The word “halotherapy” derives from the Greek halos, which is to say, ‘salt’. Thus ‘halotherapy’ means therapy which makes use of salt. Numerous forms of halotherapy have been known of and used for millennia. We find the first mentions of spa resorts in Poland in records dating from the twelfth century. They relate to bathing in mineral waters.
The first inhalation facilities were the work of chance. We distinguish between inhalation involving damp saline and brine aerosol and dry salt aerosol. In 1806, on the advice of Stanisław Staszic, Catholic priest, philosopher, geologist, writer, poet, translator, statesman and a leading figure of the Polish Enlightenment, a saline graduation tower was built in the spa town of Ciechocinek, in North-Central Poland. It was intended to serve in the process of producing table salt. However, it was not long before realisation dawned. The atmosphere around the graduation tower was saturated with a saline aerosol created as a result of the salt waters falling from a great height and being further separated into ever smaller droplets by the action of the wind and sun. In this way, a salt factory became a sanatorium centre.
In the nineteenth century, there was only one halotherapy centre where the inhalation of dry salt aerosol was practised and that was Wieliczka. The aerosol was a by-product of the mining work connected with the extraction of rock salt. The first person to turn their attention to the beneficial impact of the Wieliczka environment was Feliks Boczkowski, a doctor who worked for the mine. Following the conducting of numerous analyses and many years spent observing the miners, he concluded that it was rare that they suffered from diseases of the respiratory system.