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Salt Therapy, Respiratory Issues, and COPD

Pollution, smog, toxins, and airborne diseases are on the rise. Consequently, more people are suffering from respiratory illnesses than ever before. It may come as no surprise then why the demand for salt therapy has been growing so rapidly. In 2010, the number of spas across the country numbered around a dozen. Today, the number of salt therapy spas across Canada and the United States has reached close to 800. Indeed, people are discovering that when they undergo salt therapy they experience a multitude of benefits centered on the health and function of their respiratory system. Researchers are increasingly studying salt therapy and its use for treating breathing disorders, and more and more athletes are using salt therapy to enhance their performance. Perhaps more interestingly, more people are beginning to use salt therapy as a treatment for respiratory issues such as COPD.

Salt therapy originated centuries ago in salt caves scattered across Europe and Russia. Miners working these mines had a very peculiar state as compared to other miners. Not only did they exhibit none of the respiratory problems commonly associated with other miners, but these workers also had fewer respiratory issues as compared to the general population. It turns out while they were working in these caves they were also regularly being exposed to the minuscule bits of salt matter floating through the air.

When you undergo a session of salt therapy you’re essentially placing yourself in an environment created to replicate the conditions of a salt cave. You’re breathing in salt and allowing its natural properties to cleanse your respiratory system from the airborne pollutants you’re constantly breathing in. This cleansing results in easier breathing, and furthermore alleviates respiratory complications such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. While salt therapy is a great way to enhance your overall health, it can also help you deal with serious illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

As a result of lung tissue breakdown, those suffering from COPD experience restricted airflow and find it difficult to breathe. COPD is a term that encapsulates both emphysema and chronic bronchitis, which are just different forms of COPD. One of the main symptoms of COPD is an increased production of mucus, leading to chronic cough–which is the body’s attempt at clearing up its airways. Sometimes the build-up of mucus is so excessive, however, that your natural defense system becomes overwhelmed. It’s easy to tell when this happens because it’s displayed across a number of symptoms.

Note just some of the harmful consequences of excessive and stagnant mucus in the lungs:

  • Difficult Breathing
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Low Blood Oxygenation
  • Risk of Lung Infection
  • Insomnia or Difficult Sleep

One of the reasons why salt therapy is so effective for people suffering from COPD is that salt naturally thins out mucus, which makes it easier for the body to dispense with it. Furthermore, salt has various healing properties that ultimately cleanses the respiratory system and accelerates the removal of toxins. One of the contributing factors for this is due to the way that salt moves through the system. Particles of salt deeply penetrate into the lungs and soothe and treat damaged lung tissue. As mentioned, salt also naturally loosens excessive mucus, effectively reducing the frequency of coughs. Salt also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, along with the ability to remove pathogens and reduce immune system oversensitivity. Some people who undergo just one session of salt therapy report that the severity of their symptoms lessen for up to a year.

Europe has known about the benefits of salt therapy for a while, whereas countries like the United States have only just started to recognize salt therapy as a viable treatment option. However, recent studies on salt therapy conducted in North America are beginning to make the benefits of salt therapy more clear. For instance, a recent study involving patients suffering from COPD who were given salt therapy were found to show significant improvement in walking tests, as well as exhibited an overall higher quality of life (as determined by questionnaires). Other clinical trials also suggest various other benefits to salt therapy. Such trials suggest that people with various respiratory illnesses benefit from salt therapy – such illnesses include various degrees of asthma, chronic bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, and bronchiectasis.

For people who suffer from COPD, traditional drug and supplemental therapies such as oxygen treatments, or lung transplants, aren’t always enough. If you’re seeking a complementary addition to your treatment plan, it may be in your best interest to try salt therapy – doing so may not only accelerate your healing but also provide you with some much-needed respite from your symptoms. Salt therapy isn’t a complete cure for lung disease. Rather, it should be viewed as complementary medicine to be used in conjunction with your current medical treatment plan. For many people, adding salt therapy to your total care plan may make all the difference.