Speleotherapy (from Greek speleos=cave) is a natural treatment which has been practiced in the old salt mines of Eastern Europe since the early 19th Century. Speleotherapy treatment was discovered in Poland in 1843 by Dr. Felix Boczkowski.
Dr. Boczkowski noticed that metal and coal miners had a tendency to experience severe respiratory problems, but salt miners tended to be healthier than most people. In fact, during the middle ages, they did not succumb to the bubonic plague.
Salt Spa St. Augustine seeks to replicate the healing microclimate climate of a natural salt mine, also called speleotherapy, in our salt cave.
Speleotherapy is a process that involves using the health enhancing effects of a salt mine’s natural microclimate to treat respiratory conditions. Salt cave therapy is common all over Eastern Europe and has become a standard feature of spa treatment there. The Wieliczka salt mine in Poland is the largest subterranean medical respiratory hospital in the world. Operated by National
Ministry of Polish Health, it sees up to 350 patients per year. The making of Salt Spa St. Augustine was inspired by the Wieliczka mine.
Speleotherapy, which involves breathing the mineral infused air of a salt mine, is one of the most effective alternative respiratory therapies. Many health conditions have been cured with this type of therapy. The cave air has a high microbiological cleanliness from fungi, pollen, bacteria and dust mites, which can cause allergic reactions or asthma attacks; it reduces any kind of irritation, and the diseased symptoms are reduced and completely eliminated when the patient is in the cave.
Below are some of the special characteristics and benefits of a salt mine micro-climate used in speleotherapy:
- It has a stable temperature and humidity.
- The air lacks airborne pollutants like pollen.
- Speleotherapy works without any medical treatment or drug use.
- The cave air contains no or almost no dust, reducing the chance of irritation and completely eliminating the symptoms of diseases from the body.
- In addition to treating or reducing the symptoms of asthma, speleotherapy is also known to reduce various symptoms of allergies, other breathing problems etc.
- Nervous system dysfunction can also be treated with the use of speleotherapy.
The salt cave at Salt Spa is filled with over 25,000 pounds of Himalayan and Polish crystal salts. Due to the large amount of salt
and air controlled environment, a unique microclimate is achieved within the cave. The climate is rich in ions, minerals and micro-elementary particles like sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium. These minerals are naturally absorbed into your body during the therapy by breathing the saturated air into the lungs, thus improving your health, performance and overall fitness, no matter your age.
The Salt Cave at Salt Spa of Saint Augustine is designed to inspire total mind and body relaxation, as well as the rehabilitation of common respiratory conditions like:
- Colds and flu
In addition, the cave aids red blood cell production and strengthens the digestive system. It not only remove toxins and fat cells within the body, but also helps reduce fever, stop bleeding, and can improve heart and kidney functions.
The salt cave at Salt Spa is equipped with a therapeutic ultrasonic nebulizer, built especially for salt caves, which generates an active salt fog into the air. Mist containing salt, negative ions and minerals is inhaled into the lungs. We run this at certain intervals throughout the day to maintain a consistent humidity. The salt cave is also equipped with two brine graduation towers, similar to those found in Poland. The brine waterfall at Salt Spa contains a rare mined iodized salt from the Wieliczka mine in Poland. Iodine is an extremely important nutrient to maintain cognitive function and maintain a healthy thyroid. Heavily saturated salt water is continually circulated to the top of the walls and slowly drips down; salt collects on the twigs and minerals from the water evaporate into the air, thus creating a therapeutic micro-climate around the structure. The brine aerosol has essential prophylactic properties. During the course of a day, our lungs accumulate dust that is contained in the air we breathe. Salt works to expel these particles by opening up our airways.
Our salt cave sessions are 45 minutes in length. Guests sit on zero gravity chairs, accompanied by soothing music, which helps you relax, calm down and enjoy your service.
Due to increasing technology and environmental pollution, more people have begun to suffer from respiratory conditions. Dust; cigarette fumes; electrical appliances such as TVs, computers, and high-voltage networks; and external pollution produce large quantities of positive ions, which create an electrical imbalance in the air. Negative ions are extremely important to optimize health. When the quantity of negative ions is lowered, people inhale more positive ions from the air. This can cause headaches, lethargy, dizziness, nausea, depression, indigestion, and irritability. Tests conducted in hospitals have found increasing the quantity of negative ions significantly lowers the percentage of harmful bacteria in the air. This causes patient wounds to heal faster, shortening their convalescence time. People who were exposed to higher levels of negative ions in the air indicated these positive results:
- Achieving optimal weight
- Decrease of blood pressure
- Increase of energy and stamina
What is dry halotherapy?
Halotherapy (from Greek halos=salt) was developed as a medical technology in Russia in 1989. It uses a generator to disperse dry aerosol micro particles of salt to treat respiratory diseases, and seeks to replicate the conditions of speleotherapy.
Here in the United States, halotherapy is growing in popularity. There are two kinds: wet and dry. Most commonly, dry salt therapy is used in rooms with varying salt décor, equipped with a halo generator. The halo generator grinds pharmaceutical salt into micro particles and releases them into a fine dust. Once inhaled, these salt particles are said to absorb irritants from the respiratory system. Most dry halotherapy rooms are almost always void of humidity, which is a vital element for carrying ionized salt particles to the airways. Studies on dry salt therapy are inconclusive.
Wet forms of halotherapy include gargling or drinking salt water (also called Sole), using salt for nasal irrigation, and flotation tanks filled with salt water. Salt Spa of St. Augustine is equipped with two flotation tanks.
Not all salt is created equal
You should try to avoid this type of salt. It is refined and has been stripped of all minerals. Advocates of traditional medicine believe that processed table salt is energetically dead, as its crystals are completely isolated from one another. For the body to metabolize chemical table salt, it must expend tremendous amounts of energy to keep the body in a state of optimum fluid balance.
The average American consumes 3,400 mg of sodium chloride a day, over 1,000 mg more than the recommended limit. The body cannot dispose of it in a natural, healthy way, which can lead to tissue irritation, water retention, and high blood pressure.
Table salt has all of its minerals removed, which would otherwise help to balance blood pressure. Consequently, table salt causes gross blood pressure fluctuations as opposed to stabilizing it. This well-known danger has created an entire industry of “low sodium” foods.
Processed foods are very high in sodium, which is always in the form of table salt, artificial flavors, or flavor enhancers. Ironically, low sodium products often contain monosodium glutamate, a sodium-based excitotoxin that causes heart attacks in people who do not have enough magnesium. Insufficient magnesium is probably
the most common reason for mysterious heart failures in young athletes, who simply fall over dead at sporting events.
Salt is either found in rock form, where it is mined, or free flowing in the ocean. Over 100 years ago, salt used to only be found in rock form, which had to be ground. In 1924, Morton’s Salt Company, which controls most of the salt in the U.S., was required to add iodine to their salt at the request of the government. Table
salt also contains additives to make it more free flowing. Ferrocyanide, talc, and silica aluminate are commonly included. Aluminum intake leads to neurological disorders, particularly when no selenium is provided to help the body to chelate it. Aluminum bio-accumulates inside the body, causing further degeneration over time. Talc is a known carcinogen, though its effects upon ingestion have not been heavily studied. Although talc was once used in baby powders, the majority of those products now use cornstarch instead, because of the known health risks. Despite its prohibition in all other foods, the F.D.A. has a special provision to allow talc in table salt, due to toxicity issues. According to current regulations, table salt can be up to 2% talc.
Sea Salt is better for you, but…
Unrefined sea salt is likely not harmful in moderate amounts. It contains selenium, which helps to chelate toxic heavy metals from the body. It also contains boron, which helps prevent osteoporosis,
and chromium, which regulates blood sugar levels. In addition, it contains one of the only safe sources of copper. Copper helps the body form new arteries when the main arteries are clogged.
However, considering the increasing pollution of our seas, it may not be wise to consume too much sea salt. There is recent evidence that sea salt may contain amounts of micro plastics.
The healthiest forms of salt
Wieliczka salt and Himalayan salts.
Himalayan salt is a type of rock salt best known for its striking pink color, which comes from the natural presence of several trace minerals, including magnesium and iodine. Himalayan salt is unrefined and hand-mined from caves in northern Pakistan. Because it’s millions of years old and has sat untouched, many people believe that Himalayan crystal salt is a better option than standard table salt, which may contain toxins and pollutants.
Himalayan salt helps to regulate water levels in the body; encourage healthy blood pressure; reduce cramps and the appearance of aging; and promote cellular energy balance, healthy sleep patterns, and sinus, kidney and gallbladder health. Because Himalayan salt is a natural negative ion generator, it can also help boost your mood and provide a mental calmness and clarity.
Healthy salts make the body a hostile environment for pathogens such as bacteria and parasites. Its specific toxicity to pathogenic life forms is why salt is so beneficial. The presence of sodium ions is
essential for muscle contractions, including the most important muscle, the heart. Salt is important for removing the acidity from brain cells to improve brain function.
Salt has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It loosens excessive mucus and speeds up mucociliary transport. It also removes pathogens like airborne pollen and reduces lgE level (immune system oversensitivity).