According to The Salt Therapy Association, dry salt therapy, as we know it today, originated from the salt mines and caves in Europe and Russia. As miners broke down the salt, micro-sized particles were being dispersed into the air. Also, the mines were ideal conditions where air pressure, circulation, humidity, and temperature affected the quality of the environment. Because of this environment, miners were receiving many natural health benefits by breathing in the salt particles. Mining jobs were usually recognized as hazardous to health, but salt miners seemed to be the opposite. Salt miners rarely suffered from contracted respiratory illnesses and showed fewer signs of aging skin due to the salt.
The Wieliczka Salt Mine
Chamber in Salt Mine in Wieliczka, Poland (Photo Credit: https://www.visitpoland.com/wieliczka-salt-mine)
Dr. Feliks Boczkowski studied the effects of the salt and in 1839, founded the first health resort facility at the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland. He offered salt baths by using natural brine from the mines stating that staying underground can be even more effective in asthma treatment than inhalations.
In 1949, Dr. K.H. Spannahel observed during WWII that the people who were hiding in salt mines had respiratory health benefits. From these observations came the Klyutert cave. It was an inpatient department that conducted studies to observe the climate conditions and confirm the medical benefits of salt caves and mines. The results of these studies, with the help of Hungarian geologist, Dr. H. Kessler, created the foundation of modern Speleotherapy.
In 1958, Professor Mieczyslaw Skulimowski became the official physician of the Wieliczka Salt Mine and started the treatment of patients in the salt chambers. This created Subterraneotherapy, also called the Skulimowski method, which refers to underground “salted” environments exclusively.
Created in 1964 was The Kinga Health Resort Hospital. It was the world’s first underground allergy treatment spa. Professor Skulimowski became its first Director and focused on helping people with respiratory conditions and he continued to discover other overall health benefits. Inspired by his findings, neighboring salt mines and caves were popping up in Europe. Opened in 1968, was the first speleo-hospital in the Solotvyno salt mine in Ukraine.
In 1985, the Institute of Balneology, in collaboration with the salt caves from Uzhgorod, developed the first Halotherapy device. This device simulated the grinding of salt that would push the particles into the air. In 1991, the knowledge of the halo-technology and established Halotherapy protocols became accessible to the rest of the world. Halotherapy became more commercial and was found in wellness settings all over the world.