This blog post has been extracted from the August 2017 issue of the Women's Health & Fitness Magazine. This is my take on Salt Therapy (Halotherapy)
ON WHAT IT IS
Halotherapy is a natural therapy where a person sits in a simulated natural salt cave environment to aid with respiratory conditions and ailments via the inhalation of salt particles.
HOW IT WORKS
It works in two ways: firstly, salt rocks emit negative ions, which are absorbed to heal electron deficient body cells; secondly, by consolidating inflammation and mucus in the lungs it makes it easier to naturally expectorate.
A reduction in inflammation relieves skin irritations often associated with contact sports.
Lungs are cleared of mucus allowing for better quality breathing.
» Sports performance
Cleansing the lungs by removing congestion and inflammation means athletes can inhale oxygen deeper into their lungs.
» Anti-viral and anti-bacterial
Athletes’ bodies can occasionally be immunosuppressed due to heightened physical demands. Salt therapy can help protect the immune system.
There can be an increase in lung capacity, especially beneficial to athletes suffering from chronic respiratory conditions.
In terms of sessions required, for elite athletes, I recommend weekly, to begin with (the first month) and then every fortnight for the duration of the sporting season. It can be more often for athletes suffering from respiratory ailments.
Athletes looking to improve their recovery naturally, people suffering from chronic respiratory conditions and people looking for a complementary treatment for skin conditions can all benefit.
I wouldn’t recommend salt therapy to anyone who doesn’t suffer from a lung or skin condition. I believe there are other modalities that can help people improve their health and relaxation that are more efficient and affordable, such as meditation, home exercises and regular massages.
However, I’m not aware of anyone who it wouldn’t be suitable for.
It’s time-consuming because only small amounts of salt are consumed in air particles – each session is normally in excess of 30 minutes. So it’s not really a speedy form of treatment for chronic conditions.
In a professional environment, the treatment is safe.
ON ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS
Salt therapy is great as a complementary therapy and is most effective when used in conjunction with other modalities. For my athletes, I recommend salt therapy to complement their recovery routine which consists of ice baths (within 40 minutes of completing rigorous exercises), daily stretches, regular massages (minimum one per week), good nutrition, mindful practices and, most importantly, a well-adjusted spine.