Salt Therapy

Coughs, Colds, Sneezes and Wheezes.

Should salt therapy be just the complementary therapy health professionals should prescribe?

The pain in Jacqui Begg’s chest was so bad, she thought she was having a heart attack.

The 51-year-old, Salt Therapist and part-time GP receptionist from Larne was referred to a cardiologist and sent for treadmill tests to be told by her consultant the problem was coming from her lungs.

She said: “I was then referred to a respiratory consultant up in the Mater Hospital in Belfast and after completing all the tests, I was told at the age of 45, I had the lungs of a 70-year-old. I had never smoked in my life.

“More tests were carried out and I was put on medication like inhalers and steroids, but I still wasn’t getting any relief. I was diagnosed with scar tissue on the lungs from when I had asthma as a child.

“My dad was a coal man and would bring coal dust into the house. He was also a smoker, so I probably passively inhaled that too. My lungs kept getting inflamed and that was what was causing the pain.

“I experienced pain and breathlessness in my chest and was so tired, I had to go off sick from work for a month. It literally felt like I was having a heart attack. I could barely leave the house and couldn’t walk and talk at the same time because of breathlessness.

“The traditional medication they gave me just didn’t ease the pain. It did ease the breathlessness but not the pain. I was at my wit’s end and was desperate to get back to work and normality.

“It was a respiratory nurse in the Mater who asked me if I had ever tried Salt Therapy before. I had never even heard of it.”
Salt Therapy or Halo Therapy involves breathing in air infused with tiny particles of pharmaceutical-grade salt to improve breathing.

It is considered a complementary therapy to be used alongside medication for the alleviation of symptoms of lung problems such as asthma, COPD, bronchitis, cough and other respiratory diseases.

It is carried out in salt rooms where it can also help with relaxation, skin conditions and allergies.

“I went home from the hospital and started to look into it and made an appointment with Sea Breeze Salt Therapy in Doagh near Ballyclare. That was about five years ago.

“From the very first session, the pain began to ease. I went back for a second session and took my husband with me. He works in a dusty job and was constantly getting chest infections so he thought it might be good for clearing his lungs. He used to have two or three sets of antibiotics a year but not anymore.

“I was sceptical at first, thinking it was just salt but when you are feeling so bad, you will literally try anything. I was also aware, working as a receptionist in a GP surgery that a lot of inhalers and nebulisers are saline based which is just salt water.

After a few sessions of Salt Therapy, I came away feeling like I could run a marathon. I was full of energy, and the pain in my chest had eased enabling me to walk comfortably again.

“My husband and I went to Belfast on a shopping trip. We hadn’t been able to do that for weeks. It felt so good because I hadn’t been anywhere for so long. Salt Therapy doesn’t cure the illness but it did help to calm the inflammation down.

“While continuing with treatment in Doagh, I was so impressed with the benefits of Salt Therapy, I decided after doing my research, purchasing a salt pump and helped by the ‘Go for It Programme’, set up my own business in Larne. It opened in 2018 and is attracting, particularly post Pandemic, a strong and growing customer base.”

Jacqui has recently become part of a new coalition of five similar but independent salt therapy businesses in NI who have come together under a new brand – Salt Therapy NI.

Its purpose is to drive awareness and educate about the benefits of the treatment. The group also want to persuade health decision-makers that it is a good complementary therapy supportive of traditional medicine.

Jacqui said: “There is plenty of European research to back up what we and our customers know to be true about Salt Therapy but we also recognise the need to conduct new local research to prove its viability. The next step for Salt Therapy NI, is to seek a university research partner.

“It’s par for the course in many EU countries for Salt Therapy to be prescribed before anti-biotics. It is often free and very easy to access because it is part of what their health services are used to offering.

“This winter was very different. With lockdown, kids’ immune systems had weakened because they hadn’t been exposed to much so when winter hit there was a marked increase in the number of children attending with RSV and Strep. It was a perfect storm of colds, flu and other respiratory illnesses.

“I’ve had people coming to me for treatment for long Covid with one customer being able to come off oxygen for the first time. I think with Covid, there has been a shift in people’s attitudes towards Salt Therapy and the need to look after respiratory health better.

“I can speak for us all at Salt Therapy NI when I say, we would really like health professionals to keep an open mind and refer people to us. Just give it a go because there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.

“Our purpose is not about profit. We each know it works because we’ve all benefited from it. This is about helping as many people as we can and that’s why we keep our costs deliberately low, so it remains affordable and accessible.

“We don’t claim Salt Therapy cures illness, but it does have a hugely beneficial role to play in alleviating symptoms, allowing people to recover quicker and enjoy a much better quality of life.

To find out more visit or follow us on social media @salttherapyni

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