HOUSTON (KTRK) --For years, doctors have told us to limit our salt intake, but there's a new treatment in Houston that's doing just the opposite.
The difference, however, is that we're not consuming salt through our foods. Instead, we're breathing salt in through the air. It's a centuries-old therapy used in Eastern Europe that's finally made its way to our city.
Sandy Hinderliter's husband suffers from chronic respiratory issues.
"We're looking for any kind of thing we can do to help him not take so much medication," she explains.
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Through research, Hinderliter discovered halotherapy, or salt therapy. Since there wasn't a location in Houston, her husband traveled to Austin for treatments. They worked, so she decided it was time to build her own salt spa in Sugar Land. She calls it Salt of the Earth.
"We provide halotheraphy, which is a natural salt treatment for anybody with any kind of respiratory or skin issue. So, respiratory being allergies, asthma, sinus, cold, flu, pneumonia," explains Hinderliter.
To imagine what it's like, think about the relief after using a saline nasal spray.
"So, anybody that uses Flonase, Nasacort, or a neti pot, this is on the same principal, it's just dry," says Hinderliter.
Hinderliter says halotherapy also helps alleviate skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
At Salt of the Earth, there is a brightly decorated room for children that includes movies and a play area.
There's also a quiet, low-light room for adults.
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"We have rock salt that covers the floor. When somebody goes into the room, we have a machine that grinds salt into tiny micro-particles, so you don't see it, but we blow it into the air, so that you can breathe the air," explains Hinderliter.
The salt used is pharmaceutical-grade salt -- the purest you can find, adds Hinderliter.
Patricia Morton started her treatments 10 weeks ago.
"I started coming to get salt therapy for help because i have a lung disease that was progressively getting worse. I was on high power antibiotics and steroids for several months, and as soon as I got off, I would start another infection," says Morton.
She explains the results are cumulative but after consistent 45-minute sessions.
"It's been an amazing, life-changing thing for me. I haven't been on any meds for almost ten weeks now. I'm feeling more energetic, I'm breathing so much better. I've even been told my voice is louder," she adds.
Those going through radiation and chemotherapy or suffering from stage four COPD should not use salt therapy, and you should make sure to consult a physician to see if this is right for you. Sessions cost $50 for adults and $30 for children but packages are available.