What I Learned From My Summer Trip – Halotherapy
I decided last minute to take a trip to Romania, so I couldn’t resist booking a 5 day trip to a local balneotherapeutic resort in the Carpathian Alps of Transylvania. Romania has the most resorts of this sort compared to other European countries. The therapeutic saltwater in the area is known for its curative properties for different aches and pains, as well as detoxification, considering that the lungs and the skin are two of the largest detoxification organ we have.
But this experience I’m about to share, I’ve never seen or experienced before. My mom and I decided to visit a local salt mine that turned into an underground city for halotherapy. The place is located in Ocnele Mari. Once we got there, we were taken by bus 29 meters into the ground. When the gates opened, we were truly impressed. The ceiling was 20 feet high and the area was over 40,000 sq meters, with 2 restaurants, a race track, movie theater, art gallery, store, basketball court, soccer, and other games. All undergrounds, surrounded by massive walls of salt.
What is halotherapy?
Salt is known to have a bactericidal and cleansing effect, partly due to its negatively charged ions. By breathing in the salt aerosols, the lungs detoxify and the immune system strengthens. Halotherapy is used to prevent as well as treat certain conditions. Doctors recommend it for:
- respiratory problems, such as asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, emphysema, ear and throat infections, sleep apnea
- nervous system problems, such as stress, chronic fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxiety
- skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, and dermatitis
- digestive problems, including oral infections, such as thrush
- endocrine problems, including thyroid issues and metabolic problems
- smoker’s detoxification
When in the salt mines, it was recommended to breathe through the nose and through the mouth, so that the mucosa of the mouth and throat can come in contact with aerosols as well. The size of the salt particles suspended in the air is between 0.1 and 0.9 microns. They stick to the skin or mucosa surface making the cellular membrane become more fluid and elastic, cleaning out any infection in the areas exposed to the aerosols. 30 minutes is all that’s needed to get the benefits of sclerotherapy, but it doesn’t hurt to stay longer.
The 4 main actions halotherapy has on the body are:
- purifying the respiratory passages
- strengthening the immune system
- detoxifying the body
- regeneration of skin and mucous membranes
There are some contraindications to salt therapy: hypertension, lung cancer, recent heart attack or stroke, hyperthyroidism, pregnancy. If you are claustrophobic, it is also advised to avoid the salt mines. Some spas in the United States have recreated the atmospheric environment of a salt mine, and this is a good way to experience the benefits of halotherapy. But if you get a chance to visit the salt mines, it is quite an experience!