Halotherapy as a part of speleotherapy
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.
Achieving the effectiveness of the method, but at the same time realizing its exclusivity – a limited number of place, age restrictions for getting down the ground, concomitant disease aggravated with increasing atmospheric pressure, it was decided to develop land formations and playing them into the microclimate of salt mines artificially. So a new branch appeared in working resorts – halotherapy. Since the main component factor of the microclimate is salt, then the name of the mineral (halite) originated the name of therapeutic method – (halos and salt) – halotherapy.Halotherapy is relatively young science, so it has the perspective of development and a deeper study. Analysis of the data on speleotherapy and halotherapyi has been performed in Ukraine by the Odessa State Institute of Balneology and rehabilitation medicine and the Uzhhorod Department Resort of Medical University. Both techniques are approved and endorsed by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.
Following the Ukrainian cavers and speleotherapeutists Russian scientists took similar software mining. A diversity of the mineral composition of salts in Eurasia provides the diversity to speleo and halotherapy. So in noteworthy speleostationary is located in potash mines of Verhnekamsky salt mines where the main mineral that creates salt aerosol is sylvinite – potassium chloride. Similar properties are in the Salihorsk speleostationary. In Poland the famous Wieliczka Salt Mine is in Krakow province, Abkhazia – the karst cave in New Athos, in Kyrgyzstan – a mountainous cave Jong-Tour.
But the impact on the human body of the mines is different from each other. Some are designed to treat musculoskeletal, others for the treatment of diseases of the nervous system, and others – for the treatment of allergy. Halotherapy is differentiated in the same way – which mineral is used for construction of hydrochloric room is and the impact on the body. Therefore, addressing questions about the construction of halochambers (salt room), you have to decide on the type of the salt room, principal mineral saturation capacity of air ions.
Speleo- and halotherapy is a renewable therapy that enables access of internal reserves of the patient, providing a soft and natural effect on the body’s defense mechanism, which allows to use this technique in the stage of complete and partial remission in a number of diseases.