GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — A unique therapy has made its way to Eastern North Carolina that could help individuals dealing with respiratory and sinus issues.

You’ve heard of salt baths and salt lamps, but what is Halotherapy? The therapy uses a device called a halogenerator to grind pharmaceutical-grade salt, or Sodium Chloride, into micronized particles that you breathe in.

While salt baths are great for your skin and muscles, halotherapy gets deep into your respiratory tract. It turns out salt lamps are just for pure decoration. In order for a salt lamp to give off the type of salt that is beneficial for breathing, the lamp would need to be heated to 1,500 degrees in order to separate the ions.

Halotherapy is currently only being offered by Steven Miller, owner of The Body Work and Healing Center in Greenville.

“It’s hygiene for your respiratory system,” he said.

Miller thought of the idea after traveling to a salt cave with his wife and realized the caves weren’t conducive with the COVID-19 pandemic as 10-12 strangers would be sitting in a room. So he created a privatized version right here in Greenville.

“It’s an anti-inflammatory that will help get rid of inflammation in your respiratory tract, specifically your nasal and your throat. Then it’s super absorbent, so what it does then, if you’re having a lot of mucus, it helps to dry it up and make your cough more productive. And then it’s also anti-mucolytic, which also brings out mucus. And the fourth one, it’s antibacterial.”

Steven Miller, liscensed massage and body works therapist

It can help with allergies, asthma, cystic fibrosis, eczema, psoriasis, ear infections, smokers’ cough, sinusitis, improving lung function and more.

There are not currently many studies showing the effects dry salt therapy, or halotherapy, has on long-COVID patients, but Miller said for years the medical community has been using wet salt therapy and nebulizers. So it’s known among the medical community that it has a benefit for your lungs.

“It being dry, it gets deeper into your lungs,” says Miller.

Dr. Jose R. Arias Jr. with The American Lung Association agrees there are not many studies directly linking halotherapy and post-COVID symptoms, but said he would absolutely recommend it.

“People who have a little bit of a lingering cough, it would be a great idea to consider doing the halotherapy for these patients post-COVID,” Arias says.

Arias compares it to going to the ocean on a daily basis, “When you go to the ocean your nose is cleared up, and it opens up your sinuses and helps with the mucus, the drainage.”

Both Miller and Arias say it’s a great alternative to just taking a pill for an immediate result, something we’ve been programmed to do. “Anything you can do that’s non-invasive and all-natural can only have a benefit for you.”

Though it shouldn’t replace important prescribed medications, so you should consult with your doctor.

“A patient says ‘You know I don’t want to use any nose sprays, I don’t want to use any allergy medicines, I don’t want to use any pills, this is more of a natural therapy.’ You know if you live in the middle of the state and you don’t want to drive to the ocean every day, this is a nice convenient way to do this locally.”

Dr. Jose R. Arias Jr., The American Lung Association

ABOUT THE SESSION:

When you book a session, you get a 40-minute room to yourself, or you can invite a loved one or friend as the booth seats two.

Miller said once they turn on the generator the only thing you have to do is sit back, listen to the music, breathe and relax. You can even hook your phone up to the Bluetooth speaker.

The generator is set for a 20-minute session, where every two minutes you’ll get a burst of salt, then it will calm down and let the salt circulate through the air. At the eight-minute mark, it will stop because you now have enough concentration of salt in there to provide therapeutic advantages, and after another two minutes, it will start all over again.

“Sit down and relax, breathe, if you want to stand up you can stand up, you can put your feet on the booth, the only thing you cant do is bring shoes in the booth,” Miller said.

Once the session is over, you have the time to relax how you choose.

“Although the session is 20 minutes, the room is yours for 40 minutes, so you have another 20 minutes to sit in the chairs and relax, there’s nice gentle music going on, you have salt lamps, and I’m going to bring in a yoga mat.”

Steven Miller, liscensed massage and body works therapist

Miller said come try it, add it to your routine. The worst thing that could happen is nothing. It cannot injure or harm you. It forces you to take a moment out and just relax. And all you have to do is sit.

Miller also said results are different for everyone. Some feel a difference almost immediately, some feel it the next day, and others don’t notice a measurable difference. There are no expectations.

If you are interested in Halotherapy you can consult your doctor, if you like. Salt concentration options are available, and children can use the booth too. To book a session, you can visit The Body Work and Healing Center or call/text (252) 565-7886.