What is commonly unknown is that the ear is connected to the same cavity as your nose, mouth and throat. This means an infection that causes congestion or a runny nose also affects the ears. The ears can become infected independently of the respiratory system. This is often caused by moisture, the build up of debris, through a bacterial or viral infection, or injury.
Ear infections often results in swelling, pain, congestion, or pus in and around the ear canal (Alberti). The infection can be acute (last for a short amount of time) or chronic (last for a long time or frequently returns. Infections in the ear are treated with antibiotics that kill the bacteria causing the infection if it is due to bacteria. If the ear infection is not caused by bacteria, the patient is asked to “wait it out” until the pain goes away.
If an ear infection persists or goes away and comes back, the symptoms can become more intense. Someone with a chronic ear infection can have pressure and/or draining from the ears, a low fever, and/or trouble sleeping.
With the lack of treatments for ear infections, speleotherapy, or halotherapy can be an effective route to reduce symptoms and stop the ear infection from coming back.
Halotherapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for people suffering from respiratory tract and sinus infections (Zajac, 2014). The respiratory tract, sinus cavity and ear canal are all interconnected. As we see with ear infections, there is often a build up of mucous or pus in the ear canal. Halotherapy can clear the mucous and bacterial infection in an ear relieving the symptoms and reducing the amount of time someone has to suffer (Horowitz, 2010).
Halotherapy clinics are salt chambers where a person is exposed to sodium-chloride aeorsol at a specific temperature and pressure. The air is free of bacteria and viruses, which means it is a hypoallergenic climate shown to improve respiratory infections.
Halotherapy works in the ears by lifting mucous and draining it from the body and reducing the inflammation caused by the infection. However, one of the best ways halotherapy treats an ear infection is through improving the immune system. Halotherapy can reduce the growth of bacteria or viruses that can cause an ear infection, increase the amount of cells in the body that attack bacteria, and increase immune cells to ensure the infection doesn’t return (Chervinskaya, 2007).
Alberti, PW. (n.d.). The Pathophysiology of the Ear. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/occupational_health/publications/noise3.pdf
Horowitz, S. (2010). Salt Cave Therapy. ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES.
Zajac, J., Bojar, I., Helbin, J., Kolarzyk, E., & Owoc, A. (2014). Salt caves as simulation of natural environment and significance of halotherapy. Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine, 21(1).
Chervinskaya, A. V. (2007). Halotherapy in controlled salt chamber microclimate for recovering medicine. Balneologia Polska, 2, 133-141.