The Strange-ness: Speleotherapy

An altar constructed of salt in the Wieliczka salt mines. Source: US Central Intelligence Agency library.
An altar constructed of salt in the Wieliczka salt mines. Source: US Central Intelligence Agency library.

By Kay Whatley, Editor

There is a salt-mine-based respiratory therapy called Speleotherapy. The therapy basically involves breathing while inside a salt cave or salt mine. The salty, dry air retards the growth of bacteria, and salt mines have little to no dirt/soil/allergens to irritate lungs.

The deep salt mines of Poland and the Ukraine are 1000 feet underground, and are purported to offer relieve for human respiratory ailments through speleotherapy. People suffering from asthma and other lung conditions pay to stay in the salt mines, for hours or days, hoping for relief of their symptoms.

While studies to prove or disprove speleotherapy benefits are sparse, anecdotal evidence has been shared since the 1950s — when it was noticed that miners suffered fewer respiratory ailments. Over the years, other human health issues were added to the list of problems that might be helped by breathing the air in the salt mines. Without proof, people continue visiting the salt mines or specially built salt caves in search of relief.

Information on the salt mines and therapy packages available at the Wieliczka Salt Mine (southeast of Kraków in Poland) may be found at This particular mine includes therapeutic areas with cots, salt statues, a subterranean salt church, and more for visitors to peruse while breathing the unique salt mine air 1000 feet below the ground.

The Speleosanatorium Salt Symphony in the Ukraine is in the city of Soledar and offers tours or therapeutic stays. This tourist website offers some information on the Speleosanatorium. There are also salt mines in Solotvyno, also in the Ukraine.

A little closer to home, Asheville, North Carolina is home to the Asheville Salt Cave. This human-built “cave” was created using salt imported from Poland. Speleotherapy is offered in this artificial cave. See more at



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About Kay Whatley 2309 Articles
Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.