Salt therapy is not a new method in the field of healing, especially for Eastern Europe and Russia. The method of non-drug healing in salt mines or salt caves arose several centuries ago.
According to generally accepted standards, salt therapy can be divided into 2 types – wet and dry. Wet salt therapy includes salt baths, baths, wraps, scrubs and peels, as well as the use of saline solutions for gargling and spraying on the body.
Dry salt therapy is based on the application of salt in a completely dry environment, where there is no moisture.
Salt therapy is not a recent method in the field of healing, particularly in Eastern Europe and Russia, where the practice of non-drug healing in salt mines or salt caves has existed for centuries. Salt therapy can be classified into two main types: wet and dry. Wet salt therapy involves the use of salt baths, baths, wraps, scrubs, peels, and saline solutions for gargling and body sprays. On the other hand, dry salt therapy is based on the application of salt in a completely dry environment without any moisture.
Dry salt therapy includes two healing methods:
Speleotherapy– long-term therapy in peculiar natural microclimatic conditions, for example, in salt mines, mines. This method is typical for the countries of Eastern and Central Europe, where there are natural salt deposits and deep mines. There are thermal caves in Austria, salt and potash mines in Romania and Poland, and cold caves abound in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia.
Halotherapy – therapy that is carried out in artificially created conditions of a closed room. For this, special rooms are created – salt rooms, grottoes, chambers, etc. This healing method has recently been used almost all over the world, having become quite widespread, including on the American continent as an alternative to natural speleotherapy.
Halotherapy, in turn, can be active and passive.
Active halotherapy implies the use of a special halogenerator device that sprays a dry salt aerosol into the space, providing a controlled flow of ionized sodium chloride microparticles into the air for inhalation and deposition on human skin.
Passive halotherapy carried out without the use of halogenerators. The rooms in this case are filled with a large number of different salt mixtures or pure salt – Himalayan, rock, Caribbean, Atlantic, Dead Sea salt and so on. Often the walls of such special rooms are made of salt blocks, and the floor is covered with a thick layer of salt.
Until recently, passive halotherapy has been quite common, especially in America and Canada. In America alone, before the pandemic, there were over 2,000 salt cabins. Passive halotherapy has also become widespread in Russia due to the simplicity of the idea and relatively low investment in the construction and equipment of this kind of salt rooms.
However, in November 2022, the American Salt Therapy Association, or STA, announced the creation and implementation of the Salt Therapy Industry Standards – STIS.
The Salt Therapy Association is the world’s largest non-profit organization, established in 2014 for salt therapy providers and users from 35 countries. The standards she has developed are designed to provide an evidence base for the effectiveness of salt therapy and to clear the industry of misconceptions.
In particular, Leo Tonkin, one of the founders of STA, stated: “Misconceptions, along with false claims, have undermined the integrity of the industry. STIS is a collaborative initiative that benefits the entire salt and halotherapy industry.”
Until recently, passive halotherapy has been widely practiced, particularly in America and Canada, with over 2,000 salt cabins in the United States alone prior to the pandemic. Passive halotherapy has also gained popularity in Russia due to its simple concept and relatively low investment in constructing and equipping salt rooms.
However, in November 2022, the American Salt Therapy Association (STA) announced the creation and implementation of the Salt Therapy Industry Standards (STIS). As the world’s largest non-profit organization for salt therapy providers and users from 35 countries, STA aims to establish evidence-based standards for the effectiveness of salt therapy and to address misconceptions in the industry.
Leo Tonkin, one of the founders of STA, stated: “Misconceptions, along with false claims, have undermined the integrity of the industry. STIS is a collaborative initiative that benefits the entire salt and halotherapy industry.” This initiative by STA aims to provide clarity and integrity to the industry by setting standards based on evidence and promoting best practices in salt therapy.
What provisions include industry standards for salt therapy – STIS?
1. Halotherapy can only be provided by the use of a halogenerator. Without a halogenerator, dry salt therapy is not halotherapy.
2. The only permitted salt that can be used in the halogenerator is 99.99% pure dry pharmaceutical 99.99% sodium chloride, certified for purity and quality, for example, by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP).
3. The smaller the size of sodium chloride microparticles, the better. In this case, the maximum particle size should not exceed 5 microns.
4. Halotherapy should only be carried out in a closed room containing salt particles.
5. The room for halotherapy must be equipped with well-installed ventilation.
6. The duration of the session can be from 10 to 45 minutes or more. The duration of the session should be determined by the cubic volume of air space in the halotherapy room.
7. Salt blocks or spraying Himalayan salt on the walls do not have any healing effect and are purely decorative elements.
8. You can not make false claims that halotherapy is a cure for this or that disease. It is necessary to advertise halotherapy without promises of a therapeutic effect.
The standards introduced by the Salt Therapy Associations are very simple and contain obvious points. Nevertheless, this is an important milestone in the development of the global wellness industry, which will inevitably lead to increased customer confidence not only in halotherapy, but in general in the methods used in the SPA & Wellness industry. It is no secret that businessmen who are often far from spa medicine, balneology or physiotherapy, who do not know the nuances of organizing and providing high-quality salt therapy services, sell services that do not have any beneficial effect, and sometimes, on the contrary, are harmful. Unscrupulous businessmen discredit halotherapy, promising a therapeutic effect from a 10-minute stay in a poorly ventilated room, decorated at best with salt tiles, and at worst with salt spray on the walls applied on a toxic adhesive base. Unfortunately, in every country you can find such commercial projects with the name “Salt Cave” or “Halochamber”, misleading customers.
Indeed, the introduction of standards by the Salt Therapy Association is a significant milestone in the development of the global wellness industry. These standards will help increase customer confidence not only in halotherapy but also in the methods used in the SPA & Wellness industry as a whole.
It is unfortunate that some businessmen who may lack knowledge about spa medicine, balneology, or physiotherapy may sell services that do not have any beneficial effect or may even be harmful to customers. Such unscrupulous practices can discredit halotherapy, misleading customers with false claims and promises of therapeutic effects from poorly designed and poorly ventilated salt rooms, decorated with low-quality salt tiles or salt sprays applied on toxic adhesive bases. These misleading commercial projects with names like “Salt Cave” or “Halochamber” can be found in various countries, causing harm to the reputation of halotherapy and the wellness industry as a whole.
In Russia, there is also the National Association of Specialists in the Development of Speleo and Halotherapy, established in 2015 to protect the interests of consumers from companies that provide halotherapy services, but do not provide any guarantees for the quality of construction, proper operation of premises with the aim of a real healing effect from the use of this kind services. Among other things, two main reasons led to the creation of the Association:
• the growing trend of salt therapy and the emergence of a large number of competitors,
• the emergence of numerous unscrupulous intermediaries and entrepreneurs, undermining the reputation and image of halotherapy with their unprofessional actions. The growth of the salt therapy market and the commercial success of such projects have attracted the attention of socially irresponsible entrepreneurs.
In fairness, it must be emphasized that it was Russia, or rather the former USSR, that was the ancestor of halotherapy as an effective method of not just a program of physiological recovery, but a whole direction of balneological treatment. In Russia, halotherapy initially appeared as a method used strictly within the framework of physiotherapy and climatotherapy. In 1985, the Institute of Balneology, in collaboration with scientists from salt caves in Uzhgorod, developed the first automatic device for spraying finely dispersed ionized salt, which was called a halogenerator. After the collapse of the Soviet state, climatic halotherapy entered the world market of services and became known outside of Russia in health and medical institutions in Europe, and then in the resorts of Australia, Canada, and finally in the United States. It was Russia that gave the world an impetus for the development of salt therapy, providing a large pool of research papers on all aspects of the most effective use of speleo and halotherapy in terms of evidence-based medicine.
Currently, the Russian National Association of Speleo and Halotherapy Development Specialists is making great efforts to consolidate the intellectual potential of specialists in the field of balneology, to study and popularize modern methods of speleo and halotherapy. A special place in the activities of the Association is occupied by cooperation with the Association of Outpatient Rehabilitation Physicians and the study of the effectiveness of traditional and ultrasonic halotherapy in recovery after acute broncho-pulmonary diseases, including coronovirus, pneumonia, and bronchial asthma attacks.
What are modern halochambers that can be safely recommended for implementation in the SPA & Wellness industry?
One of the options for the proper organization of halochambers in a spa, which is actively growing in popularity in America, Australia and Canada, is salt rooms made from 100% Himalayan salt. The salt room is equipped not only with a halogen generator, but also with a special massage table that provides far infrared heat therapy combined with precious stones, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy and LED light therapy. This combination brings not only real recovery to SPA&Wellness clients, but also tremendous pleasure and relaxation.
In the understanding of Russian professionals, a halochamber is a room equipped with certified devices and computerized devices for creating a strictly regulated therapeutic microclimate. The artificially created microclimate is similar to the best natural salt caves in terms of its temperature and humidity characteristics, air velocity, degree of air ionization. The walls and floor must be lined with embossed and rough to the touch blocks of sea salt, and the ceiling must be coated with salt, and in sufficient quantities applied on a 100% environmentally friendly base. In the course of numerous scientific and experimental works, it was concluded that the use of ultrasonic generation of dry salt aerosol significantly expands the indications for the use of halotherapy. Ultrasonic halotherapy gives more pronounced and reliable results in the rehabilitation of patients with diseases of the respiratory system and strengthening the pulmonary immunity of healthy people. The use of halotherapy can be an effective way in the complex therapy of dermatological and cosmetic problems in Medi SPA clients and cosmetology clinics.
The American and Russian schools of halotherapy have slightly different approaches to the organization of halochambers, but the very essence of the halotherapy method is ideally embodied by both sides. The result of halotherapy procedures in Medical SPA, Health and Wellness is equally worthy of all praise and approval from customers.
Future prospects for halotherapy until 2030.
In the light of the ever-increasing respiratory infectious and viral load on the human body, environmental degradation, more aggressive exposure to household allergens, of course, technically competent and well-equipped halochambers are rapidly gaining popularity among customers in the spa treatment segment. Halochambers are also being actively introduced into Medical SPA, Health and Wellness projects, recreational and relaxation complexes. Undoubtedly, in the coming years, this trend will only increase, especially with the promising development of new technologies and methods for halotherapy procedures. The effects of the use of haloaerosols in the treatment of dermatological and skin diseases, to improve the appearance, to increase the duration of the active period of life in the context of preventive SPA medicine, and so on are being studied.
Indeed, the increasing awareness of respiratory health, environmental factors, and the demand for preventive wellness measures have led to the growing popularity of halochambers in various segments of the spa and wellness industry, including Medical SPA, Health and Wellness projects, recreational and relaxation complexes.
Research and studies on the effects of halotherapy, particularly the use of haloaerosols, in the treatment of dermatological and skin diseases, as well as for improving overall appearance and increasing the duration of the active period of life in the context of preventive SPA medicine, are ongoing. As technology advances and new methods for halotherapy procedures are developed, the potential benefits and applications of halochambers in the spa and wellness industry may continue to expand.
It is important to ensure that the implementation of halochambers and other wellness modalities in spa and wellness settings follows industry standards, guidelines, and best practices to ensure safety and effectiveness. Regular maintenance, proper ventilation, and the use of high-quality materials and equipment are crucial factors to consider in order to provide a safe and beneficial experience for spa and wellness clients. Consulting with experts, such as those from the Salt Therapy Association, can be valuable in ensuring proper implementation of halochambers and other salt therapy treatments in the spa and wellness industry.
The commercial component also plays a role in the popularization of salt therapy in general, and halotherapy in particular. The procedures are affordable for the vast majority of people who care about their health, they are environmentally friendly and safe, and do not require any activity or stress from a person. For owners who implement halochambers in their clinics, spas, wellness complexes, this is an economically viable and profitable investment. In addition, the operation of halochambers, as a non-contact procedure, does not require constant and impressive costs for staff salaries.
Finally, given the fact that representatives of national associations of salt therapy specialists in different countries are increasingly joining the struggle for the quality of services, we can confidently say that this trend is already irreversible and, in fact, salt therapy and especially halotherapy is becoming a necessary element of every spa complex , clinics, SPA,Health and Wellness complex.
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