The History of Salt Caves

To begin we would like to introduce you to where the concept of salt therapy began. Let us take you back to the early 1800s, just out side of Krakow, Poland. In a small town by the name of Wieliczka was an ancient salt mine which provided mineral salt to the nation. Now salt brine and mineral salt mud were used for the treatment of various health ailments during these times when kings and queens ruled the nation. During this period health resorts starting sprouting up all over Europe for those who had financial access to these types of resorts. Otherwise salt naturally was still used for curing meat, and disinfecting various bacterial infections of the skin.

After working in the salt mine as a Doctor of Medicine and Surgery, Dr. F. Boczkowski, today recognized as the father of Halotherapy (Salt Therapy), began to implement the treatment of Salt Brine Baths, baths in salt mud, and sulphuric waters into his medical practice. Today salt baths are used widely around the world, most commonly in the form of Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate). However now people are moving on to Pink Salt Baths most commonly found as Himalayan or Polish Pink Salt. This was however only the beginning of health resorts in Wieliczka, Poland.

A century later, when a new physician took over the official direction of the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine, he started regular treatment INSIDE the salt chambers. This sprouted speleotherapy or subterraneotherapy - the use of subterranean environments, in therapeutic treatment of chronic obstructive airway diseases. This therapy involved the exposure to and breathing of mineral infused air of a salt mine. According to the records of the new physician, many of the mine workers were experiencing increased health benefits with regards to the respiratory system specifically. People from all around the world now started to visit the salt mine in hopes of treating their respiratory ailments. Due to the continued traditions of treatment in Wieliczka throughout the 1900s and 2000s, the salt mine achieved the title of the "Wieliczka” Salt Mine Health Resort” which is currently recognized by the Polish Ministry of Health as part of their “Guaranteed Service” package and as the worlds first of its kind underground health resort.

It was the exposure of to the elements of the microclimate inside the mine which consequently developed the understanding on the benefits on the respiratory system. Very quickly people from across the world started to visit the mine, as a tourist attraction, and more importantly in hopes of receiving some of the mines health benefits. Thanks to the passion and commitment of those creating the centre, a unique program of pulmonary rehabilitation using subterraneotherapy methods has been recognized by the Polish Ministry of Health.

Salt Caves VS Salt Rooms

Moving along to the main differences between Salt Caves and Salt Rooms. To begin we would like to point out the two vital therapies prominent within the salt mine. Halotherapy (The inhalation of a composition of air saturated with minute particles of salt as found in the salt mine created through the mining process of excavations) and Speleotherapy (the use of subterranean environments rich in minerals and other specific physical and biological values found within the salt mine itself).

Predominantly Salt Rooms located across the world are solely based on the concept of Halotherapy or Dry Salt Therapy. Through the inhalation of salt particles, contrary to popular belief salt does not dry out mucus allowing a person to breath better, it does the opposite. Salt softens the mucus and increases the efficiency of mucous-ciliary cleaning of the respiratory tract. The salt aerosol also works as a general anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal.

Salt Rooms are typically designed with salt on the walls either in the form of raw salt chunks, or salt bricks. However many salt rooms across the world are starting to turn a modern look and straying from the therapeutic benefits of the natural therapy. Using white granular salt on the walls along with liquid glass (water glass) to help seal it on the walls. Unfortunately, this method only sticks for the time being and after sometime the mixture starts to loosen up and the water glass becomes similar to glass needles like fibre glass getting into the air which is hazardous and dangerous for ones’ health. These types of salt rooms are recommended to stay away from as long term exposure to this type of mixture may pose health concerns not yet tested for long term exposure.

Furthermore, salt rooms are claiming a micro-climate similar to that of a underground salt mine. After thorough research many salt rooms have been noted to maintain however a climate of “dry air” and “warm temperature. However anyone with any state of asthma, or COPD will tell you, warm and dry such as a home during the winter, makes it very difficult to breath. This actually dries up the respiratory tract and makes it more difficult to breath. This is certainly not the climate found in the underground salt mine, where 165-250m below ground it is very cold between 12-14°C and extremely humid between 65-85% moisture. Thus many Salt Rooms, Salt Chambers, or Halo Chambers are falsely claiming a micro-climate as found in an underground salt mine.

The Differentiation:

On the other hand, true salt caves such as Healing Salt Caves® can be recognized for implementing both Halotherapy and Speleotherapy treatments. The combination of implementing the Dry Salt Aerosol, as well as the very important Micro-Climate of a cool and humid environment which includes Iodine creates totally unique True Therapeutic Properties offered for therapy of the respiratory tract.

The inhalation of dry salt aerosol provided via a halogenerator like that of salt rooms, provides relief in mucus build up throughout the respiratory tract. In the sense, that salt simply softens mucus, and increases the efficiency of mucous-ciliary cleaning of the respiratory system. As mentioned already pharmaceutical grade salt is also anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory. This is how Halotherapy or Salt Therapy works.

The Physical value of a Salt Cave should include as such: insulation and complete separation from the external environment (outside air), isolation from external stimuli, stable temperature (typically between 16°C-18°C) with a humidity of at least 50%-60% as well as a specific meticulous filtration of the air within the environment. Healing Salt Caves® implement all of these specific values and are the only salt cave on the market in North America which can claim a saturation of Iodine within the environment. Salt does not naturally carry iodine which is a false marketing misrepresentation within table salt. Iodine is added into the environment from a secondary source, similar to the underground salt mine in Poland which has a high source of Iodine from the surrounding underground salt water lakes.

This renders into tangible benefits of the body. Introducing rest therapy (reduced environmental stimulation therapy) results in lowering the level of adrenaline, the stress hormone. The stable cool temperature and humidity prevents bronchoconstriction and drying out of the respiratory mucous membranes. This specific micro-climate allows for improved absorption of oxygen supply to various tissues and organs.

Furthermore, Healing Salt Caves® claims to have a biologically similar environment to the underground salt mine. The percentage of micro organisms such as bacteria, fungi, organic dust and others as such is significantly lower than that of the environment outside. Due to the air filtration system, the specific humidity including Iodine, as well as the high salt aerosol saturation establishes a atmospheric ph level similar to 4.5 which allows the human immune system to rest.

One of the most prominent properties in the biology of the environment of a “Healing Salt Cave®” pertains to the saturation of Iodine, and this can be recognized as a difference from any other “Salt Cave” or “Salt Room”. Iodine, medically speaking, is recognized by medical practitioner’s world wide for its importance in the physically body. Iodine (or the deficiency of within the system) is strongly correlated to the world-wide dilemma of thyroid problems (hypo and hyper active thyroid). Iodine is also imperative for the immune system, which is strongly related to the thyroid. Iodine helps to maintain a healthy, active immune system, strengthening ones’ ability to fight various illnesses, colds, flues, and various dis-eases. Iodine, similar to that of which is found in the ocean, and again in the underground salt mine, is recognized world wide for opening up the airways in the lungs. The saturation of Iodine, and the opening of the airways, allows for greater inhalation capabilities of the salt particles. As well, recollecting the previously stated benefit of improved oxygen absorption supplying various tissues and organs in the body.