Speleotherapy is the basis of the emergence of halotherapy. The use of natural factors for the treatment of diseases has long been known to mankind. But the rapid development of pharmacology and industrial production of medicines put forward drug treatment.
The ease of use, availability, fast effect – all this has ensured the priority of pharmacotherapy. However, along with the expressed therapeutic effect, medications are often the cause of the pathological conditions associated with their side effect. Many allergic states and autoimmune processes are due to medications. In addition, cases of chronic and torpid motion of illnesses under intensive medical treatment may not always be explained by the primary severity of the patient’s condition and the imperfection of protective mechanisms. This look makes doctors again turn to the age-old experience of ancestors, to develop new non-medicated methods of treatment. In particular, speleotherapy (from the Greek word speleon – a cave) is used to treat diseases of the respiratory organs. Speleotherapy is a method of treatment for prolonged stay in the microclimate of karst and other caves, salt mines, grottoes, mines, etc. The features of the microclimate depend on the nature of the underground facilities. Characteristic constancy of temperature and pressure of air, its gas and ionic composition, low relative humidity, increased ionization, the predominance of negatively charged ions, the presence of aerosols of certain salts, increased radioactivity (in karstic caves), the absence of bacterial flora and allergens, somewhat elevated carbon dioxide gas.
Treatment of respiratory diseases in the caves received a scientific substantiation in the 40 years of our century. German researchers have summarized the data on the positive effects of the long stay of numerous people in the karmic clover of the Cloureter, which, during the Second World War, was used by the population of the River Ennepetap as a bomb shelter. Then many patients with bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis and other respiratory diseases were completely cured or experienced a significant improvement in their health. In the future, thanks to a clinical and experimental study conducted by the doctor of medicine K. Spannagel, a new scientifically-based direction for the treatment of diseases of the respiratory organs – speleoclimatic therapy was created. Currently, the speleotherapy hospital in the karst caves is in several countries – Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria , Austria, Germany, Georgia. In addition to natural caves, artificial and artificial use is used for treatment.
These are either abandoned shoots or specially cuttings in the depths of the saline formation where the hospital is equipped. The assumption that air, saturated with salt dust, provides the main therapeutic effect in speleotherapy of patients with respiratory diseases, was first expressed by the Polish physician F. Bočkovsky in 1843. In the salt mines of the Wieliczka Krakow Voivodship, they were organized by a salt resort, and after more than 100 years, in 1958 an experimental-clinical hospital for pulmonary patients was built there. The use of a salt-house for medical purposes is known in other countries – in Austria it is Solzbad -Salcemen, in Poland – Wieliczka, in Romania – Siget, in Azerbaijan – in Nakhichevan, in Kyrgyzstan – Chon-Tzu, in Russia – in Berezniki (Perm region), in Ukraine – in the settlement of Solotvyno (Transcarpathian region), Artemivsk (Donetsk region).
In all these hospitals, the main therapeutic factor that affects patients with chronic non-specific lung diseases is the air of caves saturated with particles of rock salt. Thus, solelechenie, or halotherapy (from the Greek halo-salt and therapies – treatment), is an integral part of speleotherapy. The most widespread gained speleolechebnitsa, built in 1968 in. Solotvyno of Transcarpathian region. The underground compartment is equipped on a real mine of Solotvinsky salt-water at a depth of 300 meters. The medical building of underground and ground structures is designed for 250 beds. Treatment of patients was carried out according to the methodology developed in the Uzhgorod branch of the Odessa Research Institute of Spaology. The course of treatment is up to 40 days, while patients stay in an underground department – 280-300 hours. Positive effect is noted in 80-90% of cases.
Characteristics of the microclimate of an underground hospital:
• air temperature +23 – +24 ° С
• atmospheric pressure 750 – 775 mm Hg
• relative humidity 35 – 40%
• speed of movement air no more than 0,2 m / s
• concentration of sodium chloride 2-5 mg / m3
• content of particles up to 3 microns 70 – 80%
• oxygen content 20,7%
• carbon dioxide content 0,03% vol.
• air ionization of 9-10 thousand light and medium negative and positive particles per 1 cm3 of air
• noise level no more than 25 dB
• absence of allergens and pathogenic microorganisms.
Witness treatment of patients with various forms of HNZL proved high efficiency speleotherapy in the microclimate of the salt cave in Solotvino.
The received therapeutic effect in patients with bronchial asthma and with the trans static condition of different age groups with different variants of the course of the disease is confirmed by data of biochemical, immunological, microbiological studies. In the process of treatment, the organism is adapted to the specific features of the microclimate and due to its restructuring the activity of all functional systems of the organism.
Speleotherapy in the microclimate of sucklers has a nonspecific effect, which leads to a decrease in the activity of the infectious and inflammatory process in the respiratory organs, stimulation of various parts of local and general protective mechanisms. Numerous scientific studies have allowed to determine the indications for the appointment of speleotherapy, to develop differentiated complexes of its use. Currently, work is ongoing on the study of the use of speleotherapy for patients with concomitant pathology of the cardiovascular system, individuals who have been exposed to small doses of ionizing radiation.
Bereznikovka speleological hospital of the Perm region (Russia) was founded in 1977. It is located at a depth of 280 m from the surface, calculated on 30 beds. The course of treatment is up to 25 days with daily stay in an underground room for 12 hours. Positive results of treatment have been achieved in almost 80% of patients with bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive bronchitis, dust bronchitis, perinomyosis, allergic rhinitis. Clinical effect is confirmed by data from the study of the immune system. In addition, the high content of potassium chloride (up to 30%), in the chemical composition of the salt positively affects the state of hemodynamics of small circulatory circulation in patients with HNZL. Significant features of the microclimate are the high mountain speleological hospital of Chon-Tzu.
Thus, due to the location, the barometric pressure in the underground compartment is lower and is 600 – 626 mm Hg, the air temperature ranges from 9.2 to 10.2 °C, humidity is 42-79%, high level of lungs negative ions. Speleotherapy has been recognized as a highly effective non-medicated method of treatment. However, the need to acclimatize patients who come from other climatic zones, the difficulties associated with relocation, the limited number of beds in comparison with the number of patients in need of treatment and numerous contraindications inhibit the widespread use of this method of treatment.