Worth its Salt
By SANGEETA CAVALE RADHAKRISHNA | Published: 15th June 2014 06:00 AM |
Author Isak Dinesen said, “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.” Taking a cue from Dinesen’s age old statement, a new version of halotherapy/salt therapy is here in India, only this is minus the sea and tears. The goodness of salt can now be had within the confines of a room. The therapy uses dry aerosol of sodium chloride that comes out of a halo generator. Halos means salt in Greek.
Studies suggest release of negative ions (what you experience when you step outside into fresh air environment) during salt therapy reduces stress, headaches, lethargy and depression, and improves energy and mental acuity while stabilizing mood and sleep patterns. The therapy provides best results when it is taken regularly.
Salt molecules comprise a positive sodium ion and a negative chloride ion. When the salty air is breathed in, salt molecules enter the moist airways of the lungs and break down, releasing the negative ions. The negative ions stimulate airway linings, improving mucous clearance and improving immune response to pathogens. People with chronic respiratory conditions lack sodium chloride in their airway linings and the therapy helps resolve this deficiency. It alleviates symptoms; helps prevent them from reccurring and develops immunity against respiratory ailments, and reduces dependence on medications like nasal sprays and inhalers.
Bangalore-based K P Loknath Kumar, medical director, RESPICARE India, which provides this therapy in India says, “The airborne salt also clears up a variety of skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema. Micro sized particles of salt in dry form destroy bad bacteria on skin. Further, release of negative ions can have a beneficial effect on a person’s mood.
Curative effects of salt therapy is seen in case of acne, allergies, anxiety, stress, asthma, bronchitis, colds, flu and congestion, dermatitis, ear infections, eczema, hay fever and rhinitis. Halotherapy also improves breathing of ex-smokers and those suffering from insomnia, joint aches, arthritis, psoriasis, and sinusitis and snoring.
On the issue of hygiene, Loknath says, “Air cleaning is done after every session. Salt is never reused. The salt room is highly sterile and specific conditions are maintained to keep it sterile.” The dosage is decided by a halotherapy consultant after detailed evaluation of the patient’s conditions.
A J Ansari, dermatologist, says, “Salt therapy has been used by different schools of medicine since time immemorial. Salt has been known to reduce eczema and psoriasis which is why people suffering from these skin ailments have a dip in the Dead Sea which is rich in natural salts. Salt therapy is useful in treating many conditions when used to complement existing modes of treatment.”
The therapy works on skin by improving the skin’s protective properties and superficial bacterial flora (the good bacteria on our skin). Natural salt is a natural antihistamine, antibacterial and anti inflammatory. Salt balances Ph levels and induces regenerative processes in the skin, increases skin turgor (elasticity), stimulates growth and improves hair health. Dry salt aerosol has a beneficial effect on skin micro-circulation. Also, by relieving congestion and inflammation in the respiratory system, this increases the level of oxygen in the circulation system. The therapy has worked well for even infants suffering from respiratory problems as well as octogenarians with chronic asthma.
FACTS TO SAVOUR
■ Studies suggest release of negative ions (what you experience when you step outside into fresh air environment) during salt therapy reduces stress, headaches, lethargy and depression, improves energy and mental acuity while stabilising mood and sleep patterns.
■ Salt molecules comprise a positive sodium ion and a negative chloride ion. When the salty air is breathed in, salt molecules enter the moist airways of the lungs and break down, releasing the negative ions.