Salty soother: Does halotherapy really provide relief from asthma?

Those suffering from stress, anxiety, aches, pains and stiffness in their joints also come here for relief.
Salty soother: Does halotherapy really provide relief from asthma?

Ankita Srivastava, 16, has carried an inhaler all her life. The steroids she took for asthma, started to show side effects that disrupted her daily functioning. That’s when her father suggested she try halotherapy, an alternative treatment that involves breathing salty air. Unsure of what it would be like, Srivastava took a 30-minute demonstration at a centre near their home in Hyderabad. It took her 15 sessions to see a significant improvement, but most patients usually start noticing a difference by the third or fourth session. Not only did her asthmatic condition improve, but her strength and stamina also got better.

A non-invasive treatment with few or no side effects, dry salt therapy or halotherapy has become popular since Covid-19 hit, especially for those with compromised lung capacity due to environmental, lifestyle or medical factors.

A new study by Turkish scientists published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Investigations, states that halotherapy has benefited those with acute respiratory distress syndrome reported to have risen after Covid, in addition to conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, rhinitis, bronchitis and certain psychosomatic treatments.

At Bengaluru-based Salt World, a specialised therapy centre with operations in major cities, a device called the halogenerator grinds pharma-grade sodium chloride into micron-sized particles that enter deeper into the respiratory system to cleanse it. “Excellent for dry cough, asthma, sinus conditions, allergies and bronchitis, it is shown to improve immunological conditions as well,” says Dr Nikhil Modi, Consultant, Department of Respiratory, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi.

At Naad, a wellness centre on the outskirts of Delhi, heaps of rock salt are sourced from the Sindh region to make a cave-like halo chamber, where dry aerosols are circulated. Lighting is ambient and the space is cooler than outside.

Those suffering from stress, anxiety, aches, pains and stiffness in their joints also come here for relief. Little known is salt therapy's additional effectiveness in easing smoking- and skin-related issues. “Salt therapy can be your primary or supplemental therapy,” says Manoj Khetan, co-founder of Naad Wellness. "Salt therapy also improves the pH level of the skin, making it healthier,” adds Deepthi Babu of Salt World.

A word of caution though. “As long as symptoms are not aggressive and the patient experiences some relief within five sessions, you can continue taking therapy, but if you notice a skin rash, redness in the eye, excessive mucus secretion or feel dizzy, stop it immediately,” says Goa-based Dr Melissa Rodrigues, MD, Respiratory Medicine, adding, “One of the best ways to avoid any of this is to drink lots of water before and after the therapy.”

Good to know
Who can take: Patients with respiratory conditions, arthritis patients, those prone to stress, smokers, and those who want to improve their lung capacities such as athletes and stage performers
Cost: Approx Rs 1000 - 2000 per session
Time: 45 minutes - 1 hour
Results: Start showing after three-five sessions for a healthy individual with mild respiratory issues. It could take more time for those who have more serious symptoms

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