Hi there, my name is Dr Cameron Jones, and I'm an environmental microbiologist and public health scientist. And this week on The Mould Show, I've got a very important segment to bring to your attention. All too often, I get calls from people who have practised mould avoidance or have successfully remediated their properties after water damage and finding mould. But they're still complaining about feeling unwell, feeling the classic symptoms of exposure to mould. And so I discovered this really fantastic paper in the research literature, which came out in June 2021, and we're going to be focusing on what this publication says and how you can take advantage of this complementary health therapy. And what is it? Well, it's called salt therapy and mould illness. And to get straight into it, we are going to be talking about how this works, how you can take advantage of it. And you might be a little bit sceptical, and so I want to tell you exactly what this publication has to say.
Well, it's entitled Salt Therapy as a Complementary Method for the Treatment of Respiratory Tract Diseases, With a Focus on Mould-Related Illness. So what is it? Many of you have probably seen these salt caves in complementary health practices dotted around urban cities. They're available throughout the world, but there's quite a significant historical precedence around why this might work. And there are historical underpinnings to this - they developed from salt caves and mines in Europe and Russia in the early 19th century. People would take the advantage of sitting inside these environments, and they noted, or the doctors back then noted, that there were a range of positive health impacts after spending time in these salt caves. And in fact, salt mine workers also were noted to have fewer skin and respiratory problems compared to other miners. And then later in World War II, people in Germany who sheltered in salt caves to avoid the impact of bombing raids experienced relief from their health symptoms, so we need to consider how this might actually work.
And many of you probably want to know how does it work, why does it work, what is the empirical evidence to suggest that this is a good treatment to consider implementing if you want to detoxify?
So we're going to get straight into this now. So how does it work? Well, salt therapy is a form of complementary medicine and healthcare, and it involves inhaling sodium chloride, NaCl. And this developed from the inhalation of air in salt caves, and I've got an example photograph on the right-hand side in this presentation. And this treatment modality is called speleotherapy when you spend time in salt caves. But a high-street variation on this is called halotherapy. And this is quite similar, but people spend time in a special room, and the room has its walls and floors coated with salt. And often, a generator called a halogenerator will be used to produce fine particles of (aerosolized) sodium chloride.
And certainly, when I first read this publication, I was really blown away by not only the historical underpinnings to this treatment but why this would be something that I really need to bring to your attention, especially if you are grappling with practical interventionist that you can use yourself to, in a sense, take control of the adverse symptoms around biotoxin illness and mould exposure. And so, if we look at, basically, what does it do, well, then let's have a look at this. Well, salt, by its very nature, sodium chloride is antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory. And when it's breathed in, it promotes something called mucociliary transport. Now that's, of course, good for people with lung ailments because it allows you to cough up the mucus present in the lungs, and that aids the body in ridding itself of these pollutants.
Also, salt reduces immunoglobulin IgE levels. So this is a measure of inflammation, and so many people who are getting a hypersensitivity reaction to mould really want to do practical things to reduce the levels of inflammation in their bodies. So it promotes cough-mediated clearance to improve lung function, and this then increases airflow and reduces mucus adhesion inside the lung. And in fact, some new studies looking at something called hypertonic saline, which is a slight variation on this concept of the salt cave, has also been shown to reduce biofilm formation with Pseudomonas aeruginosa and increase the level of antioxidants like glutathione. So we also need to look at some of the ways and some of the methods that you can do this. And I know that if you jump onto Google or DuckDuckGo online, you'll probably be able to find a salt cave in your local area.
But what are some of the typical conditions that have been successfully treated? And if we look into this particular paper and focus attention on that, we can see that there are a range of different conditions ranging from asthma, COPD, allergic rhinitis, bronchitis, various different viral impacts on the bronchial system, and even influenza. And certainly, there has been some exciting research around the use of salt, even for purposefully adding salt to face masks. And certainly, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, people were looking at whether or not they could dope the front face piece of face masks with salt to neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 virus. And I've included some links to that research in the show notes to this podcast and live stream because I think that's a really exciting initiative in its own right. Certainly, it's a little bit to the side of dealing with mould exposure. But certainly, it demonstrates the fact that salt is capable of neutralizing a range of different pathogens and, really, that's what we definitely do want.
So now, what I want to do is I want to conclude this short live stream with some of the conclusions that the academics who wrote this publication made, and I'm going to read directly from their conclusions. And they said, "We hope to convince both patients and their treating physicians that this therapy, that is salt therapy, may restore the integrity of the mucosal barrier, reduce inflammation and relieve the symptoms of patients with mould-related illness presenting as asthma, chronic bronchitis, COPD and allergic and nonallergic rhinitis”. And they go on to say that, "We emphasize that this therapy is not an alternative to mould avoidance, that is staying away or successfully treating the mould-infested environment, but it is a complementary non-drug treatment," and that is really important in its own right. And they conclude by saying that based on their clinical experience, "We believe that there is indisputable evidence that saline inhalation therapy is inexpensive, practical, feasible, globally implementable and safe for most patients irrespective of their age who have disrupted integrity of the respiratory mucosa caused by exposure to dampness microbiota growing in moisture-damaged buildings."
Well, that was short and sweet. If any of you are dealing with water damage and mould exposure, I would encourage you to, firstly, jump onto The Mould Show website, and subscribe and download some of the podcasts. I've covered a whole range of different aspects of water damage and mould exposure and how to practically deal with this. But if you want to jump straight towards how you can take advantage of mould testing and do... Hey, you should go about the practical exercise of testing for mould in your home or workplace. I'd suggest you go to either biologicalhealthservices.com.au or download the free ebook at drcameronjones.com. In any case, my name's Cameron, I love doing these live streams each week. And I think salt therapy is something which is underestimated and, maybe, usable yourself for dealing with biotoxin illness and mould exposure to reduce inflammation and improve your airway health. Bye for now.
Wasik AA, Tuuminen T. Salt Therapy as a Complementary Method for the Treatment of Respiratory Tract Diseases, With a Focus on Mold-Related Illness. Altern Ther Health Med. 2021 Oct;27(S1):223-239. PMID: 34726628. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34726628/
Preeti Shah. (2019). A Review of Salt Therapy as a Complementary Treatment for Enhancing Respiratory Wellness and Skin Ailment. The Indian Practitioner, 72(5), 28-32. Retrieved from https://articles.theindianpractitioner.com/index.php/tip/article/view/34
Quan, FS., Rubino, I., Lee, SH. et al. Universal and reusable virus deactivation system for respiratory protection. Sci Rep 7, 39956 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep39956
Rubino, I., Oh, E., Han, S. et al. Salt coatings functionalize inert membranes into high-performing filters against infectious respiratory diseases. Sci Rep 10, 13875 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-70623-9