[dropcap size=small]T[/dropcap]wo years ago, Krishna Bagaria was in Germany on business when he came across a salt therapy centre.

An asthma sufferer, he decided to see if halotherapy -which is touted to address respiratory and skin conditions – could help him.

After two sessions where he sat in a “salt cave” and breathed in micro particles of medical grade salt vapour, the 51-year-old hasn’t had to use an inhaler since. Convinced by the effectiveness of halotherapy, Bagaria opened a centre in Singapore last year.

“Halo” comes from the greek word for salt, and the therapy originated in Europe in the mid-18th century when it was found that salt miners in Poland had a remarkably low rate of respiratory illnesses.

Now, Bagaria has seen dozens of people, from young children to seniors with asthma, bronchitis, allergies, cold/flu, ear infections, eczema, psoriasis, sinus, smoker’s cough, and even stress and fatigue, who have benefited from the “salt cave” at Breathya in the East Coast area.

“They usually get relief from their conditions in two to three sessions. More serious conditions might take up to 10 sessions,” explains Bagaria. The minimum package is five sessions.

An example is a 60-year-old lady who couldn’t breathe properly due to asthma, who had some relief after two sessions. Another young lady came for her joint pains and asthma. Bagaria also sees a lot of asthmatic children.

Breathya halotherapy centre
The adults room can take up to 6 people; the idea is to kick back and relax to the soothing music and light therapy while breathing in the salt-infused air.

The therapy is completely natural and drug-free, according to Bagaria. Breathya has two rooms at its centre – one for adults and one for children. Clients just sit or lie down for their 60-minute sessions, breathing in kinetically-activated pure and high grade pharmaceutical salt vapour which is dispensed through halogenerators. Besides being designed to look like a salt “cave” – where the floor is also covered with salt crystal – the rooms also have controlled temperature and humidity levels.

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Each room can take up to six people, and the children get their own room so they can watch TV or play for the 45 minutes they have to spend in therapy.

Clients are given disposable covers for their head and feet before going in.

How does it work? Salt is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory – opening up the lungs and sinus cavities and clearing the airways when inhaled.

Mr Bagaria says that it is similar to the process of osmosis which draws fluid away from the mucus, thereby shrinking and drying it, to enable better breathing. The salt air also releases high concentrations of negative ions into the air, to help restore overall well-being. It’s believed to reduce IgE (immune system sensitivity) and restore pH value of the skin.

The only side effect is that your clothes and exposed body parts like the face will get a fine dusting of salt particles after a session.

Breathya halotherapy centre
There is a separate room for children who can play games so they don’t get too bored during their 45-minute session in the “salt cave”.

 

Bagaria notes that there’s some clinical research done in Europe, while he’s hoping to get a study done here. Not that many people are aware of halotherapy yet in this part of the world, he notes, but this is a safe and natural way to treat several conditions. “Right now, most people learn about our centre when they hear of friends or family getting better after a few sessions – and that is the best publicity, we think,” he adds.

Salt therapy is not for everybody, however. Those who should avoid it include individuals with high blood pressure, cancer, kidney disease, severe cardiac disease, tuberculosis, hyperthyroidism and cirrhosis.

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1 Marine Parade Central, #03-09 Parkway Centre. Tel: 6206 5060.

Story first appeared on The Business Times.

PHOTOS Breathya