung Foundation Australia provides a useful Fact Sheet about Salt Therapy at lungfoundation.com.au.