With its respiratory and antimicrobial properties, salt- or halo-therapy has been tipped as a key wellness trend in light of COVID-19. As part of a recent series of Global Wellness Institute calls, experts helming a dedicated initiative shared their thoughts on the field.
Harking from Poland, halotherapy is typically offered as a dry treatment using a halogenerator to produce pharmaceutical-grade particles of salt for inhalation in an environment which mimics a salt cave microclimate with dry, cold conditions and no humidity. It can also be carried out through wet methods such as salt-water baths and pools and floatation tanks.
Initiative chair, Steve Spiro of Global Halotherapy Solutions, hosted the conversation and kicked off by highlighting the therapy’s benefits.
Research in 2009, by Russian professor Alina Chervinskaya, suggests that regular halotherapy use can both prevent contraction and relieve symptoms of acute respiratory viral infections.
A more recent paper, published in the Journal of Medicine and Life in 2014, demonstrates how halotherapy can trigger an anti-inflammatory response in people with respiratory conditions. This is a relevant quality as one of COVID-19’s most problematic symptoms is the influx of cytokine storm, a hyperinflammatory condition caused by an overactive immune system, which seems to be what is killing a majority of COVID-19 patients.
Moreover, halotherapy requires little to no therapist contact, which may help spa customers who are nervous about social distancing.
Medical spa owner Lisa Semerly highlighted that salt therapy will be attractive to operators because it doesn’t require labour costs and there’s an accelerated return on investment, as well as having an expansive potential target audience.
She added: “Salt therapy is capable of reducing respiratory symptoms as well as helping with stress reduction, improving overall immune response, easing dermatological conditions and can help athletes improve lung function and increase oxygen saturation to aid recovery.”
Dr Raleigh Duncan, chair and founder of Clearlight Infrared Saunas, concluded with a suggestion of combining infrared sauna therapy and halotherapy to make for an effective complementary treatment against respiratory viruses. The basis of combining the two therapies rests on the fact that the sauna’s dry and warm air will allow for deeper levels of penetration and better absorbency of the salt particles in the bronchi and distal airways.
Key manufacturers of salt-therapy experiences include Halotherapy Solutions, Klafs and Saltability, while Spa Vision and Drom UK distribute salt-therapy equipment.
STUDIES OF NOTE
• Lazarescu, H et al. Surveys on therapeutic effects of “halotherapy chamber with artificial salt-mine environment” on patients with certain chronic allergenic respiratory pathologies and infectious-inflammatory pathologies. Journal of Medicine and Life. 2014
• Chervinskaya, Alina. Dry sodium chloride aerosol against acute respiratory infections. European Respiratory Journal, 2009.