Photo: Getty Images
If you or your child has asthma, you may think you are doomed to a life of steroids and ventolin inhalers, but there are alternative treatments for asthma and other respiratory conditions.
Salt therapy, officially known as halotherapy, has been shown to be beneficial in asthma cases, bronchitis and even cystic fibrosis.
Salt pipes, an alternative type of inhaler, can be used in the alleviation of asthma and are suitable for both adults and children. Some manufacturers have developed smaller salt pipes especially designed for kids.
How Do I Use a Salt Pipe?
You place the salt pipe in your mouth and breathe in a very tiny amount of crystal salt (not table salt) and then breathe it out through your nose. Users of salt pipes normally use them every day and not just when they feel tight chested. Around 20 minutes use per day may help prevent wheezing and help you breathe more easily.
Conditions that salt therapy is thought to help are:
• Allergic conditions
• Respiratory disabilities
Isn’t Salt Harmful?
Table salt, or sodium chloride, can be harmful, particularly if you use too much. It can narrow your arteries and cause blood pressure problems and heart attack. It is a highly refined type of salt that has had all its good, essential minerals removed so what is left behind has none of the benefit. The type of salt used in salt therapy is crystal salt.
Is There any Scientific Evidence for the Use of Salt Therapy?
The United Kingdom's NHS and other conventional health authorities say there is little evidence for the use of alternative therapy for asthma, but some medical citations in respected journals support the use of alternative therapies including salt therapy for asthma.
Here are a few examples:
The Journal of Aerosol Medicine reports that 124 patients with respiratory diseases were studied. Most were given salt therapy for one hour a day and the remaining 15 were the placebo. The researchers found that there were clinical improvements in most of the salt therapy group.