Salt therapy was discovered in the mid 18th century by a Polish health official named Felix Botchkowski. Salt therapy was originally discovered as Speleotherapy or cave therapy, 'Spelenos' being the Greek term for 'cave'.
The benefits of salt therapy were also noticed in the 1940s, around the end of World War II. Abandoned salt mines were frequently used as bomb shelters. Those who sought safety in these mines found a reduction in respiratory symptoms.
Felix Botchkowski found that salt miners had not experienced lung-related ailments such as asthma, pneumonia, or chronic bronchitis.
Even miners who had the respiratory disease before they began working in the mines felt better and had fewer symptoms as they spent more and more time in the caves. Felix Botchkowski published a book in 1843 on his findings.
Speleotherapy is the treatment of respiratory diseases, as well as some skin diseases, utilizing salt-rich air in underground caves. Natural salt microns and ions have been proven effective in calming an irritated respiratory tract. Salt has a natural anti-inflammatory effect; it reduces swelling and edema in the air passages, making it less difficult and less painful to breathe.
During a treatment, the patient is allowed to relax in the salt cave for the duration of the session. Each session lasts from twenty to forty-five minutes and is repeated daily for up to fifteen days. Treatments are recommended up to three times per year.
Outside the caves, salt therapy is called Halotherapy. It comes from the Greek word 'halos', a term meaning 'salt'. Halotherapy is essentially a replication of Speleotherapy, using a dry aerosol spray to coat the walls and ceiling of a room.