hype or happening Fitness

The effectiveness of dry salt therapy

Two woman in salt room

Two woman in salt room  

We speak to health experts about this wellness treatment, also known as ‘halotherapy’

Is salt therapy truly next-level steam inhalation? The claim is that dry salt therapy, or halotherapy, a drug-free, natural therapy that uses micro-particles of salt, promotes better breathing, healthier skin, improved sleep, physical fitness, endurance, and overall wellness. There are also claims that it helps in respiratory illnesses (asthma, bronchitis) and in skin infections (psoriasis, eczema).

Mitali Sanghi, at Hyderabad’s recently-opened Salt World, explains that salt therapy uses “pharmaceutical-grade dry salt in a comfortable, controlled environment.” Within the ‘cave’, a device called a halogenerator disperses microscopic salt particles into the room. During the process, tiny particles go deep into the airways and lungs and will also land on the skin.

“Natural salt dispersed through micronised inhalers makes the sputum thin and less viscid (sticky),” says Dr Mallikarjun Rao S, Hyderabad-based senior consultant pulmonologist. However, he adds that it should be limited to once a week for six-eight weeks, alongside regular medication. “I would suggest caution in high blood pressure patients, and for people to consult their pulmonologist/physician before going for a session.”

“Halotherapy is a blend of western medicine with naturopathy practices used as a cosmetic treatment for the skin. It nourishes the skin and has an effect in treating the symptoms of eczema and rosacea, besides ageing changes. It has a natural anti-inflammatory property, which can help control psoriasis and other skin conditions, plus it can make skin texture younger-looking and brighter,” says Dr G Manmohan, Hyderabad-based consultant dermatologist.

But, he adds, it could be the result of a placebo effect. There are many ways of delivering the salt into the body for therapeutic purposes, such as saline solution inhalation, dry salt aerosol inhalation, irrigation, saline lavage and brine baths (creno therapy), he says.

In fact, a literature review of 151 studies published in the International Journal of COPD said, “From this review, recommendations for inclusion of halotherapy as a therapy for COPD cannot be made at this point, and there is a need for high quality studies to determine the effectiveness of this therapy.”

In Dr Manmohan’s words, “Publicity cannot be taken as proof for treatment purposes.”

Verdict: Hype

In this column, we decode health trends and decide if it’s all just ‘hype’ or actually ‘happening’

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 11:48:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fitness/hype-or-happening-dry-salt-therapy/article30780862.ece

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