Salt therapy, also known as halotherapy, is a natural and holistic treatment involving the inhalation of dry salt particles in a controlled environment.

This therapy has ancient roots, with its origins tracing back to Eastern Europe where people frequented salt caves for their purported health benefits. Today, salt therapy is offered in modern salt rooms and salt caves designed to mimic these natural environments.

This article explores how salt therapy works, its benefits, and the scientific studies supporting its efficacy.

How Salt Therapy Works

Mechanism of Action

Salt therapy works primarily through the inhalation of micronized salt particles, which are dispersed into the air of a specially designed room or cave using a halogenerator. The main mechanisms through which salt therapy is believed to exert its benefits include:

Anti-inflammatory Effects: Salt has natural anti-inflammatory properties. When inhaled, it can help reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract, which is beneficial for conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and sinusitis.

Mucolytic Effects: Salt can thin mucus, making it easier to expel. This is particularly helpful for individuals with respiratory conditions that involve excessive mucus production.

Antimicrobial Properties: Salt is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Inhaling salt particles can help reduce the microbial load in the respiratory tract, aiding in the prevention and treatment of infections.

Improved Respiratory Function: By reducing inflammation and thinning mucus, salt therapy can improve overall respiratory function, leading to easier breathing and enhanced oxygenation.

Types of Salt Used

The salt used in halotherapy is typically pharmaceutical-grade sodium chloride, which is free from contaminants and additives. In some cases, mineral-rich salts like Himalayan pink salt are used, although the clinical evidence supporting the superiority of such salts is limited.

Benefits of Salt Therapy

Salt therapy in a salt room
Salt therapy in a salt room
Respiratory Health: Salt therapy is widely used to manage respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis, and allergies. It helps in clearing mucus, reducing inflammation, and improving lung function.

Skin Conditions: Salt therapy can benefit skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne. The salt particles can help reduce inflammation and bacterial load on the skin, promoting healing and improving skin health.

Stress and Relaxation: The serene environment of a salt room can promote relaxation and stress relief. The negative ions released by salt are believed to improve mood and promote a sense of well-being.

Athletic Performance: Some athletes use salt therapy to enhance performance, improve respiratory function and reduce recovery times. Improved lung function can lead to better oxygen uptake and endurance.

Clinical Studies and Evidence

Respiratory Health

Asthma: A study published in the journal Pediatric Pulmonology investigated the effects of halotherapy on children with asthma. The randomized, controlled trial found that children who received halotherapy showed significant improvements in asthma symptoms and lung function compared to the control group .

COPD: Research published in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease evaluated the efficacy of salt therapy in patients with COPD. The study concluded that halotherapy significantly improved the quality of life and respiratory function in COPD patients .

Bronchitis: A study in the European Respiratory Journal examined the benefits of salt therapy for patients with chronic bronchitis. Results indicated that participants experienced reduced coughing, sputum production, and overall respiratory discomfort .

Skin Conditions

Eczema: A study conducted by the University of Manchester explored the effects of salt therapy on eczema patients. Participants reported significant improvements in skin hydration, reduced itchiness, and overall skin condition after regular halotherapy sessions .

Psoriasis: Research published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment found that halotherapy could be an effective adjunctive treatment for psoriasis. Patients experienced a reduction in scaling and redness after consistent salt therapy treatments .

Stress and Relaxation

Mental Health: A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine assessed the impact of salt therapy on mental health and stress levels. Participants reported decreased anxiety and improved mood following salt therapy sessions.


Salt therapy, or halotherapy, offers a range of potential health benefits, particularly for respiratory and skin conditions. Its mechanisms of action include anti-inflammatory, mucolytic, and antimicrobial effects. As with any therapy, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting halotherapy, especially for individuals with pre-existing health conditions.

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