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Halotherapy

Related Terms

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Background

  • Speleotherapy comes from the Greek word "speleo," for cave, and refers to salt-lined caves. During speleotherapy, patients sit in salt-lined caves for medicinal purposes. The salt is thought to have bactericidal effects and help regulate air humidity in these caves. These properties are believed by some to improve respiratory conditions and relieve some skin conditions.
  • Halotherapy, or treatment with salt, comes from the Greek word "halos," which means salt. Halotherapy replicates the salt-cave environment of speleotherapy, with the intention of being more accessible and less expensive. Halotherapy involves man-made structures that replicate the environment of the salt caves and is considered a natural, non-invasive, treatment.
  • Similar to speleotherapy, the intent of halotherapy is to improve or cure respiratory ailments (such as asthma, bronchitis, or sinusitis) and skin conditions (such eczema or psoriasis).
  • Some manufacturers also market smaller devices for home use. Although the properties of these home devices are based on halotherapy, they are typically called aerosol salt treatments. Some of these salinizers release particles into the home environment, while others are pipes that require the user to place his/her mouth over the device and breathe for 15-25 minutes daily. Salt lamps are also marketed, purportedly to ease respiratory symptoms by "balancing the ions in the air" via electricity when they are plugged in for long periods of time, although scientific research proving this is lacking.
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Technique

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Theory/Evidence

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Safety

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.