Thanks to ongoing research into cystic fibrosis, physicians are now able to offer more treatment options than ever before. Many treatment options include medications and sometimes can be as intense as undergoing a lung transplant, but other methods are more conservative. Physicians have long sought to minimize the invasiveness of treatments through regular maintenance and therapies that are designed to increase a patient’s quality of life.
While it doesn’t involve any new technology or groundbreaking discoveries, one method of treatment is gaining in popularity: salt therapy.
What is salt therapy?
At its most basic level, salt therapy is a relatively simple concept: exposure to salt. Salt therapy can sound like a very technical title for what actually occurs. In most treatment centers that have begun to offer salt therapy, patients simply sit in a room with walls covered in Himalayan salt while halogenerators disperse micro sized particles of salt into the air. Treatment sessions usually last about forty-five minutes. Most centers have very few requirements about what you do during a therapy session. Some patients catch up on reading, some patients nap, and others simply enjoy the quiet space. One common restriction is that phones are not allowed in therapy rooms. Therapists explain this is both because smartphones disrupt the sense of relaxation, and because the tiny salt molecules floating around in the air actually ruin phones.
While salt rooms and therapies centers may be new, the concept is actually very old. Salt air has long been known to provide a myriad of health benefits to individuals. Both anecdotes and detailed research studies have demonstrated that individuals consistently exposed to salt air experience greater overall health. One study from the mid-nineteenth century compared the health of Polish salt miners to coal miners as well as regular citizens. The researchers found that the salt miners didn’t have all of the respiratory problems that the coal miners did. On top of that, the salt miners actually experienced greater respiratory health than average citizens. These Polish salt mines are responsible for much of the inspiration behind modern day salt rooms. Therapists create spaces where the air is permeated with salt. Once inside the room, individuals can’t help but breath in tons of the tiny salt particles, and they reap the benefits as well.
Benefits of salt therapy
Salt air has long been linked to improved respiratory health. The Polish salt miners from the nineteenth century had abnormally well-functioning lungs. Salt therapy also explains why spending time at the shore has also long been thought of as beneficial for someone’s health. There are several reasons why salt therapy provides increased health. First of all, salt can be used to destroy all kinds of bacteria. When you rub salt in a wound, for example, it burns because the mineral is killing many of the bacteria that could be festering there. Salt therapy works the same way when you breath it in as air. The salt can kill all kinds of bacteria living in your throat and lungs which can prevent the onset of disease and improve health. In addition to killing bacteria, salt also boosts the immune system which can prevent the onset of future illness.
Salt therapy has also been shown to reduce stress in patients’ lives. One reason that salt therapy reduces stress is because the treatment requires patients to take a 45 minute break from their regular routine. This time can give patients much needed mental and physical rest. But there are biological reasons too. Salt can clear nasal passageways making it easier for patients to breathe. When the body is in a more relaxed state and able to breathe more easily the symptoms of stress will also be reduced.
Additionally, salt has the power to break up mucus in the throat and lungs. This second benefit is especially important for individuals who suffer from chronic breathing problems such as those with asthma or cystic fibrosis. Consistent salt therapy works to clear out the lungs making it easier to move air through. Salt also works as an anti-inflammatory so it can reduce swelling in the throat and lungs that might cause obstruction in those passages. On top of all that, salt therapy is a natural remedy. There aren’t any length procedures or harmful side effects associated with the process. Salt therapy combines some basic elements into an effective treatment.
Link to cystic fibrosis
All kinds of people can certainly benefit from salt therapy. From fighting off the winter flu to reducing daily stress and becoming more present, the benefits of salt therapy are wide. While salt therapy can be useful for just about anybody, research is indicating that it may be especially helpful for patients dealing with cystic fibrosis. One of the most common symptoms of cystic fibrosis is breathing difficulty caused by the thickened mucus lining along the respiratory track. As discussed, salt therapy can help to break up mucus in these passageways which can make it drastically easier for a patient to breath.
Additionally, cystic fibrosis patients may also experience regular infections in the chest and lungs. While salt therapy will still provide assistance with breathing from clearing up air passageways, it can also reduce the number of infections a patient experience. Since salt is antibacterial the infections may be caught and fought off early on, and with persistent treatment patients’ immunities may be strengthened by the salt therapy which translates into fewer infections.
One of the greatest things about salt therapy as a treatment method for cystic fibrosis is that it won’t interfere with other areas of patients’ lives. Aside from the time spent in the salt rooms, patients have to give up very little for the treatment to work. With many medications patients may have to undergo lengthy treatments, and more likely they’ll experience some adverse side effects. Because salt therapy is a completely natural treatment option there aren’t any adverse side effects associated with the treatment. While some therapists do note that in order for the treatment to be successful patients must continue attending sessions on a regular basis, the effects do have some longevity. According to some sources after completing the recommended cycle of therapy sessions patients may see relief from their symptoms for six to twelve months. While this relief will eventually disappear, another round of treatment or consistent use of salt rooms can renew the therapy’s effectiveness.
Cystic fibrosis is one of the chronic conditions that can have the biggest impact on an individual’s life. Thankfully, modern research and medical treatment can provide patients with many different options for managing symptoms, although there isn’t yet a cure for the disease. While many medical options can be helpful, more natural options like salt therapy are great alternatives for patients trying to manage their condition through more conservative means. Salt therapy is about as basic as it gets when it comes to medical treatment. Based on practices that date back for hundreds of years, salt therapy combines natural minerals with a relaxing environment to provide patients with a remedy that can fight infection, reduce stress, and provide extensive relief from respiratory issues.