Friday, April 29, 2011

Salt therapy: Where's the evidence?

Today there was a Groupon offer for salt therapy from the "Salt Chalet Arizona."  Sufferers of respiratory illnesses are offered the chance to sit in a room containing salt for claimed relief of symptoms.  I posted the following at the Salt Chalet Arizona's blog, which is awaiting moderation:
“Although there have been few clinical studies” — are there any that provide any empirical support for the claims made on this site? It seems to me that solid empirical support for safety and efficacy are absolutely essential requirements for any medical claim. What is the mechanism of relief, is that relief more than would be expected from a placebo effect, does it last, and are there any harmful short or long term consequences?
To its credit, the blog's repost of a newspaper article about a similar service offered via a Pakistani salt mine includes the following skeptical passage:
But Shahid Abbas, a doctor who runs the private Allergy and Asthma Centre in Islamabad, said that although an asthma or allergy sufferer may get temporary relief, there is no quick-fix cure.

“There is no scientific proof that a person can permanently get rid of asthma by breathing in a salt mine or in a particular environment,” he said.


Alex said...

Even without reading the article, I knew that the answer to the the question in the title was 'nowhere'

Francisco said...

Well as a singer, I can tell you that my ENT recommended I do a saline lavage twice daily during the allergy season.

I love it, but the salt is hardly magical it’s just a buffering agent to keep the water from burning my nasal passages “water-board” style.

The Squeeze Bottle by Waterpik SinuSense is my weapon of choice, it’s great ;)

There is strong data to support this type of rinsing but healing is an art and a science and placebo is a wonderful thing, so let’s not bum people’s high.

Lippard said...

Francisco: Where's the evidence that sitting in a room of salt is comparable to saline water rinse? There is empirical evidence supporting the benefits of nasal irrigation--which costs a whole lot less than sitting in the salt room.

Francisco said...

Jim, I agree with you in substance, don’t worry, you're not gonna see me in the salt room any time soon.

Let me clear up my point.

My only retort: If folks insist on paying for a miracle, we cannot convince or compel them against their motivations.

So let’s us not bum their high, like addicts when they want to change they will check themselves in.

People tend only to change their motivations in response to: a fear of eminent death, new found self-disgust, or the light of a new relationship

Call me a pessimist, but Schopenhauer is right: Man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wants.

People are beavers and beavers are going to build dams, because that’s what beavers do.

I just enjoy the workmanship ;)

Francisco said...

Jim, unrelated but check this out: