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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Arizona Wildfires Tough on Our Lungs: Visiting a salt room can provide natural relief, says Scottsdale's Pavel Gershkovich

Jul 01, 2012 08:03AM ● By By Pavel Gershkovich

When wildfires burn in Arizona’s high country, smoke wafts into the Valley, making the existing air pollution an even more toxic brew. This smoke is unhealthy to breathe because fine particles, including soot and ash, contain irritating and toxic compounds that can reach deep into the lungs. One may experience coughing, tightness in the chest and stinging in the eyes, nose and throat.

Wildfire-related smoke and soot is especially challenging for people with pre-existing respiratory ailments like asthma or emphysema. Experts advise those that live in areas affected by this smoke to stay inside, but with work and family obligations, that may not be practical. Visiting a salt room can be a big help.

A salt room is designed to mimic natural salt caves, which have long been considered therapeutic in Eastern Europe. In the 1800s, Europeans began the practice of bringing patients with respiratory diseases down to salt mines for healing, and it has become a standard feature of European spa treatment of respiratory diseases.

A salt room is coated on every wall with layers of salt from the Dead Sea, renowned for its unique mineral content. Inside, clients relax in a lounge chair as more Dead Sea salt is introduced into the room in aerosol form. This salt has natural antibiotic, anti-inflammatory properties. As an individual breathes in the mist, the salt eliminates airborne particles from the airways and helps the body purge itself of toxins. This is the same reason we love to go to the beach and breathe in that clean, salty, air, full of negative ions.

A salt room also aids respiratory conditions by drawing water into airways, thinning mucus and improving the function of cilia, or small hairs, that help move mucus out of the lungs. Recipients may taste the salt a little as it is breathed in. Salt therapy is also purported to help skin conditions such as eczema, acne and psoriasis.

Pavel Gershkovich, CHP, CRP, is the director of Salt Chalet Arizona and Arizona Leech Therapy, at 5011 N. Granite Reef Rd., Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-621-6041 or visit and

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