- Publish Date
- Wednesday, 8 July 2015, 11:11AM
Imagine this: you lie completely naked under a plastic dome while a tiny machine pumps microscopic particles of pharmaceutical-grade salt into the air. You can't see or smell it and it's only if you lick your hand that you can taste it and be sure something is happening.
This is a dry-salt bed.
While a lot of the time we are warned against salt in food, salt enthusiasts are using the little crystals as a cure for asthma and allergies, a boost to the immune system, and a way to increase athletic endurance and even to add a glow to your complexion. The secret? Skip the shaker in favor of inhaling the white stuff.
"Salt has incredible qualities," says Ulle Pukk, a cofounder of the Salt Therapy Association. "It's antiviral, antimicrobial, and antifungal." Pukk is at the forefront of a movement that's bringing halotherapy, also known as dry-salt therapy, to America.
It's already popular in Europe and uses a machine called a halo-generator. This grinds warm salt into breathable particles and dispenses dry-salt aerosol into the air of enclosed rooms, or a salt chamber.
"Dry salt goes deep into the recesses of your lungs," she explains. "It absorbs impurities from your body and helps break up mucus so you can cough out toxins. When you have clean lungs, you get more oxygen, which gives you more energy, impacts every organ in your body, and improves overall well-being." There are now more than 150 salt rooms in the U.S. "It's holistic, there are no side affects, and it can address so many different issues," says Ellen Patrick of Breathe Easy spas, which feature salt rooms and salt beds.
Even mainstream doctors see potential benefits. "A lot of patients say it increases exercise tolerance," says pulmonologist Denise Harrison, an assistant professor of environmental medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center. She adds, however, that more research is needed to substantiate halotherapy's claims.