Salting Away Sickness
By Tamer Abouras
There are few parts of the United States that haven’t been blanketed with their first touch of springtime weather this week. Although the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported recently that this winter was the warmest one ever recorded for the lower 48 states, there nonetheless seemed to be a strong, sunny shift this past week.
Here in the east, temperatures made a strong leap from the 30s all the way to the low 80s in the span of a week. And while those highs are probably not going to last for more than the moment — at least for another month or two — the official beginning of spring is now less than two weeks away, so it seems that winter’s chill is all but behind us for another year.
With that being said and with all it connotes from a health perspective — namely, more time outside and a seeming reduction in respiratory infections and general illnesses — there’s still reason to be wary of any mild symptoms like a stuffy nose, scratchy throat or an achy ear. Seasonal allergies really ramp up when those flowers begin to bloom. Much as we’d prefer not to think of it this way, we’re mostly exchanging one potential sick environment for another when we transition from a winter spent indoors to spring and summer outside.
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Nonetheless, there are various methods and medications which can help to ward off respiratory infections, allergies and anything else that would threaten to spoil your fun. And some are quite a bit older than others.
One such treatment is halotherapy, or dry salt therapy, which has been used in Europe for centuries, is helpful for respiratory and skin conditions and is gaining traction in the United States — especially for the patients of Jessica Bertorello, BSN.
The owner of City Salt Spa Family Wellness Center in Plain City, Ohio, Bertorello’s own initial exposure to halotherapy was a personal one, when her son had an ear infection.
“I lived in the Lebanon area and when my son was 7 months old he had an ear infection," Bertorello said. After learning of Ohio’s first halotherapy in Centerville, Bertorello said, "I made an appointment right away. He never had another ear infection."
The article on Bertorello in ThisWeek Community News goes on to detail how halotherapy can address a variety of respiratory concerns — and how many who are bringing theirs to her spa are seeing great results.
“Pharmaceutical-grade sodium chloride is put into a machine that grinds the salt and puts it in the air in the halotherapy rooms. The machine, a halogenerator, mimics the environment of a salt mine, where the therapy was born, Bertorello said.”
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Bertorello added, "Like snow, the salt liquifies mucus,” adding that salt also naturally opens airways for people with bronchitis, COPD and asthma. "People come back and say 'I haven't felt this great in a long time,' " she said
Calling halotherapy like a “detox for your respiratory system,” Bertorello’s own positive experience with the method seems to be one that many of her patients have shared. "Parents have told me it's the first time they haven't heard their kids cough all night," she said, of a parent of a child with asthma.
For about the next six months, the weather outside is going to be largely heavenly, so it only makes sense to feel as close to angelic as you possibly can — and if you’ve never tried it, perhaps halotherapy is the secret to doing just that?