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Salt room offers allergy relief in Tampa | Health

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Salt room offers allergy relief in Tampa
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Salt room offers allergy relief in Tampa

Tampa, Florida -- If you're feeling the itchy eyes and stuffy nose...you're not alone.

Allergy season is in full swing the Tampa bay.

If you're not feeling it, you seeing it, as pollen builds up on the ground and on your car.

A relatively new business in South Tampa says it can provide some relief to those of you suffering from seasonal allergies, simply by sitting in its salt room.

"They can come here and in a natural way, it really can help them to get relief from the mucus and cleans the lungs and sinuses," explained Breathing Clear's owner, Ravit Glogau.

Glogau and her husband imported several tons of natural rock salt from Ukrainian salt mines and brought it here to Tampa to build the country's first speleotherapy room.

Speleotherapy, or cave therapy, is popular among Eastern Europeans who have access to salt mine caves.

Unlike other salt rooms throughout the country that pump microscopic salt particles into the air to treat its customers, Breathing Clear relies on the natural aerosol effects of the salt bricks.

Breathing Clear claims the therapy can be a strong compliment to the medications you're already taking to treat your respiratory problems.

During the one hour session, Breathing Clear says the salt will penetrate through your airways and draw out the fluids, while killing bacteria.

Kim Brandes of Clearwater says she noticed a difference in her allergy and asthma symptoms after her first visit.

'As it went on a few hours past my being here, I could breathe a lot clearer through the night. That made me want to come back and do it again," she said.

But, USF College of Medicine's Director of the Division of Allergy and Immunology, Dr. Richard Lockey, isn't convinced of the salt room's claims.

"If it helps you, do it.  Is it going to help the majority of people, particularly those that are severe. It's not," he explained.

Dr. Lockey instead advises people to try over the counter allergy medications first.  If symptoms do not subside, go see your doctor.

He would like to see objective evidence that the therapy works.

And, Glogau would like to provide that to those members of the medical community that have doubts about the therapy.

Right now, they're working with Pulmonary and Sleep of Tampa Bay on a clinical study of people who are suffering from COPD.

The participants are continuing their medications, but are using the salt room as an adjunct therapy.

Michelle Briggs, an RN who is conducting the study says they are about half way through the trials and so far, it appears to be having a positive impact on the participants.

"They're resting a lot better, they're moods are improving and I'm reporting just a better breathing quality," she said.

Briggs says she hopes to have full results of the trials by May and expand research to other ailments.

Salt therapy does come at a cost for those of you who want to give it a try.  While the first session is free, Glogau says each one hour session after that will cost you $45.  A package of 5 treatments goes for $180.

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