Boosting our immunity is vital to staying healthy and safe when we come into contact with those who are sick. There are a variety of ways to support our immune health—from herbs to probiotics to medicinal mushrooms. There is also another simple solution: salt. Salt therapies have been used for thousands of years in all types of medicine to help heal sore throats, respiratory conditions, allergies, asthma, bronchitis, sinus infections and more. And now there is convincing research that show how salt therapies work.
How salt therapy works
Speleotherapy, also known as cave therapy, was developed in the mid-1800s after Polish salt miners were found to have a lower incidence of pulmonary disease. Halotherapy, a more recent development of the concept, is the use of salt air to recreate the cave microclimate for therapeutic use.
Salt can help protect our mucous membranes, which are one of our bodies’ first lines of defenses against pollen, bacteria and viruses. When gargled, inhaled or rinsed via a neti pot, salt can help flush out pathogens, soothe inflammation and strengthen those membranes.
The antibacterial function of salt works through the process of osmosis, where high concentrations of salt kill some types of bacteria through its dehydrating effect. When bacterial cells lose all of their water it dehydrates the cell, causes a loss of the cell’s structure, and eventually causes the death of the cell.
The mucous membrane
It’s important to understand how our mucous membranes work in concert with mucus and cilia, which all function to keep out harmful organisms and let in the good ones. Microbes, bacteria and mold must first pass through the mucous membranes, mucus (which sits on top of the membranes) and cilia (tiny hairs that help sweep pathogens from our passageways) before they get into the sinuses, throat or lungs.
Studies have shown that salt has a strong impact on how effectively mucus blocks viral entry. High salt concentration makes the mucus less penetrable, which offers a possible explanation for why gargling with salt water, using a neti pot or using a Himalayan crystal salt inhaler can soothe symptoms.
What are some of the benefits of using a salt inhaler?
- Respiratory support: A salt inhaler helps to clear out bacteria that do not belong in the respiratory tract. Additionally, salt’s anti-inflammatory properties keep bronchial tubes clear.
- Clears congestion: As mentioned, salt helps clear the mucus that contains harmful bacteria out of your body by dehydrating the bacterial cells until they die.
- Mood support & stress relief: In addition to antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities, salt releases negative ions which are believed to increase levels of serotonin in the body, thereby boosting your mood and easing stress.
- Better sleep: better moods and better breathing make it easier to sleep at night, and restorative sleep is one of the most important ways to boost your immune system.
How the salt inhaler works
A more recent and portable alternative to salt caves or rooms is a dry ceramic inhaler, which has a salt chamber inside. This adds salt to the air as you breathe in, mimicking the atmosphere and process in speleotherapy and halotherapy. Just as the neti pot does for the sinus tract, a Himalayan Crystal Salt Inhaler creates a salt environment in the bronchial tract, which results in antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory properties that help thin and reduce the build-up of excess mucus and thereby reduce congestion and support ease of breathing.
It’s important to note that this Inhaler utilizes hand-mined Himalayan salt that contains an ideal ratio of 84 different minerals in ionic form, which means the minerals can be easily absorbed by individual cells in the body where they are most effective.
If you’re suffering from respiratory issues or want a non-invasive way to help ease breathing problems, a salt inhaler can be a simple way to help reduce symptoms and limit pathogens that enter the body.