Poland was not on our bucket list, but when the Salt Therapy Association sent us an invitation to the 2019 Salt Therapy Association Symposium at the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland, we thought it would be an excellent opportunity to learn about the history of salt therapy and its healing benefits so we could bring back and share what we learned with you. This was our first Salt Therapy Association event. What an incredible time to be in this industry! In addition to learning more about this industry and the history, we were able to come together and start setting standards to make sure when other facilities are claiming they have salt therapy, that they truly do. We met people from all over the world, and it was neat to hear how others were running their businesses. The food served at the Symposium was amazing. I loved it! Jon, on the other hand, could not wait to get back to American food. On our last night we attended a Celebration Dinner & Folklore Music Show. The musicians and dancers made sure we ALL danced and, yes, that included Jon. Again, we are so very blessed to be a part of such a great organization.
The Historic Wieliczka Salt Mine
It is the only mining site in the world that has been functioning since the Middle Ages. We took part in two days of presentations in the mine’s underground chambers, exploring the remarkable, beautiful, underground pathways. The mine reaches a depth of 327 meters and extends — via horizontal passages and chambers — over 287 kilometers! (178 miles). There were 800 steps to climb. I don’t know how many we climbed in our entire visit, but after two days, my calves were telling me we must have come very close to 800!
On the tourist route: We saw magnificent chambers, chapels, corridors and saline lakes, including the beautiful carvings done by the miners, carved right into the salt walls and also statues, including one of Pope John Paul II. The Pope has visited the salt mine several times. There were several chapels in the mine, and all of them were beautiful and special in their own way.
On the miners’ route: We explored a considerable number of miles, just like real miners! We even experienced sitting in one of the chapels with all of our miner lights off. We were just sitting in there for several minutes, and I have never experienced anything so dark in my life! Let’s just say I couldn’t wait for our guide to say, “Turn your lights back on!”
The Wieliczka Salt Mine Health Resort
We experienced the incredible therapeutic power of salt therapy at this amazing, healing place. They offer overnight stays or day visits. The health resort is known as a pulmonary rehabilitation venue in subterraneotherapy conditions. The health resort treatment chambers are located 135 meters underground. The program aims primarily at improving a patient’s quality of life by reducing the severity of symptoms and easing the anxiety associated with difficult or labored breathing. The program consists of active rehabilitation, which is breathing exercises and physical activity in the curative microclimate of the salt environment.
Anyone in the world is welcome at the resort. To be accepted for treatment, you must first go through a medical exam. The treatment plan consists of spending six hours a day in the resort’s microclimate, which can last up to three weeks. The doctors and staff teach you how to breathe, exercise and, of course, sleep. Typically, patients become very tired at the start of this treatment, so they offer beds for rest. Years ago, horses were used in the mines, so the old horse stalls inside the mines have been converted into comfy beds.
We heard presentations from: Magdalena Kostrzon, a Research and Analysis Specialist at the Wieliczka Salt Mine; Dr. Marek Koprow, Department Head of Civilization Disease and Lung Diseases at John Paul II Specialist Hospital in Krakow, Poland; Leo Tonkin, Founding Director at the Salt Therapy Association. Discussion Topicswere: The difference and history of Speleotherapy, Subterraneotherapy (which is the therapy done at the Wieliczka Health Resort,) and Halotherapy, (which we offer at Breathe Salt & Sauna😉 How Medical and Health Professionals are Embracing and Using Halotherapy; Recent Medical and Clinical Study Trends in New Halotherapy Devices and Implementation.
We are excited to share with you all the things we learned and experienced in the Salt Mines. See you all soon in the salt!