Halotherapy is relatively new to North America, but not in other parts of the globe. Many countries have utilized this beneficial practice for more than nine centuries!

Dry vs Wet Halotherapy

Halotherapy literally means salt-therapy when broken down into its parts. Halo is a derivative of the Greek word alas, meaning salt. Therapy of course refers to a form of treatment that’s used for either physical or psychological purposes.

Salt therapy treatment can take on two methods: dry or wet. The difference is based on the way salt is used. That said, both methods reap the same benefits to the user.

Wet Halotherapy

What is it? Wet halotherapy treatment combines raw salt minerals or crystals mixed with water. Have you ever heard the old adage that breathing ocean air opens the sinuses or improves health? Actually, this adage is based on scientific proof. The Lung Institute asserts that misty, salty ocean air improves conditions such as lung disease or cystic fibrosis. This is done, in part by thinning the mucus in the body and decreasing sinus pressure[1]. Wet halotherapy treatment comes from the same principle of mixing water with salt to gain therapeutic benefit.

Where did it originate? This application has been around as long as humans have harnessed the benefits of naturally occurring saline waters. These could be found in the Dead Sea and elsewhere. One of the first uses of wet halotherapy as a medicinal treatment comes from twelfth century Poland. Here, bathers utilized naturally occurring salt mineral waters as a way to alleviate illness and ward off bad health[2]. Wet halotherapy can take on many forms. Users can ingest salty water or soak in salt pools. Or they can breathe in salty air from nearby wet halotherapy sources, such as water cascades.

How is it administered today? In modern-day salt caves, wet halotherapy is most often produced from water cascades in salt rooms or caves. Water cascades serve both form and function. For example, they are often included as an aesthetic feature in caves. And, they are constructed of soft wood, metals and raw salt bricks. Water is infused with salt, or it gently cascades over salt crystals, dispersing negative ions and minerals into the air. This air is then breathed through air passageways, opening up the lungs and airways, and producing therapeutic benefits. What’s more, salt cascades are impactful, visual accents to any modern-day salt cave.

Dry Halotherapy

What is it? Dry halotherapy uses salt minerals or crystals on their own, without the addition of water. Dry halotherapy relies on the dispersion of salt minerals into the air, which are absorbed into the body through inhalation. The natural, healthy ions and minerals contained within the saline crystals benefit the body. Furthermore, the beauty of the salt caves in which the dry halotherapy is administered produce a holistic wellness experience.

Where did it originate? Naturally occurring salt caves are found through the world, with many open to the public. Some of the most famous caves are found in Europe. The most well known options are either the Wieliczka Salt Mine in southern Poland or the healing salt caverns of Berchtesgaden, Germany.

How is it administered today? Modern salt caves are able to reproduce the microclimate of those naturally occurring caves by utilizing a machine called a halogenerator. Halogenerators, like those provided by Select Salt, act as diffusers. They consistently disperse the beneficial minerals and negative ions found in salt throughout a controlled environment. To benefit from this unique microclimate, one must simply enter a salt cave, relax and breathe deeply. This enables the body to inhale and absorb the salty richness of the air.

The benefits of a salt cave

If you go to the right place, you can combine these wet and dry halotherapy elements in a single treatment. Many spas and wellness centres that offer salt caves use halogenerators and water cascades in their construction. This creates an even richer salt environment to enjoy. It’s a perfect way to soothe the body, mind and spirit while utilizing the many applications of halotherapy. Browse Select Salt’s amazing caves to find an option near you.

[1] https://lunginstitute.com/blog/breathing-in-ocean-air/

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halotherapy