Over the last month I've been going through a really bad asthma crisis. When someone mentioned that there was an artificial salt cave not far from me, I thought it was worth a go. I am in a tailing off period with my oral steroids and thought it might be a good time to try it. Other people seemed to rave about them and I've felt so fed-up and ill lately that I thought it was something positive to do.
Your first session is free. The first thing that struck me was the pseudoscience. The person who spoke to us seemed to have a really dodgy understanding of physiology and made some pretty grandiose claims for salt caves. He told me I wouldn't need to bring my inhaler in, advice I ignored as I thought it was potentially dangerous in my current condition.
It's very relaxing, sitting there listening to the sound of waves crashing and gulls keening and I decided to ignore the 'woo' and see how it went. My mother came with me who has no respiratory problems and there was another person in there who has aspergillus
My lungs felt a little bit tight when I was in there but by the time I got home they were much worse. I ended up having to nebulise twice yesterday and I actually felt I'd taken a retrograde step. I could see when I was in there that it really seemed to be helping the other person but it's a different situation.
I would be very reluctant to go again although I read all sorts of claims for the process online. I felt that rather than calm my lungs down, it set me back quite a bit. Of course, this could be because I've started reducing my oral steroid dose and it could be that this is just how I am at the moment.
I think there needs to be more robust research which is properly peer evaluated. A lot of asthmatics will try it out because they want something to work for them and long periods of steroids make you feel crap. I want to warn other asthmastics to be careful though. Asthma is a complex condition for which I don't believe there's a simple approach. I wish there was with all my heart because I know only too well how demoralising it all is. It makes me cross that commercial concerns could be putting asthmatics at risk. I think the motivation for the franchise owners may be honourable but unless you really understand the physiology of respiratory illness, you should not give advice.