History of Salt Therapy

Salt Therapy, or Speleotherapy, is a widely used natural remedy that goes back several centuries
The healing atmosphere of salt caves were acknowledged as far back as medieval times, with monks taking the sick down into salt caves to allow them to breathe air saturated with salt particles. These salt particles were freshly created and activated by monks crushing stalactites.

The use of salt for medical purposes goes back even further. The ancient Greeks knew the value of salt-based remedies, as they understood it to have expectorant powers. The healing methods of Hippocrates (460 BC) made frequent use of salt and specifically mentions the inhalation of steam from salt-water for the relief of respiratory symptoms.

The benefits of Salt Therapy were noted in a book published in 1843 by Polish doctor Felix Boczkowski. Dr Boczkowski, a physician at the Wieliczka salt mine, observed a remarkably low incidence of respiratory conditions in salt miners. He formulated that the presence of air in the salt mine, saturated with dry salt particles, had a healing effect on those with respiratory and pulmonary discomforts. His successor set up a spa based on these observations.During WWII, Dr Karl Hermann Spannagel noticed improvements in the health of his patients as they hid in the Kluterthöhle karst salt cave in Germany to escape heavy bombing. Dr Spannagel noted that while staying in the cave patient’s coughing had subsided and those with respiratory discomfort breathed more easily. Ever since, the Kluterthöhle karst salt cave has continued to be used for the medical treatment of respiratory diseases.Underground treatment in salt caves was the only method available until, in 1987, a new technique was developed in Russia. The first Speleochambers, or Salt Rooms, were constructed using mined salt rock from deep underground, hewn into blocks. These Salt Rooms recreated the microclimate of a salt cave in an above ground clinic.

Where does this salt rock come from?

Around 20 million years ago Europe was partially covered by a shallow sea. The sea disappeared over time but left large amounts of salt behind. This salt is bedded between 10 and 300 meters below the surface. Modern Salt Rooms allow patients to sit in a room built from these salt blocks and gain the same benefit as they would breathing the air in a salt cave.

How does Salt Therapy work?

Salt Therapy is based on the principle of prolonged exposure to the microclimate found in natural salt mines or salt caves. Illawarra Salt Therapy uses patented state of the art technology to reproduce the atmosphere of a salt cave with a monitored therapeutic microclimate. Air in our Salt Rooms is ionized and saturated with a natural substance – a low concentration of curative highly dispersed aerosol of dry saline (salt).

The microclimate in our Salt Rooms is formed naturally, through convective diffusion from the salt walls combined with controlled temperature and humidity. This creates a hypo-bacterial and allergen-free air environment.

Inhalation of salt aerosol is clinically proven to cleanse the respiratory system of the human body and to speed up elimination of toxins. A salt aerosol rich in negative ions is proven to have bactericidal effects, cleansing microbial flora of the respiratory tract, slowing down bacterial growth and increasing resistance to respiratory tract diseases. This effect is used to treat asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, sinusitis, as well as frequent respiratory tract diseases in children and adults.

Airborne salt particles have a beneficial effect on skin and are known for their high cosmetic value due to the high mineral content. Salt aerosol is a well known decongestant. It reduces inflammation and has antimicrobial affects.