Salt therapy can be distinguished in several ways, such as, wet salt therapy and dry salt therapy.
Many people are familiar with wet salt therapy, although it may not be defined this way. Wet salt therapy includes saline solutions, nebulizers, salt baths and salt scrubs. Wet salt therapy is often used in neti pots, gargling solutions, sole drinking water, exfoliations and flotation tanks and with other modalities.
Dry salt therapy is based on using dry salt in an environment that is completely void of moisture and humidity. Traditionally, dry salt therapy is provided in a controlled space that is often referred to as salt rooms, salt caves, salt grottos, salt chambers and the like. The Salt Therapy Association refers to any man-made environment that offers salt therapy as ‘salt rooms’. Salt caves, salt grottos, salt chambers and other references are types of décor and architectural themes that create particular ambiances and aesthetics of the ‘room.’
There are some terms being used to describe dry salt therapy such as Speleotherapy and Halotherapy. The Salt Therapy Association defines these as follows:
- Speleotherapy is a therapy that is provided below the Earth’s surface utilizing the climate conditions and salt air found in natural occurring caves and is not exclusive to salt mines and caves.
- Halotherapy is a dry salt therapy that is provided in man-made environments, utilizing special equipment called a halogenerator that disperses a precise dry salt aerosol into the salt room or chamber.
There are two types of rooms for providing dry salt therapy in man-made environments that the Salt Therapy Association is classifying; (1) active and (2) passive.
Active Salt Rooms
1. Active salt rooms include a halogenerator and are primarily based on providing a controlled way of providing micro-particles of salt in the air to be inhaled and exposed to the skin. This can be achieved only by a special piece of equipment known as a halogenerator. Pure sodium chloride is placed into the halogenerator, which then crushes and grinds the salt into micro-sized particles and disperses the salt aerosol into the air. This type of dry salt therapy is known as Halotherapy.
Passive Salt Rooms
2. Passive salt rooms are man-made environments that are filled with large amounts of varying types of salt such as Dead Sea, Himalayan, Rock Salt, Mediterranean, Caribbean, etc. but without a halogenerator. Often, these passive salt rooms are designed to control the climate by regulating the airflow, humidity and temperature to allow for an allergen and pollutant free environment. These passive salt rooms are attempting to provide what is known as Speleotherapy, based on the natural salt caves found throughout Europe, however it is in a man-made environment. Speleotherapy occurs in natural environments that are underground with specific conditions that include atmospheric pressure, air temperature, wind speed, air composition, humidity and other factors that cannot be reproduced in a man-made environment. Without any halotherapy equipment, it is not recognized as halotherapy. It is a passive salt room that provides a great space for relaxation, meditation and increases psycho-emotional well-being.
While there is much research and clinical studies on both Speleotherapy and Halotherapy, the primary effectiveness of dry salt therapy is based on the inhalation of certain sized salt particles into the respiratory system and having the skin being exposed to these micro-size particles of salt. This is only possible in man-made environments using a device such as a halogenerator. This is the difference between passive and active dry salt therapy rooms.