Salt therapy originated from the salt mines and caves of Eastern Europe. As a result of the workers were chiseling, hammering and grinding at the salt, micro-sized salt particles were being disbursed into the air. And the conditions below the Earth's surface where ideal, air pressure, circulation, humidity and temperature had a positive affect on the quality of the environment. It was determined that by being in this environment, miners unknowingly were receiving natural health benefits by breathing in the salt particles. Mining jobs were considered dangerous to health and life of the workers, but salt miners seemed to thrive in good health, rarely suffering from or having any respiratory issues and also had better skin appearance.
Modern dry salt therapy began in the salt mines and caves in Europe and Russia.
Upon studying the effects of this phenomena, Dr. Feliks Boczkowski, founded and opened the first health resort facility in 1939 at the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland. He offered salt baths and used natural brine from underground and then found that staying underground could be even more effective and beneficial in treating asthma than inhalations.
In 1949, during WWII, German physician, Dr. K.H. Spannahel, observed that the people who were hiding from the bombs in salt mines and caves had respiratory health benefits. He created the Klyutert cave as an inpatient facility to conduct a methodical approach to observe the climatological conditions and confirm the medical effectiveness of underground salt environments. With assistance from Hungarian geologist, Dr. H. Kessler, The results of these studies established the framework of modern Speleotherapy - a proposed respiratory therapy involving breathing inside a cave.
In 1958, Professor Mieczyslaw Skulimowski became the physician at the "Wieliczka" Salt Mine to start treating patients in the salt chambers, launching a new field of medicine - Subterraneo-therapy, also called the Skulimowski method, which refers to underground "salted" environments exclusively.
In 1964 the world's first facility of its kind, the underground "Kinga" Allergy Treatment Spa was created in the "Wieliczka" Salt Mine in Poland. It was renamed the "Kinga" Health Resort Hospital. Professor Skulimowski
became its first Director and focused on helping people with mostly respiratory conditions but also explored other overall health benefits. His methods proved to be successful and spread to neighboring salt mines and caves in Europe as well as to the former Soviet Union. In 1968, the first speleo-hospital was opened in the Solotvyno salt mine in Ukraine.
The medical community started to pay attention and take notice, the need for more convenient access became necessary in order to operate specific studies and do more research.
In 1985 in Odessa, Russia, the Institute of Balneology (the study of therapeutic bathing and medicinal springs), with the participation of the salt cavers from Uzhgorod (Ukraine), the first Halotherapy device was developed. This new device reproduced the grinding and crushing of natural salt and would disperse the particles into the air. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, information about halotechnology and Halotherapy protocols became available to the rest of the world. Halotherapy began to be used in commercial and wellness settings outside of the USSR in Eastern and Western Europe, Canada, Australia and finally the United States.
Today, there are just over 650 facilities offering salt therapy in the United States and Canada.
The Salt Therapy Association says: "we will see and experience growing interests in the mainstream medical community studying the impact that halotherapy has on respiratory and skin conditions along with general wellness, athletic performance, and hygiene.
People will be able to use the flexible spending accounts towards salt therapy sessions, health insurance companies will start to realize the real benefits to health care costs for specific conditions and disease where prescription medicine is not the only answer and healthcare professionals will integrate salt therapy in their treatments.
Increased funds will be available for research and grants to continue to provide the evidence for halotherapy results. Inhalation of micron-sized particles will become a more recognized form of treatment delivery and we will start to see how other compounds and elements will be utilized for effective micron-sized particle inhalation treatments and therapies.