Physicians about salt caves

References from physicians about salt caves

M.D. Tibor Barta PhD., head of the First Otolaryngology clinic of Teaching Hospital with Policlinic in Bratislava – Petrzalka, Slovakia

It is suitable to support acute and especially chronic respiratory apparatus disease treatment (e.g. allergic and non-allergic snuffles, chronic and acute inflammation of vocal cords, asthma), including nasal cavity (e.g. nasal septum, nasal conchae), sinuses, pharynx (pharyngeal and palatine tonsils) and larynx (vocal cords surgery) by a so-called climatic treatment.

Climatic treatment or climatotherapy belongs to the non-medicament treatment methods, where an organism is subjected to healing effects of a special climate (stay in upland, sea or a cave). Climatic treatment speeds up healing processes. Salt, daily used in cooking and food preparation, also has another use. Healing effects of salt minerals can be used and are well known for centuries. Various procedures based on salt are carried out either directly in salt-mines or with the help of respiratory devices at rehabilitation and treatment centers. In general, walks by the seaside, especially in the morning and after heavy sea, when the air is ionized and saturated with iodine, are recommended. Although nature didn’t endow Slovakia with a sea, beneficial effects of seaside microclimate are also available here through salt caves. Their atmosphere possesses rare microclimate with unmatched bacterial cleanliness. Salt is a compound of our organism, thus very important for us.

From the point of view of an otolaryngologist (specialist for head and throat diseases), I definitely recommend healing treatments in salt caves, which considerably help improve patient’s fitness and speeds up the healing of diseases of the nasal cavity, sinuses, pharynx, larynx and thyroid. Moreover, beneficial effects of this microclimate have a positive affect on the healing of other diseases, too.

M.D. Milan Simko, immunologist – allergologist, Teaching Hospital with Policlinic in Bratislava – Kramare, Slovakia

At first, the positive effects of staying in caves on the respiratory tract were attributed to the ability of inhaled aerosol to dissolve viscose mucus, which can be consecutively easier to cough out. However, the latest research suggests important regulation roles of skin surface and respiratory tract. While human skin has a surface of 2m², the respiratory system has a surface of 100m². Therefore inhalatory therapy is much more efficient than the effects of aerosol applied to the skin and represents an important regulation role in the whole organism. These regulation mechanisms have the beneficial effect with the treatment explained even for diseases unrelated to the respiratory tract. Exact studies discovered another positive effect of this treatment – killing of disease-inducing microorganisms in the respiratory tract. Aerosol in caves contains microelements which make up a vital part of enzymes and hormones; organism needs them in order to function optimally and our ordinary everydays foods do not provide enough of them. A stay in a cave can supplement the deficit. Immune, neural and endocrine glands systems are interconnected and aerosol treatments influence all three mentioned systems, increases organs’ congestion of blood, which explains the complex influence of aforementioned treatments, including anti-inflammation treatments, resulting in reduced painfulness in rheumatism and the positive effect on some neural disorders and cardiovascular diseases.

From the empirical knowledge of climatotherapy which observes long-term improvement of disease state with a stay at sea in length of minimum 3 weeks, we determined that given the quantity of aerosol elements in seaside region and in a salt cave, a 3 week long stay at sea should be equivalent to 7 - 10 stays for 45 minute in a salt cave.

Recommended indications suitable for salt cave treatment:

•  all inflammation and also allergic diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract
•  allergic skin diseases, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, diseases caused by contact allergy
•  inflammation diseases of the intestines, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, stomach and duodenum ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome
•  ischemic heart disease, hypertension, vascular diseases
•  degenerative and inflammatory rheumatism
•  vegetative dystonia
•  neurotic disorders, depressions, chronic fatigue syndrome, stress disorders
•  hypothyroidism

Lecturer M.D. Igor Kajaba PhD, internist – gastroenterologist, Institute of preventive and clinic medicine, Bratislava, Slovakia

Basic prerequisite for existence of human life is guaranteed by metabolism, through the supply of nutrients, the presence of enzymes and the function of hormonal, substantial and neural regulation.

It is known, that approximately a third of enzymes need presence of metal ions as activators for their functionality and therefore are called metaloenzymes. Most of them protect cells from oxidation damage and creation of oxidation stress on organism and these enzymes contain elements like zinc, copper, manganese, nickel, chrome, iron, selenium, etc.

In addition, minerals and elements have important functions in tissues, for example structural – calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, fluorine, silicium and iodine. Iodine is a basic component of hormones produced by thyroid, zinc and nickel take part in the production of insulin, selenium is an integral component of the most important antioxidation enzyme, glutathoine peroxidase. Chrome is a basic component of the glucose toleration factor, which regulates and enables metabolism of sugars, supports the effect of insulin in tissues and prevents the creation of diabetes. Minerals also ensure the stability of the inner environment (homeostasis) and retain acidobasic equilibrium, in which mostly sodium, chlorine, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and sulphur take part. Sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium have an important role in the regulation of neural impulse transmission.

Most of the aforementioned minerals are comprised in sea salt from which are released and can be found in salt cave environments and by staying in such a cave are absorbed into organism via the mucous membranes and also via digestion tract, improving income and supply of these irreplaceable elements, necessary for good health, performance and overall fitness of the population of all ages.

Moreover, an enjoyable environment combined with calm music reproduction is the ideal place for spiritual relaxation, meditation, and comfort but also for the feeling of a joyful and happy life!

There are scientifically reasons for staying in or receiving a salt cave treatment from the point of view of digestion tract diseases:

• inflammation of the oral mucous membrane, gums and tongue, periodontal disease
• non-infectious inflammation of the mucous membrane in the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, small intestine and colon
• psychosomatic diseases like stomach and duodenum ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, functional disorders of the gall bladder and gall duct (mostly with tendency to convulsion states)
• long non-specific inflammation of the bowels – e.g. bleeding and ulcerous inflammation of colon and anus (colitis ulcerosa) in convalescence and in a calm state (prevents new inflammation diseases) and also by Crohn’s disease
• long diseases of the liver with autoimmunity characteristics

In all cases the climatotherapy represents effective support of basic treatment, in calm states as an important secondary prevention from the possible recurrence of the abrupt disease states.

Prof. M.D. Jiri Homolka, DrSc., head of 1st lung clinic of 1st Medical School of Comenius University and General teaching hospital in Prague, Czech Republic

Healing effects of salt have been well-known for centuries and today we return to this source of health. An example represents a treatment, which patients underwent in thirties of the 19th century in salt-mine Wieliczka in Poland. Since 1958, this mine was commonly used in the treatment of asthma, diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract and allergic diseases.

It is also well-known, that for the mentioned diseases and skin diseases a stay at the sea is useful. Some health insurance companies financially support these stays or cover the major part of the expenses (e.g. Seahorse program of General Health Insurance company in Czech Republic). However, not everyone can afford such a stay more than once in a year.

I verified that the condition of patients with asthma and inflammation of the upper and lower respiratory tract improved after 5-10 stays in salt cave similarly like after a stay at the sea. Positive effect lasts for approximately 3 months and in comparison to expenses of four stays at sea, including medication needed to get patient into good fitness, the price for one stay in a cave is negligible. As an expert on lung diseases I cannot certify the influence of salt caves on other types of diseases. But for myself I can testify to the comfortable relaxing effects of salt caves.

source: magazine Nova Tina, issue 43, 26th of August 2005

For asthmatics, visiting a salt cave can replace a curative stay at sea. Salt air attenuates allergic symptoms. Staing can help people with chronic snuffles, inflammation of nasopharynx or bronchitis.

“The cave imitates the environment of natural salt mines or seaside regions where the air is enriched with salts and therefore attenuates inflammation of the upper and lower respiratory tract,” Jiri Homolka explains. He suggests that visits must be repeated several times, the cave does not have a one-time effect.

source: Hospodarske Noviny, section Zdravie, 1st of August 2005

M.D Vladimir Volf PhD. pediatrician, Children and youth clinic, third Medical School of Comenius University and Teaching hospital Kralovske Vinohrady, Praha, Czech Republic

When we say salt, we usually imagine a mineral, which we use in cooking and food preparation. But salt has also other important use. One of advantages of this mineral is its healing effects. Treatment of miscellaneous diseases in saline microclimate is carried out for many years. Method of inhalation of salt diffused in air was utilized already by ancient Greek doctors.

Pediatricians recommend stays at sea for children with difficulties with upper and lower respiration tract. Although we don’t have a sea in the Czech Republic, we don’t need to travel a long way to other countries to the sea in order to take advantage of sea-like climates. Alternatively a stay in salt cave comes into consideration.

Staying in a salt cave is a new, original, effective and cleanly natural method called halotherapy. In a salt cave dominates a unique and inimitable climate, created by the presence of high amounts of salt which build up in the cave. The air in the cave is saturated with ions of iodine, calcium, magnesium, sodium, bromine, selenium and other trace elements which create microclimate which has an enormous positive influence for the treatment of a wide spectrum of diseases and remarkably supports the immune system for both young and adult patients. Another significantly positive effects of salt cave lie in the ability of inhaled salt aerosols to dry up microbial cells of patogenous microorganisms which in turn leave the body in the form of released sputum from the respiratory tract. This effect is identified as a self cleaning process of the organism. Direct consequence of this self cleaning process is the regression of the inflammation with changes not only in the respiratory tract but also in the whole organism.

From my praxis, I can acknowledge that staying in a salt cave significantly and positively influences the progression of diseases for child patients with chronic upper and lower respiratory tract diseases (inflammation of pharynx, hay fever, asthma), skin diseases (atopic dermatitis), chronic diseases of digestion tract (Crohn’s diseases, stomach ulcers), cardiovascular diseases (hypertension) or functional disorders of thyroid. At the same time, the salt cave microclimate positively affects the stability of the immune system which constitutes very important preventive factors of influenza diseases, which pose an increased hazard these days.

We cannot neglect the effect of salt caves on a child patients’ psyche, too. After entering the salt cave, one’s enchanted by its captivating atmosphere. Salt is everywhere on walls and floor, mild light shines through salt stones on the walls, speakers play relaxing music…

A stay in a salt caves cannot be used as a causal treatment for child patients, only as a supplemental treatment. It is necessary to remember, that supplemental treatments have significant effects on the progression and prognosis of a number of diseases. Therefore this treatment should be considered for child patients also with the consideration of its financial requirements in comparison to climatotherapic stay at sea.

M.D. Aleksander Sieluzycki, internist, balneotherapist, Jelenia Gora, Poland

During my last stay with my family in the salt cave in the city Jelenia Gora – Kaplice I started to think about the phenomenon of these facilities. The number of salt caves in Poland and Slovakia has significantly increased in the last years. Considering the high long-term popularity and the number of visitors, we have to admit that it’s more than just a matter of style. An in-depth research on the effects of these caves’ microclimate on human organism is necessary. I would divide visitors of these facilities in two groups.

The first group consists of patients who are ill and those long-time treated. They have a variety of difficulties: beginning with diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract, disorders of metabolism, endocrinal and digestion tract diseases, allergies, cardiovascular dysfunctions and related elevated blood pressure.

Last but not least there are people with skin diseases like psoriasis and various types of dermatitis. The beneficial effects of staying in salt caves on these diseases and dysfunctions are unquestionable and can be proven. We also cannot forget the effect of this microclimate on the nervous system in the treatment of neurosis, psychosomatic difficulties and a variety of phobias. Similar kinds of treatments based on natural methods are nowadays carried out in most developed countries. These procedures are used as supplemental methods and definitely boost the effects of the treatments and consecutive convalescence.

Another group would consist of people without health problems. Each of us is affected by our environment. Eating irregularly and unhealthy foods, living in never ending stress and everyday haste reflect on our fitness and mood. We are tired, apathetic and discontented. A stay in a salt cave coupled with listening to relaxing music (calm whir of the sea, bird songs or enjoyable instrumental music) acts as a balsam to our nerves. By these procedures we can talk about aromatherapy. The unique aroma of the sea salt enriched with various natural substances has invaluable effects on whole organism. That’s the essence and secret of salt caves. We can find real seaside climates here. We feel the cave with all senses. The caves turn into a significant element helping in the treatment of many serious diseases. Their preventive function can reduce the chance of their formation.

To get back to the beginning of my reflection, if this is just a vogue then it should be generally accepted considering its positive and healing effect on human organisms. I don’t think that one day we will be arranging our meetings in salt caves instead of pubs, but who knows?

M.D. Slavomira Feix, allergologist,

has practical experience with natural salt caves from Germany

Category of atopic diseases of organisms consists of typical skin diseases together with diseases of the respiratory tract. The most important indications of respiratory tract diseases in salt cave are allergologic diseases like hay fever, allergic bronchitis, allergic asthma, but also chronic bronchitis, convalescence of whooping cough (pertussis) and chronic inflammation of sinuses.

Speleotherapy is one of the reputable treatment methods for these kinds of diseases, moreover a natural one and as such, reduces the risk of acute state genesis. The ideal temperature, air humidity, high ionization, rich mineral microclimate and low, almost zero-level concentration of allergens allows patients, allergists in calm state, to significantly reinforce their respiratory tract and whole immune system. In acute states, the microclimate can reduce reaction to allergens and minimize medicaments needed.

Additional color therapy and music create comfortable environments for meditation and relaxation. Regular stays at salt caves make up for seaside air and beneficially affect the befallen respiratory tract.

M.D. Zuzana Lukacova, dermatoventerologist, Teaching Hospital with Policlinic in Bratislava – Ruzinov, Slovakia

In treatment of some skin diseases, the seasides climatic conditions have been used for many years, which help in healing or significantly improving the healthly state of a patient, protection from the inability to work or in returning to workability. Skin diseases, positively affected by climatic conditions are psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, chronic and recidivist dermatitis.

A modern, fast lifestyle doesn’t always allow us to drive off for seaside climate treatments for long periods of time and therefore the popularity of the salt caves grows. They offer the same therapeutic opportunities, but are close to our homes. Salt caves are a place where the salt is, from which mineral substances and trace elements are released at the right humidity, which create a unique microclimate saturated with important elements like iodine, copper, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium and other minerals, which are indispensable for the healthy operation of organism.

The specific microclimate of a salt cave has excellent effects not only on some skin diseases but also positively function with other diseases, like allergic diseases, asthma, inflammation of nasal cavities, respiratory tract and lastly causes stress relief and refreshing. For many positive effects I can only advise such a stay in salt cave.

M.D. Jaroslav Mikula, medical director, Slovak health spa Piestany

“Forty-five minute long stay in a salt cave is equal to three days at sea. Air is rich on disinfecting iodine, bromine, antistress magnesium, antiallergic calcium, potassium or free radicals destroying selenium,” enumerates M.D. Jaroslav Mikula from spa Piestany.

source: magazine Zdravie, November 2005

M.D. Dorota Wronska, laryngologist, Kielce, Poland

From the very beginning of service of the salt cave in the city of Kielce, not only me, but also my clients use these procedures. A unique microclimate reigns in the room. The air is saturated with elements like iodine, magnesium, potassium, chlorides, bromines, selenium and copper. Such amount of minerals and trace elements occurring in salt caves together with adequate temperature and humidity is necessary for the correct operation of the upper and lower respiratory tract. Therefore I recommend my young and adult patients to use the procedures offered in salt cave.

These procedures are appropriate for the recovery of an inflammation of the nasal cavities, inflammation of the throat and larynx. I especially recommend visiting a salt cave to people with inflammation of the tonsils and long lasting inflammation of the throat, larynx and nasal cavities.

Thanks to the fact that the salt cave is located in my city, my patients can use these procedures all year round and don’t need to wait for the summer months when they can travel to sea. I work as a laryngologist and I can’t imagine treating patients with a more effective method without recovery procedure utilizing the effects of salt, above all for those, who have suffered from diseases of the respiratory tract for a long time.

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