When I was a child and my parents took me to the beach, I always remember my dad standing there taking great deep breaths and telling me to breathe deep because the sea air was good for me. Back then, he probably had mo more idea than I did of just why that particular air was so good for me or even why we had to breathe it in so deeply. But it was just one of those things that people did and they all seemed to agree that it did you the power of good.

The medical science behind that layman’s belief is actually in complete agreement that breathing deeply of the salty sea air really is good for your health in ways you might not realize. Certainly if you suffer from a respiratory complaint such as asthma, c.o.p.d., bronchitis, emphysema for example, or if you have a smoker’s cough (which was more common than it should have been back then) or suffer from hay fever, the shortness of breath and wheezing seem to clear up after a few days of breathing in the salty air.

Speleotherapy

That’s because the minute particles of salt that are dissolved in the air can easily get into the bronchial airways and start to work their magic. Salt is a well known healing agent that clears up infections, kills harmful microbes and bacteria while it gently loosens any debris that may be blocking the airways such as phlegm or excess mucous along with other foreign particulates. It also soothes inflamed bronchial membranes that become more sensitive when an allergen or other irritant is present, reducing inflammation and widening the narrowed air passages.

For many years, a trip to the seaside was prescribed by doctors as a healthy, natural way to help treat a whole range of breathing problems. Similarly, in landlocked countries, a visit to salt mines was often taken as an alternative to breathe in the rich salty air in them.

This kind of salt air therapy has been given a name; speleotherapy. It comes from the Greek word speleo which basically translates into cave and is derived from the old salt mines that were once considered a place of punishment until it was realized that many of its inmates actually got healthier after spending a lot of time in them!

Modern Salt Therapy

Today, large respiratory clinics have been built around these saltmines, while in countries with easy access to the sea, such as in Britain, a seaside trip is still recommended by doctors to their patients. If it is not possible to travel to these places, there is an alternative that is gaining popularity known as the salt pipe or inhaler.

This is a small device which contains a quantity of rocksalt that the user simply inhales deeply via a mouthpiece and breathes out through their nose a number of times. This produces a similar effect as breathing sea air but in a more controlled manner.

The device delivers the healing air directly to the place it is needed and helps reduce the symptoms of a wide variety of respiratory conditions. This variation of salt therapy is a convenient and portable solution that many find highly beneficial to their respiratory health that works very well indeed.

In fact many asthma sufferers report that their reliance on their steroid inhaler is greatly reduced when using this device regularly. This can only be a good thing with regards to becoming less exposed to medications while still enjoying greater freedom from the debilitating symptoms of this condition.

More information on complimentary therapies for breathing complaints can be found here: www.asthma.org.uk
Here is a prominent newspaper report on salt caves: Daily Mail