In salt therapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, patients use dry salt inhalers for up to one-half hour daily, according to PubMed. The inhalers release particles of dry sodium chloride 1 to 5 micrometers in size. In 2007, study results of patients with stages II and III COPD showed their six-minute walk test results and quality of life assessments improved substantially for three months after the treatments. As of 2015, researchers need to conduct more studies.
Researchers did not see significant change in lung function test results of COPD patients who participated in the dry salt inhaler study, notes PubMed. Using the dry salt therapy did not produce serious side effects. Some study participants experienced sore throat after using the salt for more than 15 minutes continuously. The irritation subsided when the patients stopped the treatment temporarily.
Salt therapy became popular in Europe, where people obtained relief from breathing difficulties by visiting underground salt mines, according to The Lung Institute. Promoters of salt therapy tout the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of salt and its ability to eliminate allergens, toxins and cleanse the respiratory system. By penetrating the lungs, salt particles can treat damaged tissue.
The Greek word for salt is "halo," and there are about 200 halotherapy, or salt therapy, rooms, spas, caves and facilities located throughout the United States as of 2015, according to Organic Spa Magazine.