Asthma has been a constant companion of mine since middle school. While my siblings grew out of it, I seemed to grow into it. Fortunately, my asthma symptoms have never warranted any visits to the ER, but they have held me back from participating in physical activities. I tend to get wheezy and end up coughing non-stop after a tough hike, running, or after exercising. It’s really unpleasant to deal with.
In my recent attempts to reclaim my health by using essential oils over the past few months, I have been able to control my flare ups. In fact, I haven’t used my asthma inhaler since February! If you’re an asthma sufferer like me, you know this is sort of a big deal! I’ve gone almost 6 months without having to use steroids once since I started.
How did I do it?
Salt inhalation therapy with the help of essential oils!
The Healing Power of Salt
The use of salt inhalation therapy dates back to the ancient Greeks, but the most interesting observation of its benefits comes from Poland. In the 18th century, Polish salt miners were documented as having noticeably better immune systems, lung health, and sinus clarity compared to their families. If the salt miners did happen to come down with a respiratory condition, the symptoms were mild and recovery time was fast. All of this was attributed to inhaling salt on a daily basis.
Ancient Ayurvedic cultures have used and relied on salt therapy for thousands of years to irrigate the nose and throat to help prevent and treat illness and allergies. If you have ever used a Neti Pot, then you know just how cleansing and histamine balancing salt can be.
Today, anyone who has spent a day at the beach can attest to feeling the special healing properties of salt. Your breathing is clear and your hair, skin, and nails feel great. If you can’t make it to the ocean, there are special salt lined rooms popping up all around the world. These rooms mimic European salt caves to help treat people with various breathing conditions due to living in densely populated and polluted areas. The salt acts as a detoxifier by pulling out toxins and cleansing the airways.
The Types of Halotherapy
There are many ways to benefit from the healing powers of salt both externally and internally. I’m sure you have used at least one of the methods I list below.
Halotherapy, derived from the Greek word halos, meaning “salt”, and is a therapy in which salt is used in various ways to heal and support the body.
Some of the most common forms of salt healing therapy include:
• Neti Pots for nasal irrigation (I love this one)
• Dry salt inhalers (This one is my favorite)
• Saline and brine baths- many do this by using Epsom Salts for sore muscles
• Crenotherapy- the consumption of therapeutic salt water such as salt sole (read about how to make it HERE)
• Colonics (buy your own home enema kit here)
• Salt Lamps (you can read more about them HERE)
• Salt caves
• Salt rooms
The Benefits of Using a Salt Inhaler
Nowadays you don’t have to sit in a salt cave to reap the benefits of salt inhalation therapy. If you suffer from any kind of respiratory ailment, you can now treat it comfortably anytime with the use of a salt inhaler for just 20 minutes a day.
This may seem like a long time, but it’s not time consuming at all! They’re super easy to use. I like to use my salt inhaler while reading a book, surfing the internet, or while watching a favorite TV show. It’s unobtrusive and easy to do while relaxing. In fact, you may find yourself looking forward to using your salt inhaler because it helps clarify the mind and awaken the senses. I love to use it when I need a quick pick me up especially with the help of essential oils.
How do Salt Inhalers Work?
So I talk a lot about inhaling salt in this article, but it’s not what you may be thinking! We’re not actually inhaling granulated pieces of salt, but microscopic particles of salt, just to clarify.
Salt is known to bring down inflammation, balance your histamine response, and thin/dry up mucus. This is the perfect trifecta of healing for asthma sufferers, people with bronchitis, and even for those with COPD.
As you breathe through the salt inhaler, the moisture from the air picks up tiny particles of Himalayan salt and carries it deep into the lungs without side effects. The salt then goes to work by moistening mucus membranes, thinning mucus, and bringing down inflammation.
How to Use Salt Inhalers
Using a salt inhaler is really simple. Most of the time they are already assembled and ready to use out of the box. The Himalayan salt itself lasts for up to 2 years so you end up saving a lot of money since you will likely need your asthma inhaler less and less. Does anyone know of an asthma inhaler that lasts that long? I think not.
The most important this about using a salt inhaler is to only breathe IN through the mouth. Never breath OUT through the inhaler or the salt inside will lose its therapeutic effects much faster.
I found a nice video demonstration on how to use your salt inhaler below:
The Benefits of Salt Inhalers
1. Reduces allergies
Consistently using a salt inhaler will balance the histamine response in the lungs and sinus cavity by coating and protecting mucus membranes. The salt will diminish inflammation and reduce general irritation caused by allergens, smoke, and pollution.
Check out my seasonal allergy article here.
2. Clears the Lungs
I used to wake up wheezy every day from asthma flare ups. Now that I use my salt inhaler on a daily basis (most often before bed), I wake up clear and have good lung capacity. The reason for this is because salt is so anti-inflammatory. Since asthma is an inflammatory disease, it makes perfect sense that salt inhalation would improve asthma symptoms.
3. Reduces Mucus
Allergy and asthma sufferers rejoice! Salt is really good at thinning and drying up mucus. What’s more, salt also moisturizes membranes. This is the perfect combination for all respiratory conditions like dry cough, bronchitis, asthma, smokers cough, cold and flu, COPD, pneumonia, sore throats, sinus infections, hay fever, and other allergies. Anyone with these ailments can find some measure of relief by using salt inhalation therapy.
4. Better sleep
For the longest time I had trouble sleeping because my hay fever would keep me up at night. I couldn’t stop sneezing and has to constantly blow my nose at bed time. I tried cleaning my bedroom and washing all of my linens to no avail. Using a salt inhaler was the only thing that worked because it balanced out my histamine response and I was finally able to sleep.
5. Clarifies the mind
If you add 1-10 drops of an essential oil with an affinity for the respiratory system, you will notice a wonderfully awakening effect. Often when I feel drowsy or worn out, I reach for my salt inhaler and add a few drops of peppermint, eucalyptus, or myrtle essential oil.
Essential oils help carry the salt even deeper into the lungs and sinuses with the added benefits of the essential oil you choose.
Peppermint will help reduce coughing and cut through mucus and clear the senses. It’s a powerful decongestant.
Eucalyptus will eradicate bacteria and viruses as well as help you expectorate.
Myrtle helps soothe chronic coughs and sore throats.
Have you ever used salt inhalation therapy? Have you included essential oils to enhance its effect?
For more on the amazing health benefits of himalayan salt, check out the articles below:
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