Suffering from run-ruining respiratory issues like asthma, bronchitis or congestion? There’s a spa fix you might see in your search for solutions: salt. Yep, those pretty pink caves you’ve seen on Insta with walls and blocks of salt may offer a treatment known as halotherapy – a practice that involves sitting in a cool, salt-filled room to improve health.
Proponents claim it brings big benefits like relief from breathing difficulties, healing for various skin conditions and total relaxation.
Truth is, some perks have science behind them – and others you may want to take with, er, a grain of salt (had to!).
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1. Salt rooms clear up lungs and sinuses
The thinking is that sitting near salt draws water out of your respiratory tract, reducing inflammation and alleviating issues. But that hasn’t been confirmed by studies yet. That said, some doctors supplement mainstream options like inhalers with salt therapy, says Dr Nisha Chellam, an integrative medicine practitioner. Consult your GP before you try.
2. It has major skin benefits
Exposure to high concentrations of salt absorbs and flushes out topical probs like bumps and redness, says Dr Rohan Mankikar, a pulmonologist. This makes salt rooms helpful for eczema and dermatitis flare-ups. Good to know.
3. You’ll def want to add a salt lamp to your bedroom
EH, SKIP IT.
Claims associated with salt lamps are they “clear toxins” and bad energy. That is, in a word, bogus – you won’t reap the skin or breathing benefits if you’re not inside a sodium-packed space, says Mankikar. But if having one makes you chill, that’s a fine self-care choice – just
don’t expect wellness miracles.
4. Salt rooms are safe for everyone
If you’re actively short of breath or having an asthma attack, don’t head to your salt room; it’s preventive care, not acute treatment. Also, worth noting: not all salt caves are legit. The space has to have a halogenerator – the machine that aerosolises the salt into the air – to work. Otherwise the room is basically just a lovely lounge. Ask management if the space boasts the machine. And do your due diligence pre-arrival: check customer reviews regarding relief, get a room tour, and inquire about the practices.