The Complete History of Dry Salt Therapy

The history of dry salt therapy is vast. Also called Halotherapy, has given people relief from breathing issues and skin ailments. From the very first study, it has shown vast benefits for both humans and animals. 

Dry salt therapy has been around for thousands of years. It is a practice of alternative medicine that involves salt particles being breathed in and absorbed through the skin for multiple benefits such as psoriasis remission and to control asthma, COPD, and emphysema. 

The benefits of salt are said to date back all the way to Ancient Greece, where Hippocrates first claimed that salt could benefit the respiratory system. Dry salt therapy’s origin, however, lies in the salt mines and caves of the Himalayan Mountains of Eastern Europe. Keep reading to learn the history of dry salt therapy. 

History of Dry Salt Therapy Explored

Starting in the 12th century, it’s been noted that miners in the Himalayan salt caves were benefitting from the salt particles released into the air through mining. In 1839, a Polish doctor by the name of Feliks Boczkowski studied these miners and the effects of the salt in the mines. 

Years later, Boczkowski opened his own wellness facility, where he used a special brine made from the salt of these mines and used them for salt baths. His patients saw respiratory relief and even anti-aging benefits. He even claimed that staying underground was better for those who suffered from respiratory illnesses such as asthma because the climate was better controlled.

These benefits were seen again, over 100 years later, in 1949. People that hid in the salt caves of Poland during WW2 saw the same breathing and skin benefits that were found by Boczkowski in 1843. 

The Transition of Dry Salt Therapy

In 1958, Professor Mieczyslaw Skulimowski pioneered a new method of treating breathing conditions called Subbterrainotherapy or the Skulimowski method. He used the salt chambers and the environmental conditions to help better the breathing of those with asthma or allergies.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine became a full-fledged treatment center in 1964 when Skulimowski became director of the Kinga Allergy Treatment Centre. This set the tone for the spread of Halotherapy across Eastern Europe and the rest of the world. 

First Halogenerator

The Beginning of Modern Halotherapy

Because of the increased interest, the former Soviet Union started their own studies on Dry Salt Therapy. In 1968, the Ukraine developed the first speleo-hospital in the Solotvyno salt mines. This put a spotlight on Dry Salt Therapy, which brought significant interest from the medical community of Russia.  

This was followed by deeper and more specific studies about treatment and the history of dry salt therapy. By 1985, the Soviet Union was able to replicate the conditions of an underground salt mine and developed the first Helogenerator. During this time, Halotherapy became very popular in Eastern Europe, but it wasn’t until 1991 that the rest of the world could access technology and information.  

Dry Salt Therapy Today

Today, dry salt therapy is still used to help people with breathing problems and as a general wellness practice as well. What has changed is the refining and actual therapy process. It has been perfected with high standards being set for salt purity and the equipment. 

Salt used in dry salt therapy has to be 99.99% pure grade sodium chloride, which is as pure as salt gets. The technology has been redeveloped to break the salt down and heat it to just the right temperature for it to be easily inhaled and absorbed.  

There are so many different types of dry salt therapy, which still include the original form of bathing in brines. Here are the two main types of dry salt therapy. 

  1. Speleotherapy: happens in naturally occurring salt caves and mines underground. This is the original version of dry salt therapy, where there is no technology used. 
  2. Halotherapy: takes place in a man-made cave or salt chamber, where the temperature, humidity, and air circulation are determined technologically by the halogenerator.