How Does Salt Therapy Support the Immune System?

Woman with headphones relaxing of a salt therapy session at the Salt Suite.

Surely, if something all-natural, enjoyable and accessible lowered the likelihood of contracting the common cold, flu and viruses, then everyone would do it, right? That is exactly what we think, and perhaps scientific studies will convince more people to add salt therapy to their weekly routine.

Mitigate Cold Flus and Viruses: During a study of people with rheumatic diseases like arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis, lupus and gout, researchers found that salt therapy affects certain antigens and stimulated antibodies1. Another study with a mix of participants from healthy, at-risk for COPD, has COPD and asthma, researchers found that after 3-months of salt therapy two times per week dramatically improved healthiness and quality of life. Of those receiving treatment, there were 14 cases of acute respiratory viral infections and 104 days of symptoms vs. the control group who did not receive treatment and had 55 cases of acute respiratory viral infections and 585 days of symptoms. The study followed 160 people, both male and female, and various age groups2.

Building Germ Fighters: In a US News article, Dr. Joseph Marino, medical director of Long Island Jewish Valley Stream Hospital in New York states, “the efficacy of halotherapy [may] be related to an immunologic affect by elevating T lymphocytes, which are one of our germ fighters.” Theoretically, this could translate into better immune function and greater protection from colds, flu and other contagious illnesses”3.

Cleansing the Respiratory System: A study of modern salt therapy showed that the therapy:

  • “positively influences local immune and metabolic processes increase in SIgA and lactoferrin in pharyngeal and bronchial wash-outs, normalization of serotonin secretion; decrease in initially heightened level of catecholamines, serotonin, and histamine in bronchoalveolar lavage;
  • enhances electrophysiological cell activity of mucosa epithelium;
  • increases colonization resistance of epithelium cells regarding to opportunistic microflora;
  • assists in restoring of biocenosis in respiratory tract;
  • improves condition of systemic immunity”4.
Close up of a black woman with headphones relaxing in a salt room.

In synopsis, the tiny salt particles decreased inflammation and drain mucus, causing a cleansing of the respiratory tract.

Want to make fewer family members sick? In multi-university study, researchers examined if salt therapy could mitigate transmission of germs. Humans expel germs as small droplets that come from the fluid lining the airways. These exhaled bioaerosols carry airborne pathogens and fuel the spread of infectious diseases including influenza, tuberculosis and severe acute respiratory syndrome. The study showed that salt therapy mitigated the release of germs in exhaled air including SARS germs, and called for additional research5.

In summary, salt therapy may build germ fighters, make catching the common cold, flu and viruses less likely, as well as make it less likely to share those germs with loved ones. As one study surmised, “It is extremely expedient to apply halotherapy for the primary and secondary prevention of Respiratory Disease”6. The application of salt therapy restores movement of mucus to remove particles and gases from the respiratory tract for smokers and others exposed to risk factors6. Want to improve your immune system? Then sit back for a relaxing 45-minutes and let salt therapy work its magic…or science rather.

  1. Research on NaCl saline aerosols I. natural and artificial sources and their implications. Environmental Engineering and Management Journal. 9. Sandu, Ion & Chirazi, Marin & Canache, Maria & Alexianu, Marius & Sandu, Andrei Victor & Vasilache, Viorica. 2013
  2. Dry Sodium Chloride Aerosol Against Acute Respiratory Infections, Alina Chervinskaya St. Petersburg, 2009
  3. The Sweet (and Therapeutic) Truth About Salt Caves, US News and World Report, 2017
  4. Halotherapy in Controlled Salt Chamber Microclimate for Recovering Medicine, Alina Chervinskaya, Clinical Research Respiratory Center of Central Clinical Hospital St. Petersburg, 2007
  5. Inhaling to Mitigate Exhaled Bioaerosols, David A. Edwards*†, Jonathan C. Man‡, Peter Brand§, Jeffrey P. Katstra‡, K. Sommerer§, Howard A. Stone*, Edward Nardell¶, and Gerhard Scheuch†§ *Harvard University, 322 Pierce Hall, 29 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138; ‡Pulmatrix Incorporated, 840 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA 02139; §Inamed, Wohraer Strasse 37, 35285 Gemuenden_Wohra, Germany; and ¶Harvard Medical School, 641 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
  6. Halotherapy of Respiratory Disease, Alina Chervinskaya, Clinical Research Respiratory Center, Saint Petersburg, 2003

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