Speleotherapy (аrom Greek speleon - cave; therapia - treat) is a method of treating and preventing diseases, with prolonged staying in peculiar climate of caves, grottos, mines.
The climate of natural formations is characterized by constant parameters - temperature, pressure, gas composition and ionic air humidity, background radiation.
The favorable effect of the microclimate of caves on the human body has been known since the Roman times, and the healing properties of natural rock formations has been described by Hippocrates.
Speleotherapy as science started its development in the early twentieth century and its founder is Dr. K. Spannahel. And in Ukraine for the first time speleotherapy has been applied into practice in the late 60-ies, on the basis of the Transcarpathian Regional Allergic hospital. In the salt mine number 8 an underground department for treating patients with bronchopulmonary pathology was discovered. A year later the second department of the Ukrainian Allergic Hospital in the salt mine number 9 was opened.
Cavers, led by M.D.Torohtin, performed the analysis of each component of the microclimate of salt mines on the human organism separately and in combination. The main factors that create a therapeutic climate is humidity, temperature, gravity and electromagnetic field penetrating ionizing radiation, chemical and ionic composition of air, the presence or absence of salt spray, its dispersion, concentration, unipolarity (ratio of negative and positive ions), the gas composition of air (the ratio of oxygen and carbon dioxide), psychological perceptions of unusual environment. We analyzed the data of not only the Solotvyno speleostationary but of the operating salt mines in Germany, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Belarus, etc. It was decided to divide the mines according to physical properties into the following types: the temperature - subnormal (8-16 C), normal - (17-21 C), heat - (22 C) the pressure - low pressure (in the mountains), normal (land formation), high (underground caves, mines), the type of ambient air – saturated with salt spray and with no apparent saturation etc. The Solotvyno salt mines have been attributed to the warm mines with low humidity, high atmospheric pressure, saturated with fine salt (mineral halite) spray n (-) 4-5 tys/sm3, concentration of 80%, unipolarity 0.7, low levels of radiation. This climate is favorable for the treatment of upper and lower respiratory tract of allergic and infectious origin.