History of Halotherapy
The use of salt as a health remedy has been around since the Greeks, when Hippocrates recommended salt inhalations as a respiratory treatment.
Modern dry salt therapy has its origins from the salt mines and caves in Europe and Russia. As the workers were mining the salt (through chiseling, grinding, and hammering at the salt), micronized salt particles were being disbursed into the air. Additionally there were ideal conditions below the Earth's surface where air circulation, humidity, and temperature affected the quality of the environment. In this environment, miners were receiving many natural health benefits by breathing in the salt particles. Considering that mining jobs were usually recognized as dangerous to life and health, salt miners seemed to thrive on good health. They rarely had any respiratory issues and also looked younger due to great skin appearance.
Upon studying the effects of this phenomenon, Dr. Feliks Boczkowski founded and opened the first health resort facility at the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland in 1839.
In 1949, German physicians, Dr. K.H. Spannahel, who had observed during WWII that the people who were hiding in the salt mines and caves from the bombs had respiratory health benefits. He proposed the creations of the Klyutert Cave as an inpatient department to conduct a systematic approach to observe the climatological conditions and confirm the medical effectiveness of underground environments. The results of the studies, along with the teamwork of the Hungarian geologist, Dr. H. Kessler, laid the foundation of modern Speleotherapy, which is a modality utilizing the environmental benefits occurring underground.
In 1958, Professor Mieczyslaw Skulimowski became the official physician of the Wieliczka Salt Mine and started regular treatment of patients in the salt chambers, initiating a new field of medicine, Subterraneotherapy, also called the Skulimowski method, which refers to underground "salted" environments exclusively.
Shortly thereafter, 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, then renamed the Kinga Health Resort Hospital, where Professor Skulimowski became its first Director and focused on helping people with mostly respiratory conditions as well as 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 former Soviet Union states. In 1968, the first speleo-hospital was opened in Solotvyno Salt Mine in Ukraine.
Having the attention from the medical community, the need for more convenient access became necessity, in order to conduct specific studies and do more specific research. In 1985 in Odessa, Russia the Institute of Balneology, in collaboration with the salt caves from Uzhgorod, developed the first Halotherapy device. This was a device that was replicating the grinding and crushing of salt that would disperse the particles into the air. One could say that Halotherapy was "born" in the medical environment, in the former Soviet Union. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the knowledge of the halotechnology and established Halotherapy protocols became accessible to the rest of the world. Soon Halotherapy claimed its place in more commercial and wellness settings outside of the USSR in Europe, Canada, Australia, and finally the United States.